It is pretty common, among the folks I work with, for people, to have a lot going on. This can cause unwanted stress. When I talk with people about cutting back or simplifying, many can't find something they can or want to give up. What can you do?
I have noticed that many of us waste time looking for lost items or moving clutter from one place to another. We collect things we might need some day, let paperwork pile up and keep stuff we no longer need. Being challenged in these areas, I have gathered a few ideas to help.
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Keep in mind that, if you have a really big problem, there is help. Check out www.clutterersanonymous.net. Answer the twenty questions and find out if attending a meeting might be for you. Check this site out if your clutter keeps you from having visitors to your home or if the problem is making your life unmanageable. Therapy can help you uncover the source of a need to hang onto things you no longer need.
Below are some ideas I have found useful.
* Use your calendar to schedule days to clear paper (weekly is good), file it or recycle it
* Keep a recycle bin and waste basket where you go through the mail. Go through your mail daily and organize it right then.
* Keep magazines for no more than a year. Use the winter rains or holiday time to look through one last time and recycle. If you must keep them longer, invest in good storage to organize the info you need.
* Clean out closets seasonally. Promise yourself to go through and donate when you buy new things to wear. Don't get to the Goodwill on December 31st when they are too full to take your donation.
* Work with kids on cleaning out old belongings and too small clothes before new ones come into their rooms. Help them out by providing appropriate storage for things.
* If you have a garage or outside storage, calendar a day at least twice a year to get it organized.
* Start small. Don't wait until a job is overwhelming. Pick a corner to clean up and spend an hour.
* Do take the donations, recycling etc away. Don't let it pile up somewhere in your home.
One of the best books I have found to help deal with all the papers, things to remember and appointments is Getting Things Done by David Allen. Allen's book has two main premises that I like:
Increasing personal efficiency and organization improves creative results.
There is a direct relationship between productivity and our ability to relax with a clear mind.
When we have something to do, even if it is not for a few days or weeks, our minds keep coming back to it, reminding and reviewing, without prioritizing. This keeps our thoughts cluttered and interferes with what we want to do NOW.
By writing things down in a reliable place, creating To Do or In boxes that function properly and delegating, we unclutter our thoughts. If I know I will get a reminder that I need to call the dentist, I eliminate that little nagging thought from coming in when I am working.
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Allen's suggestions work for the electronically minded and those who prefer paper. Files are files and any calendar works, if you use it. I encourage folks to just start somewhere. Consider buddying up with a friend and dedicating a day to each of you to unclutter your home or organize your files. With the right person, you can make it fun and gain some perspective through the eyes of another.
By uncluttering our homes and offices, we unclutter our minds, making space for more quality of life. Slowing down and simplifying is one of the keys to living Your Authentic Life!