Practice #6. Reduce the clutter that’s bothering you. Your physical surroundings are a reflection of your internal state. Clutter can reveal a disorganized or overwhelmed mind. Think about the person you’ve seen at work whose desk is a total mess. How well do they do their job? Do they meet deadlines? Probably not.
Conversely, your physical space impacts your internal state. It affects your happiness. Even the most competent people begin to fray when their surroundings are in disarray. How calm can you feel when you’re surrounded by piles of papers, closets jammed with stuff and garages you can no longer fit your car into because you’ve stashed so much stuff in there? Clutter creates stress. Who needs more of that?
How to get started
You simply begin somewhere. If your house has a lot of clutter, put aside the thought of how much has to be done. Just start with one place that bothers you a lot. It’s probably a place you see frequently. Is it the stack of bills and mail on the table? Is it the jumble of shoes as soon as you walk into your house? Is the mess of toys in your kid’s room driving you crazy? Is it a drawer in your dresser or the bathroom? How about your clothing closet? Decide which one place you’d like to declutter first.
The 30 minute rule
We suggest taking just 30 minutes at a time to tackle a space. This prevents you from getting overwhelmed by the task. That means you may not clean out the entire space at one time. You might clean off just one shelf. That’s okay. It’s progress you can see and that’s important. Remind yourself you’re taking positive steps to reduce stress and increase your happiness. Then on another day take another 30 minutes to work on it. Just keep tackling the clutter in these small 30 minutes chunks of time. Notice how much better you feel as you clear away the clutter!