The problem with having too much “stuff” is that it competes for attention and draws your focus away from your work. That was exactly the findings from a study done by Princeton University that looked at people both in organized and disorganized environments. Their findings were that having too much clutter around decreased performance and increased stress.
Time and money wasted
A decrease in performance and an increase in stress are not the only negative effects of clutter. Without organization, people waste hours of time trying to find something they know they have. And if you can’t find a bill that must be paid because it got lost, it could end up costing you more in late fees and could even affect your credit score, which would in turn could increase the amount you have to pay on car insurance, mortgage interest, etc. Plus, if you know you have something, but can’t find it (but really need it at the time), you could end up spending more money by having to buy it again.
Why do we keep items we no longer use?
Not all “buys” are good ones. And there are those “good-idea-at-the-time” purchases that you think you might use sometime in the future. Or something might have sentimental value.
Whatever the reason, some of us fail to throw things away or at least give them a good home (in someone else’s home). The real reason why we have trouble getting rid of things no longer needed or used is that we can literally feel pain – the same type of pain felt with an actual physical injury like a paper cut – if we have to let go of something we value. At the compulsive disorder level, people become hoarders because they can’t bear the physical pain of throwing anything away – even if it has no meaningful value or use at the time.
Computer hard drive clutter
And it is not only physical things! If not organized, computer files on your hard drive can quickly get out of hand. This leads to wasted time trying to find a certain file. To prevent hard drive clutter, periodically schedule a cleaning of your hard drive and organize files into folders.
Organization of a cluttered space is a two-step process. First, sort through everything and get rid of things you no longer need. Help in determining what to throw out is if you have not used it in more than a year, more than likely you don’t need it anymore. Things that have no monetary value or otherwise, throw away. If someone can get some use out of it, donate it to a charity. By culling everything at one time, you endure the pain of getting rid of it once and it is over.
Second, with what you have left, organize it in ways where you can instantly lay your hands on it when you need it. Once finished using it, put it back in its place.
Once everything you have left is organized, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and joy. The key is to make more sound gathering decisions in the future so your organized space can stay that way.
Finding Time to Declutter
“I just don’t have enough time!”
In the workplace or at home, you hear that complaint all of the time. In many cases, it is a valid excuse for not getting a particular task accomplished.
Unfortunately, clutter will not clear itself. You have to take action. So, do you use the 5 and 10 minute decluttering techniques and simply chip away at the problem, or do you have one huge, massive decluttering weekend?
The smart answer is… to do both.
Schedule an entire weekend, or a week if need be, for cleaning and decluttering your personal and work environments. Make your plan well in advance, purchase any tools, items and cleaning products you need, and recruit some help. If a substantial decluttering experience is needed, start thinking about homes for all of the things you are going to discard.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Run a reconnaissance mission on the area or areas you are clearing of clutter, and begin labeling and tagging everything you can.
Additionally, any time you have a few minutes of free time, tackle a small but achievable sized chunk of your overall project. Don’t let anything get in the way of your weekend or week long decluttering job, while still taking the time throughout your regular schedule to chip away at the process.
Then once you achieve the results you are looking for, employ regular decluttering sessions. Draw up a schedule, and stick to it. Keeping your environment free of clutter is easy once you have implemented a large decluttering effort, and simply means spending a few minutes every day to maintain your new, organized, stress-free surroundings.