Clearing away all the clutter

A feature in the spring cleaning section of The Echo

Clutter can be a chronic source of stress. The stress often isn’t realized until the clutter is removed and we feel the relief. Having too many things causes one’s brain to be bombarded with excessive visual stimuli. Clutter makes it difficult to relax or to focus on anything because it is an irritating distraction. Even those who seem oblivious to their surroundings are aware of everything in their environment on a subconscious level. Your brain is constantly filtering messages from all your senses.

The more clutter a person has, the more overwhelming the thought of removing it becomes – but there’s a great sense of relief felt when it is gone. Clearing clutter can be very cathartic, taking away the feelings of helplessness that are fostered by inaction. Taking action, even if it only involves committing to 15 minutes of your time each day to organize, is empowering and relieves stress.

Attempting to organize your life may take a little time and effort; here are some things to ask yourself before getting started. Do I have a well balanced life? Do I know what I really need to survive? Do I appreciate what I have? What is truly important to me?

Achieving an organized life is simply taking an efficient, common sense approach to the way you live. Organization has a great deal to do with how well you know and understand yourself. An organized life starts on an emotional level and manifests itself through your outward style of living.

Determine the areas in which you want to improve organization, such as better use of space in your home, office, garage or storage unit and commit to 15 minutes each day to tackle that area. When you feel like you have regained control in that space, you have attained your goal, and can then move on.

Here are some suggestions that might help you get started:

• When storing items that you use on a fairly regular basis, use clear bins. They’re not quite as durable as the coloured ones, but being able to see what’s in them makes it easier to sort and locate items.

• Schedule a household or office purge once every 6 months. Go through each area of the home, garage or office and get rid of any items that you no longer need, use or want.

• If there are things of value that you don’t want or use seldom, put them in a storage unit, or consider donating the items to a thrift store.

• Don’t store rarely used items in high traffic areas of the house. For instance, household manuals should not be stored in kitchen drawers. Store them in a separate, clear bin in a storage area of the home.

Storing seasonal items can be tricky (and messy). Look for specialty organizers early in the season to keep things tidy (i.e. wardrobe boxes for winter clothes, wrapping paper bins, shelving for ski boots). These can be found at bargain stores and storage facilities.

In order to make organizing easier, try to curb what’s coming in the house. Nobody needs that many towels! Instead of buying books, sign up for a library card or try giving experiences instead of things for birthdays and anniversaries.

Remember, you are looking for peace in your home and office, whether it is new stuff or old stuff, it’s still stuff that can lead to stress in you and your family’s lives.


Contributed by Kim Bker