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Mind and Matter

Clarity . Connection . Comfort

Declutter and De-stress

Clutter can lead people to feel their lives are out of control. Wherever we dwell (home, work or at play), mess causes stress. If you are not taking care of the clutter in your life, you may not be taking care of yourself either. Making a concentrated effort to declutter in 2020 is a sign of self-care and improved function. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg CarterPsy.D.contributor to Psychology Today ’s issue on the mental cost of  clutter, offers the following 8 remedies for alleviating clutter:

  1. If clutter has invaded your entire house, don't tackle the job alone. Get the whole family involved. If you're on your own, start with one area at a time and finish de-cluttering that area before moving on to another.  
  2. Create designated spaces for frequently used items and supplies so that you can quickly and easily find what you're looking for when you need it. However, try to make these designated spaces "closed" spaces, such as drawers and cabinets. "Storing" things on open shelves, or top of your desk,  does not remove those visual stimuli that create stress and lessen the amount of open space that your mind "sees."  
  3. If you don't use it, don't want it, or don't need it, get rid of it.  You can toss it, recycle it, or donate it (one person's trash is another person's treasure), but don't keep it.  If you use it, but only rarely, store it in a box in the garage (or if it's your office, in a high or low place) to leave easy-access space for things you use more often.  
  4. When you take something out of its designated space to use it, put it back immediately after you're finished with it.   
  5. Create a pending folder. A pending folder helps you clear off your workspace while at the same time provides you with a readily accessible folder to centralize and easily locate pending projects.   
  6. Don't let papers pile up. Random papers scattered everywhere can be Public Enemy #1 when it comes to stressful clutter. We're inundated with mail, flyers, menus, memos, newspapers, and the like. The key is to be conscious of what you bring and what others bring into your spaces. Go through these papers as soon as you can, tossing what you don't need and storing what is necessary in its proper place.  
  7. De-clutter your primary workspace before you leave it.  It's normal to pull things out while you're working in a space. But, make a habit of cleaning off your workspace before you go. Not only will this give you a sense of closure when you leave, but it will also make you feel good when you return to a nice, clean space.   
  8. Make it fun!  As you're going about and cleaning things out, put on some of your favorite tunes. The more upbeat, the better! Not only will you enjoy the tunes, but the time will also pass more rapidly,  and you'll probably work faster than you would without the music.  

Clutter can appear in different forms and does not have to be physical. Mental clutter can be as damaging and frequently more stressful to weather. Mindfulness practices help people develop the skills needed to take on one task at a time. People may also find it necessary and helpful to seek out the assistance of mental health professionals who can guide clients to improve mental clarity and function. The journey may seem daunting when outcomes are not clearly defined. However, investing in one’s health is always well worth the effort.

Source: Psychology Today


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