There’s everything upsetting about the stress that comes with clutter! Cluttered drawers and closets that swallow socks and full outfits, messy kitchens that are probably breeding other life forms, an email account that’s almost out of space, because you never really delete anything now do you?

So how do we all have the best and neatest intentions that somehow get just as messy as our personal spaces? How does it even get here you wonder, well… It starts with that gift and wrapping paper that you didn’t throw away, or those clothes in the closet that don’t fit anymore or that email you ignored?

We happily go on with our busy lives, occasionally indulging in a little retail therapy for the shiny new ‘practical’ life add-ons that promise to make everything better, and then one day you realise you’re either a hoarder like that aunt you said you’d never be, or have spookily evolved into a pack rat that needs all these bits and bobs for basic survival.

Clutter isn’t just unsightly, it affects focus and causes stress which in turn affects mood and mental health- especially in women. Clutter may also trigger feelings of anxiety and in extreme cases, depression, which may make it hard to cope for many as we live through this global pandemic.

With current safety protocols and restrictions still in place for a considerable period of time, we’ve compiled a number of tips to help de-clutter and get some order back!

  • Create a decluttering list: it becomes easier to declutter when you have a visual representation of where you need to get started and what you want to achieve. You can start your list with simple tasks like emptying the trash can, throwing away the old magazines, throwing away the expired makeup, and cleaning makeup brushes. Later you can outline different sections of your home/ office you need to declutter. Remember baby steps is the way to go in order to see progress.
  • Set a declutter deadline: with every day feeling like the one before it’s easy to postpone things but, when we note things down and set a deadline, it creates a mental reminder that constantly rings letting us know time is ticking, thus pushing us to get it done. Remember to stick to your deadline, this happens by getting started.
  • Apply the trash bag rule: this rule is generally filling a trash bag with items you never use. We’ll be generous. Start with outfits you’ve not worn in the past 3 years! If it’s not full, you’re not serious with your decluttering, so get going and get serious!
  • Remember gifts can be clutter too: It’s the thought that counts is what keeps us emotionally tied to gifts that we really have no use for. So keep the thought and the emotion that the gift brings and hand over that gift- think it as sharing your joy with someone else who needs it the most.
  • Keep items that spark joy and give meaning to your life: Hoarding items is probably wired in our DNA. It’s difficult to give out items that we care about but if you don’t use it, it’s more likely a baggage than a belonging. So hand it over and know that it will find a new home.
  • Donate items: It doesn’t fit anymore and no you’ll not be wearing those bootie shorts anywhere again, the book that you read and haven’t touched again, those almost new shoes you feel aren’t stylish anymore, the many phone chargers you never use, that old laptop, please donate these items to those who are less fortunate. View it as creating room to acquire more.
  • Take up a 5-5-5 challenge: this challenge generally involves locating 5 items to throw away, 5 that you will donate, and 5 that you need to return to their proper space.
  • Finish tasks: we can’t stress this enough, once you embark on a given task i.e. decluttering your closet, makeup, bookshelf make sure you go through with it. This way you can see progress and get more motivated.

They say clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions and it’s an enemy of clarity. So take the leap and start decluttering and we hope these simple tips guide you through the process.

Article by Peris Wangari

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