This week's Be Better 52 Challenge is to Clear the Clutter. That’s right, it’s spring cleaning time! Now is the perfect time to rid yourself of old clothes, stacked up papers, and random items you don’t need. Take some time this week to go through your house or apartment and ask yourself, “Do I need this item?” The most daunting part about spring cleaning is starting the process. Where do I begin? How long will it take? Yes, spring cleaning can be overwhelming. Remind yourself you do not need to de-clutter the entire house in one day. Get rid of 15 items whether its stuff in one drawer, one closet, or one room. Then take a break, a deep breath, and do it again throughout the week or weekend. (If making quick, on-the-spot decisions about what to keep or discard is difficult for you, check out the Feng Shui system below.)
According to makeuseof.com, some scientific studies have proven that multitasking slows us down. Working on a single task is much more efficient than trying to direct our attention in multiple directions. This conclusion is why clutter has such a negative effect on our mental capacities. Sitting at a cluttered desk or coming home to piles of magazines or messy papers adds to the number of distractions on which we expend our mental resources, both visually and cognitively. Using more mental power requires more energy, which is why clutter can cause people to feel more fatigued. If you spend the time and energy necessary to clear the clutter, it will feel like therapy by helping you "lighten the load."
A Chinese practice called Feng Shui is a system for arranging your surroundings in harmony and balance with the natural world. By implementing some feng shui in your home, you will feel like you have cleared away unnecessary “stuff” and retained only the essential items that give you energy. Listed below are our favorite tips to clear the clutter using feng shui:
Create a clutter pile.
Find an energetic rhythm that works for you and do not slow down. Active, energizing music can help. You can choose it ahead of time.
Place 3 empty boxes close to you. Re-affirm to yourself that you do not have to make any choices other than having the In Box (the item is needed), the Out Box (the item is not needed), or the I Don't Know Box (you can't decide right now).
Pick up an item from your clutter pile and QUICKLY place it in one of the 3 boxes. If you are taking more than 30 seconds to 1 minute to decide about an item, you are not doing it right (remember, you have the "I Don't Know box," so use it!)
Proceed in the same energetic rhythm with each item in your clutter pile until the session time is up. Do not slow down your pace. Keep it the same throughout the whole clutter-clearing session. Do not go over 30 minutes. Once time is up, you're done for the day. Pat yourself on the back and go have some fun. You did great!
The Huffington Post has an article that explains the ways clearing the clutter from your life will improve your health. Having an organized home allows people to be more efficient, have more clarity, and to experience less physical, mental, and emotional energy consumption. Physically, more organization contributes to better blood flow, less inflammation, less hyperviscosity, and less oxidative stress. Studies reveal when people live less cluttered lives, they have better antioxidant protection to fight cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. When people are clear and efficient, their energy lasts longer, leading to health benefits on all levels.
We hope you find some of our suggestions helpful in aiding you in your spring cleaning. Whether you go through the clothes in your dresser, clean out a storage closet, or discard items in the kitchen, taking time to do away with unnecessary excess in your life will bring you a new perspective and allow you to breathe. We can’t wait to see how you complete this week’s challenge by clearing the clutter!