The saying goes that a cluttered home equals a cluttered mind and that certainly holds true. It has been proven that too much ‘stuff’ accumulating can result in increased stress levels. Excess boxes, packages and belongings can also provide a safe haven for dust mites which aggravate allergens, so making the decision to tackle the clutter is beneficial to mind, body and soul.
Clutter can build up in many forms. It’s not just about the piles of letters tucked to one side, waiting to be dealt with ‘later’, and it’s not about the collection of impulse bought clothes that sit in the wardrobe with labels still attached, but in today’s techie age it also affects our computers, our tablets and our mobile phones too.
The first step is often the hardest and dealing with clutter is no exception. You may feel as if you don’t know where to start so we’ve put together a few tips to help you on your way.
Clear out your inbox
Email piles up easily with messages that you’ve planned to deal with later, threads of messages all over the place and maybe the odd one or two you’ve decided to hold on to ‘just in case’. Before you know it you’ve several years worth of emails and you don’t even remember what lies in the early pages of your account. Go through your email account from the very beginning. Delete anything which is no longer useful or relevant, reply to any which need answering (although to be fair, you’re unlikely to finally reply to an email from 2005), and bookmark any websites or pages you’ve kept the links to for future reference. Save anything you just can’t bear to delete in its own special folder. In fact, creating folders for different categories of emails can help keep on top of things.
Tackle that pile of letters
You know that pile of paperwork and letters you keep meaning to sit down and deal with? Well, tonight is the night. Pay any bills which may be lurking within and while you’re at it, consider switching to online billing and payments which saves money, paper and time. File any paid bills or letters which need keeping and shred and discard any which don’t. Recycle any junk mail and stop the flow by registering with the Mail Preference Service. Then make a promise to yourself to deal with the mail as it arrives and not let it build up again.
Purge your unused items and make some money
Few of us have the time, energy or willpower to tackle the entire house so work on one room at a time, ensuring you go through everything. Decide what you want to keep and what you don’t and separate the latter items into things to donate, to recycle or to sell. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to make money by selling your unwanted clothes, CDs, DVDs and more, making decluttering worth it not only for your health and piece of mind, but also for your pocket.
Use the 6 month rule
If you haven’t used something in the last six months think seriously about whether it’s worth holding onto. If you haven’t used something in the last 12 months you’ve proven that it’s probably not so get rid of it.
Clearing out your home may seem like a gargantuan task but remember, you don’t need to get it all done at once. You just need to start.
What are your top decluttering tips? Share them with us in the comments below.