My name is Tracy Ross and I am a Professional Organiser. I set up Blissfully Organised eight years ago to support my clients to simplify their home management and make better use of the space that they have.
I am often asked how clutter affects our brains and the positive benefits of decluttering. I wanted to share with you my thoughts. I hope that you find it useful.
Where do we learn our organisation skills?
The way we organise the space in our homes is individual to each person, but a well organised home will save you time, save you money and reduce stress levels. Often when I am with a client they will say oh I got that from my Mum. We may adopt the same organisational traits as our parents or sometimes we rebel against those and do things differently. For example, if you grow up in a busy home you might prefer to create a calmer environment in your own home. Alternatively, if your parents were very organised and didn’t hold onto items (maybe they disposed of a favourite toy when you were little) you may now feel a stronger sentimental attachment to the things that you own.
Why do we hold onto things?
Since I started Blissfully Organised 7 years ago I have found that there are some key reasons why people hold onto the things that they have.
1. I might need it one day
2. Strong sentimental attachment to items that they have inherited or been offered as a gift from special family/friends
3. It was expensive. You may have treated yourself to an expensive pair of shoes or jacket that you no longer wear but want to hold onto
4. Books/crafting materials I will read it or make it one day
Why is it difficult to let things go?
The more that you are emotionally attached or financially committed to an item the more you feel that you need to keep it. We attach a value to each new item coming into our home making it harder for you to give them up.
Does Clutter Really Affect Your Mind?
Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes workplaces and ourselves. Messy homes or workspaces can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Each person’s perception of clutter is unique to them. All my clients have different things in their home that are important to them and need to be managed. I work with them to create easy home management systems that will reduce clutter. Your home should be a place where you can relax away from the chaos of day to day life. If clutter can build up it will have an impact on your mind.
Visible clutter or chaotic storage cupboards in your home or work environment bombards your mind with excessive messages and creates chaotic signals. It can affect you in one or more of the following ways:
1. Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from where our focus should be
2. Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally
3. Clutter creates visual reminders of everything that needs to be done
4. Clutter creates feelings of guilt (I should be more organised) and embarrassment (I don’t want people to see the chaos in my home)
5. Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly e.g. paperwork, car keys etc.
6. Managing clutter takes more time (i.e. looking for misplaced items or preparing for guests to arrive) and costs more (the cost of replacing items and purchasing duplicate can add up, incurring late fees or not getting the best rate on your utilities or investments)
Clutter isn’t just physical clutter. Digital clutter has the same impact on your mind as physical clutter i.e. managing the files on your computer, managing your digital photos on various gadgets, responding to and managing emails, social media alerts, App updates etc. Anything that beeps for your attention will impact your ability to focus and perform tasks.
How can reduce the Clutter in My Home?
1. Start with one area at a time and finish decluttering that area before moving onto the nest space. This will give you a sense of achievement. I am always there to support you if you need non-judgemental support with any specific area
2. Create designated spaces for frequently used items and supplies. So that you can quickly and easily find what you need when you need it.
3. If you don’t use it, don’t want it or don’t need it get rid of it. You can recycle or donate items that are still usable.
4. The items that you use less frequently should be stored in less accessible places i.e. loft, garage, utility room. When you put things in the garage/loft add a date and keep an electronic list. If you have not accessed, it within a year you probably don’t need it.
5. When you take something out of its designated storage space put it back when you have finished using it. It takes practice to begin with but if you have a designated space for everything that you need it is much easier.
6. Be aware of what you and other people bring into your home. Don’t let papers pile up. Think about the journey of all papers entering your home/workspace. You need to create an arrival space for all incoming papers. I usually recommend a shallow in-tray. Then spend 15 minutes each day sorting through what needs to be actioned, items to recycle and those can that be filed away. Get into the habit of immediately recycling papers that you don’t need right now. If you want to find out the information you can do this very easily. i.e. flyers, menus newspapers etc
7. Mental clutter -focus on one project at a time without distractions of mobile social media etc
I offer a confidential and non-judgemental service to support my clients to declutter and organise their homes. I provide the emotional support, practical help and motivation to help you achieve your goals, step-by-step. To find out how I can help you tame the chaos and set up easy to manage systems to maintain a clutter free environment please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.