We live in an age of mass consumerism and disposability: fast food, fast fashion and speedy communication consumption – there’s so much turnover and a hell of a lot of waste in the process. In a world of excess, we can’t help but accumulate things – so.many.things, and it got me thinking recently as I looked round my flat, that I own so much STUFF. Yes there are initiatives to recycle and use eco-friendly products, but this is more about our personal usage and the value (or lack of value) that we attribute to all these things and what we gain from them.
An overload of anything can be stressful: work, a busy lifestyle, too much information all at once, and so by evaluating each of these ‘life facets’ it helps us understand the value of each one and therefore how much attention we give to that area of our lives.
Our social life is a great example, (including the digital version) because it too can become stressful, and as we grow (in all the ways) it becomes clear that some friendships or connections will have longevity, whereas others will be short-lived. What’s important is that we learn something from them. Social media is a minefield in this instance, and I am not even sure where to start, but having boundaries is key, and you’ve got to know how to separate the digital farce from reality, otherwise that digital clutter will definitely build up.
A lot of the stressors come from the anticipation, the procrastination – ignoring that pile of clothing for weeks before you decide to sift through it; forgetting to keep your finances in check and then suddenly being faced with a call from the bank; leaving your desk piled high with, well, crap you don’t need – which will only put you off working in that space, which then affects productivity, which in turn can be stressful.
And a great way to keep these potential stressors in check is by evaluating and decluttering. Many of us will keep things we don’t use, for their possible future use, but in reality, if you haven’t worn that top in the last six months then you probably never will.
Declutter Your Home
1. The wardrobe
You will have your everyday clothing and your occasion wear, so obviously you’ll be using the everyday stuff more often, but if you’re not wearing certain items much, or you’re waiting to squeeze back into those jeans, then make a realistic decision and either dump or donate.
2. The rooms
Take a quick scan of the room, and look at the surfaces – floor, shelves, tables. If there are items scattered around everywhere, remove them. Try and keep surfaces as clean as possible, using the actual storage areas for your stuff.
Declutter Your Workspace
1. The desk
This is the area that requires space – having too much stuff in the way is off-putting and can feel pretty stifling, making it unconducive to creativity.
2. The desktop
It’s quick and easy to save things to your desktop, but the digital files pile up in exactly the same way as the mountain of papers on your desk. So give your computer a good clean up at the end of every week to keep those files in check.
3. The information
We’ve got reels of information on scroll pretty much everywhere we look, and that’s positive in so many ways, but it can also be overwhelming and massively distracting – particularly when it’s more about the Facebook and Instagram feeds. Take a look through your digital subscriptions and work out what gives you knowledge, enjoyment, relaxation and benefits you in some way, then delete the rest.
4. The social media
For many people social media is work, and that’s awesome, but it also needs to be managed as a workstation in that case. We all know it’s unhealthy to sit at a desk all day, so the same rule applies for being on your phone, right? This might be more about time management and social skills, but the point still stands, ha.
Declutter Your Social Life
1. The friendships
Remember when Facebook first came out and everyone was comparing how many friends they had? Well, in reality, less is definitely more when it comes to friendships, in my opinion. And people grow apart with time, that’s not an unhealthy thing – it’s good to identify and move on amicably.
2. The commitments
FOMO, or ‘Fear of Missing Out’ is definitely a thing for many people, and sometimes it’s a good idea to simply turn invitations down. Learning to say no is a struggle for some, but when you look at your diary and it actually stresses you out, then you know that you’ve got to declutter and simplify. Focus on the things that bring value to your everyday life, things you learn from and enjoy. It’s important not to spread yourself too thin.
I have started off small with my own personal space, and the key is to keep on top of things – easier said than done, I know. Procrastination is one of the enemies here, so make a list of things to tackle and manage one at a time, over the course of a week, or a month even – just depends how much clutter you’ve got in your life!