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Clear the Clutter

Clutter can be a chronic source of stress. The stress of being surrounded by clutter often isn't realized until the clutter is removed and we feel the relief of being clutter-free.

Clutter bombards the brain with excessive visual stimuli, creating stress. Clutter makes it more difficult to relax or to focus on anything because clutter is an irritating distraction. Even those who seem oblivious to their surroundings are aware of everything in their environment on a subconscious level. Your brain is constantly filtering messages from all your senses.

The more clutter, the more overwhelming the thought of removing it - but looking on the bright side, the greater the sense of relief that will be felt when it is gone. The thought of removing clutter may be so overwhelming that it may seem easier to ignore it. Trying to ignore clutter is stressful because you can't really ignore it.

Not taking action to clear clutter fosters feelings of helplessness. Taking action, even if it only involves committing ten minutes of your time each day to organize, is empowering and relieves stress. Clearing clutter can be a catharsis.

The clutter didn't appear overnight and it will take some time to remove it. Find ways to break down the job into smaller, manageable tasks. Start with one cupboard or one drawer. The satisfaction of completing each small task is motivation to keep going.

Many times, counters and other surfaces are filled with clutter that we can't throw out but don't have anywhere to put - usually because our closets and drawers are already filled with useless clutter. Getting rid of stuff we no longer need but have stored in closets and drawers makes space for the stuff we do need that is taking over our living space.

There is not any sense in storing items that you don't have easy access to and are going to forget you own. If you have items you really want to keep, store them in boxes and label the boxes so you can easily locate items in the future.

Don't go crazy trying to store everything. It is better to get rid of stuff you don't need completely. Don't stuff your drawers full either. It makes it difficult to put things away and take things out, a constant source of annoyance.

An under the bed box is good for storing a few blankets or some of season clothing but don't overdo it. Filling every space you can probably indicates you have too much stuff for your home. Your home needs 'breathing space.'

Because seeing clutter creates stress, open shelves are not the best places to store stuff. Open shelves are fine in a closet or garage but not in living areas. Store items in closed cabinets in the living room or bedroom for maximum stress relief.

Even displaying too many knickknacks can be perceived as clutter. It is better to have a group of items displayed in one spot than scattered all over the place. It is also a relief to have some bare wall space to give your eyes (actually your brain) a break.

A filing cabinet is a must for storing bank statements, utility bills, receipts etc. Being able to find paper items quickly saves a lot of time and prevents a lot of stress.

Clearing clutter may seem like a waste of time to many people, but reducing stress is not a waste of time and reducing clutter reduces stress. Also, if you put items in their place, you'll save time (and your sanity) by not having to search for items buried amongst clutter.

Of course, it's going to get messy in any household. It won't always be clutter free. But having a system in place to deal with it makes temporary clutter less stressful.

Your home should be a refuge from stress, not a source of stress.

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