New Year’s Resolution to be Clutter Free? Simple Tricks to a Personal and Professional “Clean House”

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There are many mental and physical benefits of keeping a tidy home and office space. It can be awfully overwhelming thinking about all that needs to be done, however, procrastination won’t make the mound of papers or the overloaded inbox get any smaller. We’ve scoured the internet and compiled our favorite tricks to tackling the clutter and staying on track to a more productive work day!

Declutter your personal life:

  • Segment each room.Instead of trying to do your whole house at once, focus on one room at a time. Schedule a day, or even a week, to focus on a single room, and try not to think about the rest of the house until that room is done.
  • Start with the basics.Start with the easy stuff and start working up to more complex decisions. For example, you can throw away the junk mail and remove some old dishes before deciding whether to keep that old necklace your friend bought you.
  • Use the “one year” rule.The popular recommendation states that if you haven’t used or seen an item in the past year, and you haven’t missed it, you don’t need it. Sell it or give it away. Some sources even recommend narrowing this down to the past six months.
  • Don’t know how to sort your items? Here are some questions you could ask yourself to help the sorting:
  • If an item was lost or destroyed, would you spend money to replace it? I.e. Would you pay money to buy those skinny jeans that don’t fit you or that exercise bike you use only as a clothes rack?
  • Is there someone else who could make better use of an item you rarely or never use? Would a less-fortunate person appreciate that coat you never wear? Would your library welcome a donation of books you won’t be re-reading?
  • Set goals.Keep your focus by setting specific goals, such as filling one trash bag of junk every week, or committing to have each room done by a certain day.
  • Set limits.You can also set limits for what you’re allowed to have at any given time. For example, you only allow yourself to own 5 pair of jeans at a time or 100 emails in your inbox before purging.

Decluttering the office?

  • Keep your desk clear.First, try to keep your desk as clear as possible. A few personal items may help you more than they hurt, but don’t overload your desk with pictures, trinkets, and past work. Only keep what’s immediately relevant to you.
  • Sort your email inbox.Your email inbox is likely the most cluttered thing in your professional life, so prioritize it. Keep your inbox clear by organizing your emails into different folders and deleting them once you no longer need them. If you need help with this, Hubspot has a list of 14 tools that can help you get the job done.
  • Work on hidden storage.Incorporate drawers and cabinets that allow you to keep items hidden from view. You can also bundle cables under your desk to keep them from distracting you. Don’t let this hidden storage become a catch-all for junk! Make sure it has a defined purpose.
  • Maintain your work every evening.Don’t let your desk or inbox get cluttered again; maintain your work before going home each evening.

“Our environment is a direct reflection of our internal mental health and vice versa. If our home is disorganized our minds feel scattered as well,” licensed clinical professional counselor Joyce Marter says. “By purging unneeded items from our homes and office space, it is like deleting files to create disk space on your computer. Suddenly, the whole operating system is more efficient. There is less stuff to manage and tasks take less time because you know where to find things. This decreases stress and increases your effectiveness personally and professionally. Organization promotes serenity and wellness in your life.”