Updated: Jul 8
The late, great comic, George Carlin, used to do a routine about 'stuff' and our unceasing human propensity to want a lot of it. We surround ourselves with it and take it with us wherever we go.
However, nowadays, much is being made about decluttering our lives of 'stuff', both physical and mental. One driver has been COVID, motivating us to make our home spaces prettier, more comfortable, more functional and clearer.
For those like me, who are empty nesters, another driver is simply a reduced need for 'stuff' and the desire to simplify our busy lives. It costs time and money to store stuff you aren't using daily any more. And here's a news flash: your kids don't want it!!
By all accounts, decluttering can be desirable esthetically and also from a health and safety standpoint . Physically, studies show clearing severe clutter reduces pests, dust, mold and mildew chances, improves lifestyle and well-being. It is estimated that the average person wears only 20% of what's hanging in the closet.
Mentally, disorganization drains our cognitive resources, reducing our ability to focus. And mental clutter today isn't only caused by physical stuff, but electronic stuff too. You can be attached to platforms 24/7, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Your inboxes get cluttered and messages mount up.
In my mind, decluttering is another word for simplification which can increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. ALL of this also translates to less stress. So, how do we simplify in a world that seems to be getting more complex and overwhelming by the day? Just by living life, here are things I have learned.
A Little at a Time
I'm no expert, but I can tell you, after moving so many times, sometimes the task of unpacking and purging unnecessary items can seem overwhelming and paralyzing. My husband taught me to allow a specific amount of time to work on a big task and just stop after you reach that time. We did this many times, allotting one hour to a task and then enjoying the rest of the evening. It works. Pretty soon the job is done.
My bestie is a senior exec in a large tech firm. That firm now gives days off to all employees periodically called "Me" days. They are specifically designed to promote mental rest from the everyday merry-go-round.
Everyone can use “Me time". It isn't selfish to need to regroup, reenergize and reset your mind.
Touch One Time Rule
One last thing I learned very early on in a time management class was to not handle a piece of physical or electronic item more than one time. Either take action at first touch, store it properly where it can be logically found, or dispose of it. This prevents piles from forming. I'm not great at it, even 40 years later, but I do try.
Repurpose or Give It Away
Repurposing stuff you love is a great way to ensure you keep what makes sense. Maybe something old can be new again! You can buy a new skirt to go with that older blouse and then you have a new, fabulous and current outfit!
If you can’t repurpose, research places and people who can use or dispose of it. It is preferable to know where your stuff will go before you start. This seems to make it easier to make the decision on items you may be tempted to keep because "it's still good" (even though you haven't used or worn it in 10 years!!). You can even arrange a pick up date for the near future to give yourself a deadline.
Don't Forget Your Jewelry Drawer
Our Michael-Alexis Jax Collection is designed to be versatile and efficient, giving you many different styles for less by utilizing your current jewelry collection. You can take your old studs, and pair them with a brand new Michael-Alexis Jax Collection Dangle, and you and the studs will be sparkling anew!!
COVID-19 has reminded me to value the time and relationships that I have because they could be gone tomorrow. By taking time to simplify physical and mental spaces, you will reclaim time and be empowered to do the things that really matter.