Inside: Learn how to declutter to boost productivity in your home as you streamline your space.
A guest post by Rose Morrison
Feeling like you’re drowning in your possessions is never conducive to productivity. How can you get anything done with so much happening around you?
Clutter has plenty of adverse effects, but hindered productivity is among the worst. It can creep into your workflow, daily at-home responsibilities, and your family’s routine.
Here’s a look at the adverse effects of clutter, how cleaning out your house helps you get things done, and tips to help you start streamlining your space.
The Negative Effects of Clutter on Productivity
A cluttered home can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways.
According to Deacon Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D. from DePaul University, an overabundance of stuff makes chaos and disorganization in people’s lives. Clutter hinders livability, from space to emotional reactions, such as stress and anxiety.
In a consumerist world where people are encouraged to buy more, the accumulation of belongings actually makes you feel less happy. Your quality of life dips when clutter takes over and you feel less productive.
For remote workers, a cluttered workspace could leave you with greater indecision, procrastination, low job performance, and less job satisfaction.
Look at your desk area — is it full of pens, paper, and notes everywhere? Too many objects in front of you will prevent you from completing tasks on time, setting you back with other essential assignments.
Those with children might struggle to juggle parenting with other responsibilities in a cluttered home. A cluttered environment isn’t beneficial for kids either and could create stress and disarray in their daily routines.
How Does Decluttering Boost Productivity at Home?
Creating productive habits in your life will help you to get more done. Streamlining your space is another way to encourage greater productivity.
Decluttering restores a sense of control over your life. As a result, you gain clarity and boost your productivity. With a clean space, you know what needs to get done and prioritize tasks more efficiently with fewer distractions.
A decluttered home is a comfortable space for little ones to focus on homework. It’s also one less thing to worry about for adults, so you can conduct your work and complete chores with time to spare.
Getting rid of clutter also decreases stress by making it easier to get and stay organized. You’ll be much happier without the frustration of not finding what you need or being unable to think clearly.
Declutter to Boost Productivity: 7 Tips to Streamline Your Home
You’re one step closer to creating a more productive environment, but decluttering your home is likely not something you can complete in a day. It requires patience, motivation, and self-discipline.
Follow these seven tips if you’re ready to declutter to boost productivity in your home.
1. Plan Your Decluttering Process
The decluttering process can feel overwhelming if you have a lot of belongings to go through. This makes it increasingly important to have a strategy before you begin.
Take time to create your declutter plan of attack and think through how you’ll approach each room.
Consider how much time you have to tackle this project. For most people, decluttering your home in a very short period of time is out of the question.
It would be more reasonable to aim to declutter one room per week until the job is done. Also, determine what room order you want to go in. Starting with easier rooms and working your way up to more challenging ones works well for most people.
Setting a timeframe for each room will give you a deadline to work toward.
2. Go Room by Room
Now that you have your plan of where you will begin, it’s time to get started.
While it may be tempting to declutter multiple rooms simultaneously, this will create chaos and overwhelm quickly. Going room by room is best for staying on track.
Use the micro-decluttering approach to focus on one shelf, drawer, or cabinet at a time. Complete it before moving on to the next area in the room.
This will help make the process feel more manageable and won’t make your home look chaotic.
3. Consider Purpose and Use
Deciding whether something has a purpose in your life is an excellent start to cleaning out your clutter.
Secondary to purpose is usage — how often do you use each item? Also, do you need duplicates, such as several of the same cookware?
Some find it helpful to deploy the 90/90 rule to make their decisions. If you haven’t used the object in 90 days and don’t intend to use it in 90 days, it probably doesn’t serve much purpose. In most instances, you can get rid of things much more easily this way.
Of course, there will always be important things to hold onto, even if you last used them some time ago. Use your best discretion when sifting through everything.
These decluttering questions provide a helpful guideline in determining what stays and what goes.
4. Try Different Decluttering Methods if Needed
Not every decluttering method works equally well for everyone. If going room by room doesn’t work well for you, consider alternative ways to declutter your home.
The KonMari Method derives from professional organizer Marie Kondo’s renowned book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Rather than get rid of belongings minimally, she encourages you to consider whether something sparks joy. If you love it, keep it. Otherwise, remove it.
Unlike decluttering room by room, the KonMari method has you clean out by category. For example, empty all closets and drawers of clothing from every room and go through it at once.
Kondo is also not much of a proponent of storage, believing it only creates an illusion of having less stuff. After going through each item, you must organize according to what’s most functional for you — try to keep like-minded items together.
There are various methods for decluttering your space. Use the one that works best for you.
5. Use Containers to Stay Organized
It’s one thing to declutter drawers, closets, and entire rooms, but you should avoid putting things back wherever they fit.
Look at the items you plan to keep and store what you can in containers. Then, you can stack the containers in a designated area.
Contained items might include those you want to keep and rarely use. Rather than stuff all the holiday decorations in the closet, containers will keep everything organized until the following year. The same goes for family heirloom items you want to hold onto but don’t want to display.
If you’ve run out of space, you may be tempted to rent a storage unit and keep your containers there but a 5×5-foot storage unit is about $60 monthly on average. And of course, you’d pay more for a climate-controlled unit. It’s rarely a good idea and usually doesn’t make financial sense.
Use your space to the best of your abilities by implementing room organization ideas customized for your space.
You’ll want to make sure that whatever organizational system you use for your home that it is something that functions well for you and that you can easily maintain.
6. Donate What You Can
Donating items to someone in need gives beloved possessions a second life, and leaves you feeling fulfilled and confident about your decisions.
According to one study, 60% of participants reported higher well-being and happiness when they donated to charity — a feeling equivalent to earning $36,000 more in their salary.
Create multiple piles for items you intend to keep, trash, and donate — then organize items into the correct categories. If you have lightly used or worn items in good condition, why not pass them on?
Finding ways to responsibly donate is a win-win where you can get the distractions out of your home while benefitting someone else in the process.
Just remember to go ahead and donate as soon as possible so that you can more fully enjoy the benefits of having a decluttered space.
7. Consider Other Types of Clutter
There are certain areas of your home that you can declutter to save you time each day. But it is not only the physical items in your home that you can declutter to boost productivity.
Tackling your digital clutter will save you time and help you to be more efficient with your work. By removing distractions and organizing your files, you will make things easier to find and waste less time (as well as decrease frustration).
A final type of clutter to evaluate is your mental clutter. When your mind is going in various directions, it feels impossible to focus.
Unload your mental clutter by making lists, writing in a journal, going for a walk, or talking with a friend or therapist. There are various ways to lighten your load depending on your specific needs and circumstances.
Being able to think clearly and focus on the task at hand will help you to be much more productive and efficient.
Final Thoughts on Decluttering to Boost Productivity
Sometimes, you’re unaware of the ways your clutter is impacting you until you declutter and see the results for yourself.
Decluttering leaves you with more time, space, and energy to do more, so get rid of things that are no longer serving you and reap the rewards of greater productivity.
Do you plan to declutter to boost productivity in your home? Let us know how it goes in the comments section.
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