A cluttered life takes energy and brainpower away from more important things on your plate. Many times, you may be unaware of the distraction clutter can cause, even if you try to ignore it. Clutter takes up space in your mind and will constantly nag at you. It takes mental energy to avoid the stack of files that have been accumulating on your desk for weeks. Clutter is not only messy but literally affects your capability to work at your full capacity. This applies to not only physical clutter but digital clutter as well. Below, I’ve shared some helpful tips to get a head start on decluttering your life.
Declutter Your Work Life
When you declutter your work life, it is important to find a balance between accessibility and lack of clutter. Some aspects are necessary to have because you use them every day, even though they may take away from the minimalism you are trying to achieve. However, there are still areas where decluttering will certainly change your productivity and ability to work at your highest potential. Rewriting a document because you couldn’t find the previous one you’d saved can be both a waste of time and very frustrating.
How to Declutter Your Work Life:
Step 1. Go digital if possible.
- Continually receiving files in the mail from your cable or bank company not only wastes space but is also bad for the environment. Switch to paperless when you can, and sign up for e-statements.
- Scan and store files electronically.
Step 2. Organize your desk area.
- Get rid of unnecessary duplicates (e.g., extra pens, staplers, notepads).
- Find a place for everything by using labels and storage systems.
- Set everything you might not need aside for six months. If you haven’t touched it after six months, toss or donate it.
Step 3. Clean out your computer.
- Create folders with clear labels into which documents can be sorted for later use.
- Remove downloaded items that are no longer relevant.
- Keep on your home screen only files that you use regularly, and organize the ones you do keep into folders.
- Organize your computer’s dock (Mac) or taskbar (PC), and remove apps that aren’t used as frequently.
Step 4. Toss anything outdated.
- Regularly purge unused files.
- Shred sensitive files, and recycle ones that aren’t.
Declutter Your Digital Life
With the power of technology at your fingertips, you can get sucked into additional gadgets and features you don’t need. New apps replace old ones, and you may forget to delete the apps you no longer use. Constantly downloading new resources takes up space on your phone, tablet, and computer. All of this digital information creates a gigantic mess that can be easy to overlook, as it isn’t something you can physically touch.
How to Declutter Your Digital Life:
Step 1. Organize your files and apps.
- Delete duplicate files.
- Move miscellaneous files into folders.
- Use an organized system on your phone for apps, and make sure every app has a place. Not only will your home screen be tidier, but your apps will be easier to locate.
Step 2. Organize your email.
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary subscriptions.
- Create folders for emails you want to hold on to.
- Delete emails that are taking up space.
Step 3. Back up everything, and delete what isn’t relevant anymore.
- Sync everything with an external drive, and then remove what you don’t regularly use. This will speed up your devices and provide security in case your information is ever lost.
- Delete old screenshots, duplicate photos, text threads, and unnecessary apps that helped solve a problem months ago but are now taking up space.
Declutter Your Everyday Life
Daily life can also get cluttered, and this is where decluttering can be the most beneficial. If your life outside of work and other commitments isn’t organized, it will be much harder to declutter those other aspects. Oftentimes, you may find yourself saying yes to things you don’t have time to be committed to and you don’t have a structure to maintain the necessary commitments in your life. By eliminating the things in your life that don’t bring you happiness or value, you will have more time to benefit from the things that do.
How to Declutter Your Everyday Life:
Step 1. Find a planning system that works for you.
- Write down your to-dos in order of priority.
- Set up reminders around your home or on your phone.
Step 2. Reduce your commitments.
- Free up calendar space by determining what is necessary and what doesn’t serve a purpose in your life.
- Identify the commitments that bring you joy and fulfillment, and dump the rest.
- Learn to say no.
Step 3. Reconsider your routines.
- List all your daily/weekly tasks and activities.
- Combine tasks so you don’t have to do the same thing multiple times.
- Figure out a daily routine that benefits your life, and stick with it.
Maintain Your Decluttered Life
After spending time and hard work decluttering your life, the most important step is to figure out a system to maintain it. This will look different for each individual, as we all live very different lives and work in various fields. Setting up a step-by-step system for yourself will remove a lot of the work in the long run. Be diligent so you aren’t tempted to slack off. It is easy to tell yourself you can wait until the next day to do something, but dealing with tasks immediately will save a lot of stress and time as tasks build up. Finally, commit to regular decluttering. Accumulating clutter is normal, and it will happen no matter how hard you may try to avoid it. However, the decluttering process is much easier and quicker when you stay on top of the clutter.
Have any useful tips you’d like to share on how you declutter your life? Share them and tag us on social media!