This past weekend, I took a road trip up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a wedding near the ocean. The sea always calms me. It feels like an escape- from all the things that normally surround me. You don’t need much while you’re there- maybe a towel and some sunscreen. With the end of summer approaching, stress and hustle starts to take over. Reduce tension and anxiety by organizing and de-cluttering your physical space. External chaos can lead to below-the-surface stress that can build and collect in your mind and muscles causing inflammation and lowered immunity over time.
Cleaning and organizing the space around you can create freedom and boost creativity.
1) Just toss. If you haven’t worn it in the past year, you don’t need it. If it’s been in a box for longer than that- get rid of it. We are often tied to possessions because of the nostalgia they bring, but keeping these extra mementos around because they remind us of the past can keep us stuck there. What brings you joy today? Those are the things to keep around you. If it’s not functional or beautiful, you probably don’t need it.
2) Give it a home. Everything should have a place, including the sponges for your sink and your mail. This prevents clutter, and keeps you from collecting extra things you don’t need that create a crowded, stifling space. Keep a small basket for mail or dish for keys. For toys, magazines, or other extras- hide them in a covered box so they are not left around to create clutter.
3) 1 for 1. Rather than buying more or adding more- and becoming trapped by possessions- focusing on replacing. If you want a new clothing item, get rid of one or two things. If you’re buying groceries, be sure you have already used up everything you could from your pantry.
4) “A stitch in time saves nine.” This is my favorite Ben Franklin quote. After your initial de-cluttering and cleaning session, maintaining an organized environment takes very little time and will save you from a major clean sweep later. At the end of each day, ensure there are no dirty dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, or books and papers out of place. This will create a stress-free sleep environment and prevent you from worrying about adding cleaning and organizing to your already long list of to-dos for tomorrow.
By removing clutter and organizing your space, you will sleep better, be more productive, and reduce unnecessary tension.
Photo: San Francisco, 2014