Are you ready to learn how to stop accumulating clutter?
As keeping up with the Jones’ has become the new norm it isn’t normal for people to hold down three jobs just to pay for all the things they buy. In-fact all it does is creates clutter, that ends up creating other problems down the road.
Most people don’t set out in life to accumulate clutter or own too many physical possessions. They mostly start out just like anyone else.
They move into their place with the best of intentions, and then life just seems to fly by without any notice.
Before you know it, you’re 38 and living in a clutter nightmare that is negatively affecting you and your family physically and mentally.
Clutter isn’t just lousy décor. It’s also bad for your physical and mental health.
The environmental contaminants in a cluttered environment cause health and psychological problems.
Health problems related to respiratory issues like asthma, allergies, and so forth are prevalent in cluttered households. It is a proven fact.
Sadly, due to the prevalence of mold build up in cluttered homes, you’ll also see a higher rate of mental problems such as anxiety, depression, and attention issues. Think about it….
Do you know someone who has a lot of clutter? Do they always seemed depressed, down, or have anxiety? Or maybe they dwell on the past a little too much. They are also probably really negative.
Thankfully, for you, you realize how vital, living an uncluttered life, is to your health and happiness, and it becomes clear what you must do.
You must get rid of the clutter, organize your valuable stuff, and then you must stop accumulating clutter so that you can live your most happy and productive life without physical and mental clutter.
How to Stop Accumulating Physical Clutter
One of the most destructive things affecting the average persons’ life is clutter. Physical clutter is affecting people and the environment in horrific ways.
Many people are so stressed out and anxious about their living situation that they have a hard time focusing on family, friends, and work. You know the things that really matter.
Thankfully, you can stop accumulating physical clutter.
You can stop by first eliminating the clutter you have and then developing habits that help you to stop accumulating the physical clutter by setting up structure in your life that addresses your tendency to get cluttered.
Assess Your Stuff
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The very first thing you need to do is look at all your stuff. One way to do that is to go in any room you want to tackle and just dump everything out in a pile.
You may know this as the first step of Marie Kondo’s book and show, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
Whether you do it this way or not depends on your personality. For many, this is the best and fastest way.
Or you may want to instead, try clearing out one item of furniture each day.
For example, today you may want to tackle your dresser in your master bedroom. Tomorrow you’ll pick the chest of drawers and move through the Master until you’ve finished accessing the stuff you have.
I highly suggest using a planner to help you. Planners are great for guiding you.
Trash, Sell, Give Away, Keep
As you go through the stuff you have, you’ll want to note whether you want to trash, sell, give away, or keep the items. Most people use trash bags or labeled boxes.
Having four boxes is the best way to go about it. Put trash in the trash box, stuff you can sell in the sell box, and so on.
You don’t have to fold or clean or organize anything other than doing this one task when you are first going through the room you want to declutter.
The reason you need to eliminate clutter is to stop bringing in clutter. This is going to force you to get real with yourself and your situation.
If you ignore the clutter around you and try to stop bringing cutter back in, it won’t work. This is because you already have too much clutter.
It’s a very vicious cycle.
Organize the Stuff You Want to Keep
When you’re finished, and you now have the keep box ready to go through, you can organize the stuff you want to keep.
Try a new method of folding like the packet method (see video below). It makes it easier to see your items in a drawer and prevents them from falling apart when rummaging through the drawers to pick the right thing.
Using drawer dividers, little boxes, and other organizing tools, will help you keep your things organized. Which is what you want after spending all that time decluttering.
Just like a flatware divider in the kitchen, it will also help in a jewelry box, drawers, nightstand, and pretty much anywhere you can get creative.
Likewise, a shoe rack can organize your shoes, and a tie rack can hold your ties or scarves.
Tip: Don’t buy something to help with the organization until you know what you want and how you’ll use it exactly.
Create Sanctuary Spaces at Home
As you go through each room, take note of the things that you want to go through. Again this is where a Planner comes in handy as it will make it more comfortable plus easier to keep organized.
When your home looks nice, it is comfortable, and everything works the way it should, you’re more likely to want to keep it that way.
Consider your bedroom:
- What would your bedroom look like if you designed it?
- What type of bed would you have?
- What type of bedding would you choose?
- Would you have a chair with a reading nook?
Think of each room and space in terms of what you want to do there.
Put Stuff Away When Done
You’ve heard it before, but when you get things out, put them away the moment you’re done with them.
This is much easier to do if you have a place for everything.
- Create homes for everything from your nail file to your underwear.
- If you own it, it should have a home.
Make sure, the place you choose to put the item makes since.
For example, in the kitchen, if you drink coffee or other hot beverages using machinery for it, consider setting up a little coffee or beverage area in the kitchen.
This allows the items to be easily accessed and neatly organized.
Use Junk Baskets Not Drawers
Clutter can accumulate without you even realizing it. It just builds up when you’re busy and then before you know it you must do a deep clean and declutter… again.
You can keep the clutter down by not bringing more back in but by also finding the way best to deal with the daily clutter.
One solution that works well is using junk baskets that are color-coded for each room and family member. Or you can get creative like the photo below:
If you see something that doesn’t belong in the room, put it in the basket. The occupants of the home should know to check their box frequently for stray and lost items.
If you have a two-story house, you may want to get two sets of baskets. An excellent place to keep them is in the entryway or the laundry room.
Implement Buying Rules
You probably thought that once you were an adult, you didn’t need any rules, right? Wrong.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to set standards for yourself and all situations, especially when it comes to accumulating clutter.
Implement the rule that you must remove two things from your environment when you are bringing one thing in.
You can add other rules such as:
- If it’s clothing, it must be a needed item because the other one is not wearable now.
If it’s a household item:
- It must have a reason for existing and not just become another dust collector.
Get Help from a Professional
There are times when a person with no experience in organizing or clearing clutter needs to hire a professional.
If you try to get it under control yourself and find it’s too emotionally draining for you consider finding a professional organizer that will come to your space with their team and help you accomplish your goals.
Another person to consider hiring is a life coach that specializes in assisting people in organizing themselves.
You know your own personality the best and which method will work for you.
Don’t ever be afraid of outsourcing something you don’t want to do. Especially if you can afford it.
If your home is cluttered mostly due to the fact you hate cleaning and organizing and don’t want to do it even if it will make your life better and you can afford to, hire someone to do it all for you.
For many of us, we can keep an area organized if someone else set it up correctly to start with. Maybe ask a friend or family member to help set it up.
If you want to stop accumulating physical cutter, you merely have first to eliminate the clutter you can from your life.
You must make a commitment to yourself and others that you won’t bring more clutter back into the environment.
Thankfully, if you do get it organized well, it feels so good, mentally, physically, spiritually and financially that you won’t want to go back. Most people don’t anyway.
Stop Accumulating Mental Clutter
If you want to live a happy, successful, a life of satisfaction, the best thing you can do for yourself is to recognize and eliminate accumulating mental clutter.
Mental clutter is often negative thoughts and actions that lead to self-talk that is not helpful.
Thoughts of “I’m lazy,” “I’m worthless,” or “I can’t” can be let go of if you accept it and are mindful about it.
Easier said than done, right? Changing your thinking will help a lot with combating mental clutter.
For example, you may want to trigger your brain to thinking differently by asking yourself a few questions about any situation.
- Is this important?
- Can I fix it, change it, or control it?
When you get real about what you really do have control over and what you don’t have control over, you’ll be able to tackle it with a clear mind. And what a difference it makes.
When you do think of something in a disturbing or negative way, it’s important to know how to turn your thought patterns around by using some planned methods such as taking a deep breath, repeating affirmations, or writing in your gratitude journal.
Whatever it takes to turn those thoughts around and stop having them is something you should consider doing.
Tip: Pray or read the Bible
I Pray. A lot.
When I feel overwhelmed or I have negative thinking I Pray.
Clear the Clutter
Of course, you really do need to clear the physical clutter around you to deal better with the mental clutter you have.
You don’t know how much of your mental clutter is caused by what is around you physically until you eliminate it.
Scientific studies show that clutter causes anxiety. It’s not anxiety that causes clutter but vice versa.
When you realize that fact, you see how important it is to clean up and get organized. And then and only then will you find what matters most.
Reduce Screen Time
When you always keep screens on you fill your mind with clutter continuously. Set a schedule for screen time. Even if you work on screens, it’s essential to ensure that you are genuinely being productive with your screen time.
If you cut back the time, you’re going to be more likely to be productive and avoid time suckers like playing “Words with Friends” on social media.
Or in my case scrolling through Facebook and Pintrest non-stop.
Schedule when you’ll use screens, rather than dragging them out willy-nilly, at all time of the day or night.
You’re going to find out that you have a lot more time on your hands than you think.
You know how four hours can disappear in a blink of an eye when you’re scrolling Facebook? What’s worse is you carry that stress and clutter with you all day.
Not too long ago I had to delete people, including family, from my friends list on Facebook. Why? Because I couldn’t handle the things they were sharing.
I won’t go into detail but it wasn’t nice nor pretty. It was things that made me cry, broke my heart, and most of all made me very angry.
Once I realized those posts were cluttering my thinking I quickly deleted them from my account.
It was a hard choice to make but it was a choice worth making. And you know what? My screen time even went down from doing so.
Tip: If you have a iPhone use the screen time app to track your time.
Stop Being a People Pleaser
A hard fact of life is that you’re never going to please everyone all the time, least of all yourself.
When you make choices, you need to balance what you want to do with what you need to do.
You also need to know the difference between needs and desires so that you can make better choices.
One thing you cannot use to make any decision is what other people think. You don’t have to please everyone.
Tip: more like a piece of advice “Stop explaining yourself!”
You don’t need to be worried about how disappointed they are when you say no. In my course Minimizing to Maximize I teach you in week 2 how to say “no.” If this something you struggle with I encourage you to check out the course.
The reason you don’t is that you have a right to live your own life in the way that you want to.
Get Rid of Distractions
When you are doing one task, focus only on that task. Turn off the notifications on your phone, only listen to music if it motivates or inspires you.
The best things happen when you focus without distractions.
At first, your mind may wander, but eventually, it will settle into the activity you’re doing, if you just keep doing it.
If you have a hard time focusing, even when you have de-cluttered your physical environment, you may want to try mindful meditation before a particular activity or task.
Tip: Reading the Bible or Praying is a great way to settle your mind.
If this doesn’t help, consider talking to your doctor about it. You may have an underlying issue, which needs to be addressed.
Eat Right & Exercise
This is especially true for anyone who feels bad about themselves due to their physical appearance.
Physical appearance affects almost everyone’s mental well-being at some point in their life.
We’re all either too fat or too thin, and there are so many diets to choose from that it gets frustrating and confusing.
Talk to a dietitian or your doctor about your eating habits and create a regular exercise plan that you can follow.
Eating right and exercising doesn’t have to be strict or severe. The truth is, you can walk just 10 to 20 minutes a day and get enough exercise to maintain health.
Eating comes down to ensuring you are getting enough nutrition for your personal needs. A health assessment by a physician may be to help you.
Eating right and moving more will cut down on mental clutter because you’re just going to feel better and have more energy to get more done.
Meditate and Or Pray
Actively focusing on quieting your mind is an essential part of your day, if you want to stop accumulating and dwelling on mental clutter.
Doing this can also help you take control of your thoughts at a moment’s notice.
With daily practice, you’ll get much better at quieting your mind and focusing on the task at hand.
In addition, giving yourself that time will help you reenergize and give you mental clarity to avoid mental clutter into your life.
When other people are being brought down by drama, you’re happily ignoring it and not giving it a thought since it’s not something you can add value to.
Use Your Calendar
One thing that can cause mental clutter is forgetting things. Instead of risking forgetting something, write down everything you promise to do (whether to someone else or yourself) in a calendar.
Be sure to block off enough time to get ready for it, get to it, enjoy it, and leave it and decompress from “it” whatever it is.
If you write down your personal commitments first, it can cut down on problems you have reaching deadlines and goals.
Train yourself to check your calendar morning and evening, before committing to something new.
Tip: Only add must do’s to your list. Once those tasks are completed you can move onto to other tasks that are less important.
The calendar is a great place to keep your lists. Starting a list on paper or a note on your smartphone is a good idea.
However, always transfer that to do list to a specific date and time on your calendar.
When you do things on the list, mark the items off that you complete.
This is going to make you feel accomplished each day and reduce mental clutter by helping you avoid procrastination stress or worry that you’ll miss a deadline.
Plus, having a realistic idea of what you need to do during any given day or time helps you know whether to say yes or no to a request or idea that you have.
One of the worst things that has happened to humans is thinking that they can multitask.
Study after study shows that even among the smartest people no one can really multitask. It’s impossible for your brain to focus on two things at once.
You may think you are, but you’re not giving it your all when you’re not focused.Give it a try on your own sometime.
- Turn off the TV when you read.
- Turn off your phone when you are trying to learn something.
- Turn off everything when you’re preparing dinner or playing a game with your kids.
When you are working on a task, only do that task until you’re done. After a few weeks evaluate how you think it’s going.
You will probably find that you are a lot more productive.
Organize Right Away
When you mess up a space, clean it up and organize it right away. Leaving it will give your mind time to focus on why you’re not doing it, and you won’t be able to focus on what you think you wanted to do instead.
When you clean up after yourself right away, it reduces stress and mental clutter by helping you feel productive instead of lazy.
Like making your bed as soon as you get up in the morning. If you don’t do it right away, chances are it will be left unmade all day.
- No one wants to clean the dishes after dinner.
- No one wants to clean up after game night.
- No one really wants to do anything to do with cleaning.
But it’s something everyone has to do or pay someone to do it for them.
A weird thing happens when you do it though. You feel good. Give yourself every opportunity to feel good like that.
Done is Good Enough
One thing that causes mind clutter is feeling as if nothing you do is good enough. Even if you’re organized, you might procrastinate yourself back to being unorganized if you think it’s not good enough.
The mental clutter that you may not be realizing in this situation is all or nothing thinking.
“If it’s not perfect why bother doing it at all?”
However, the truth is, most of the time getting something done at all is good enough.
Even if you check a hundred times, there are probably going to be mistakes. If you organize your bedroom 30 times, someone else will have a different idea of what is right or wrong.
It’s a fact of life that we have to accept.
Instead, realize that getting that thing done is good enough. At least for right now. You can always go back later and change things.
Automate More Stuff
Most people just have too much stuff to do. They work more than 40 hours a week. Have stuff to do with their spouse, their kids, their folks, and friends too.
They often say “yes” more than they should and underestimate their ability sometimes and overestimate it other times. It’s all natural and normal.
But we aren’t SUPER MOMMAS! So stop trying to be one. Again if this is something you struggle with the I encourage you to check out my course Minimizing to Maximize.
Get rid of some the mental clutter by outsourcing some duties. Whether they’re work or home duties, it doesn’t matter.
You can outsource housework, childcare, organizing, just laundry – whatever it is that is causing you the most stress, and mental clutter is the first thing you should consider outsourcing or automating.
For example, you can automate your bill paying.
You can automate food delivery with a food box.
Think outside the box about what you can automate or outsource so you can get more done in less time with less mental clutter.
Conclusion to How to Stop Accumulating Clutter:
Eliminating the accumulation of clutter in your life and mind will positively impact your life.
You’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive in all aspects of your life.
From home to work, you’ll be able to prioritize and make better choices so that you don’t bring in more clutter, whether physical or mental, back into your life.
More Posts on How to Declutter:
- How To Reduce Clutter in One Afternoon
- The Psychology of Clutter and What to Do About It
- Overwhelmed by Clutter? Here’s 4 Ways to Handle It
- 7 Rules of Decluttering to Help You Get Organized