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Feeling Stressed? Try De-Cluttering!

For many of us mid-end of August is that time where work is a bit quieter and there’s a window of opportunity to have a good declutter at home before everything life gets busy again in September. Chances are you will have heard of Maria Kondo, the Japanese organising consultant who has sparked a global phenomenon around de-cluttering and streamlining your life. The surprising popularity of a book that is essentially about tidying (!), can largely be attributed to the reports of radically enhanced wellbeing by those who have applied its methods. Clutter and mess can be a source of great stress and has also been linked with low mood, problems concentrating, reduced creativity and even bad quality sleep. Think this doesn’t apply to you? Researchers have found that mess is a source of stress we are particularly good at ignoring, but that doesn’t diminish its effects.

We have put together a list of tips to help you start your de-cluttering journey. Be prepared to feel more relaxed, calm, focussed and clear-minded!

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew - organising your whole home in one day is not realistic. Instead, divide your home up into areas and spend 2 hours on each.
  • Ask the right questions - certain questions can help you to decide whether to get rid of something: “Does this item spark a feeling of joy” (a core premise of the KonMarie method). Other questions could be: “Have I worn this in the last year”, “If I lost this item tomorrow, would I repurchase it?” – if the answer is no, you don’t need it.
  • Set some personalised parameters – rules that are realistic and will work for you. For example: only keep the two latest editions of a magazine or limit your wardrobe to 50 items.
  • Reduce the paper trail - download a scanning app such as Scanbot and upload your bills and payslips into this easy to organise system . For birthday cards and other personal items you want a record of, store them in a journaling app such as Day One. Physical items can then be recycled.
  • Make de-cluttering a habit. Regularly set aside time to review your belongings and make sure that they aren’t accumulating unnecessarily. Create repeating calendar reminders to prompt you.
  • Sign up to a set regime – there are set processes you can follow if you need a bit of structure. The 12/7 concept, for example, where you throw away, gift or donate 12 items every day for 7 days. Or this 30 day plan where you throw away one thing on day 1, two on day 2, three on day 3 and so on…
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