Psychology Today reveals that clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli — causing our senses to work overtime, makes it more difficult to relax both physically and mentally, and makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to lead a clutter-free life without spending countless hours of your precious time organizing your home. To maintain a clean and healthy home and keep your stress levels down, dedicate just 15 minutes a day to organization. Clearing away clutter is freeing to the mind and after getting into a daily 15-minute habit, you will find yourself doing it on autopilot in no time. Expect an immediate improvement in the cleanliness of your home as well as your state of mind.
Make your bed.
It only takes a few minutes to make your bed and by doing it first thing in the morning, you’re setting a precedent for the rest of your day. You put yourself instantly in an organized mindset, and your bedroom evokes a sense of calm. Plus, who doesn’t love crawling into a neatly made bed at night?
Sort through the mail.
“Twenty-three percent of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them,” reports Harris Interactive. Sandra Schustack, professional organizer and owner of Clear Your Space East, sees clients who avoid dealing with mail even though it only takes a few minutes to pick up and pre-sort everyday. “Junk mail should go straight into the garbage, action items like bills can go into a processing area, and to-file items like taxes or reference should go into a filing area,” says Schustack. Write the due date on the front of bill envelopes so you know exactly when to pay. Once bills are paid, file them away alphabetically so they are always accessible when needed.
Make sure you can see what’s in your pantry.
A messy pantry costs you time when you’re preparing a meal and costs you money because you don’t know what’s in there, leading you to buy items you already have. When everything is organized, you can actually see your foodstuffs. Keep bulk items like flour, quinoa, nuts, and beans in clear canisters. Mason jars are perfect for holding spices. Store individual snacks like granola bars or small bags of chips in a large ziplock or basket.
Purge unwanted clothing.
“Don’t hold onto things just because you think you should,” says Schustack. “I know it was expensive, or your Aunt Matilda gave it to you, but if you don’t like it, get rid of it. What you’re really holding onto is guilt.” If you want to conquer your closet and drawers but are limited on time, focus on one part per day until it’s done — jeans one day, socks another, and so on.
Have a place for everything.
Designate a home for all of your household belongings and put things back when you use them. Place remote controls in a basket or on a tray and keep keys in a dish by your entryway so you never waste time looking for them. To create an even more streamlined system, embrace your label maker! This way, family and guests know exactly where things belong.
Make a list.
Schustack recommends creating a to-do list the night before. “It will help you clear your head and sleep better. In the morning you’ll have a plan and be ready to tackle the day.” If you’re tech-driven, try an app like Evernote to keep lists, receipts and documents organized and accessible on your phone.
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