Do you ever feel like your mind is moving in ten directions at once? Does it seem that no matter how much or how little you have to do, there simply isn’t enough time in the day? There are a lot of ways to remedy these feelings, from creating prioritized lists, eliminating multi tasking, and practicing mindfulness meditation, but one of the most effective and immediate ways to clear space in your mind is to clear space in your home and environment.
As a reaction to our modern commercialist and possession-minded world, there has been a recent tilt towards minimalist living. Popular books such as “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo have been helping people rethink the ways they see their property. And for good reason…we all simply have too many things that distract us and lead us astray from the important things we need to accomplish in our lives.
In fact, neuroscientists have found that physical clutter in our lives SIGNIFICANTLY affects our brain’s ability to focus and process information! What’s more, it turns out that coming to terms with the fact that you own something superfluous and unnecessary is actually painful for your brain to come to terms with. So what this all boils down to is this – clutter and useless things rob us of our productivity and happiness.
Many famous achievers have touted the virtues of simplicity and minimalism. As you can see, this is far from a novel concept:
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” – Albert Einstein
“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
“How many things are there which I do not want?” – Socrates
So where to start? Here are 3 essential tips from Marie Kondo’s book to get you going:
- Start with discarding things you don’t need, and be honest with yourself about it. Whether you know it or not, you have a relationship with everything you own. Take stock of each item in your house and ask yourself the question “why should I keep this?” If there isn’t a logical reason for you to have that item in your life anymore, thank it for its service and get rid of it.
- Focus on categories rather than rooms. The common strategy for organization is to focus on the office, or the bedroom, or the living room and work from there, but Kondo says that technique will never allow you to do away with clutter. Rather, focus on specific types of items – books, clothes, etc. – and work your way around the house that way. You’ll find that by shifting your focus in this way, you’ll have a more cohesive system as you organize.
- Respect the possessions you decide to keep. After you’ve gone through the process of discarding the things that don’t serve you in your life, you’re left with things that are truly useful or important to you. So rather than tossing them in any old drawer or shelf, store and display them in a way that does them justice. Not only will you extend the life of your pared-down possessions, you’ll appreciate them even more.
So get started on this today. Aside from making your home and work environment look great, you’ll be doing wonders for your brain power, productivity, mood, and overall health!