Though it may not seem immediately obvious, clutter can have a huge drag on your life. An environment in disarray makes it harder to find things and focus your thoughts. It stands to reason that learning how to declutter your life can significantly help you cope in other areas.
Decluttering—or better organizing your life—can do wonders not only for your productivity but also for your overall sense of well-being. Improving the aesthetics of your space is proven to have positive effects on mental health. And on a purely practical level, the ability to find what you need when you need it helps you more effectively live your life.
The good news is that it shouldn’t take a huge upheaval; just a few small steps, applied judiciously and with the right tools to help you stick with it. These tips will help you get started.
Take time for a general cleaning
Spring cleaning is a good habit to get into, not only for the breath of fresh air it brings to your household but also for the opportunity to rearrange things more efficiently. Regular deep cleaning also serves as a “mental reset,” helping you clarify and refocus your thoughts and priorities. While any attempt to declutter your life will require more ongoing work than just one deep clean, it makes for a great start.
The specifics of any deep clean are factored around your home space and the way you organize your thoughts and surroundings. Accordingly, there is no “one size fits all” blueprint. Sometimes, all it takes is a little dusting and vacuuming; in other cases, it might prove a hefty enough project to divide into multiple days.
Regardless of the extent to which you need to dive in, if you plan ahead and include actionable lists, you’ll find that such a cleaning liberates your living space.
Power tip: A checklist is essential for conducting a proper spring cleaning. Write down everything you need to accomplish, and carefully detail the steps required to complete them. Tasks in Evernote provides a streamlined view of your plans and scheduled tasks in one accessible place, customizable to your specific needs. Use this to keep you on track and organized in your grand deep cleaning project.
Sort your digital life
Your digital surroundings—desktops, laptops, phones, and personal devices—are just as much a part of your life as your home, and just as ripe for decluttering. Unsorted files, duplicates, and other virtual paperwork all sprawl across your digital workspaces if you don’t tidy up every so often. Address this by sorting your desktop into an organized system: categorize files, delete duplicates, perform regular backups, and so on. “Clean out” any apps on your phone that you haven’t used in a while, and similarly delete outdated backups of files and photos.
Power tip: One good way to eliminate digital clutter is by consolidating multiple functions in one application. Use Evernote to link your various scheduling apps in one central hub. This can be a big help when streamlining your digital workspace and deleting unnecessary apps.
Give your bag a break
So many people use their purses, satchels, and backpacks as a travel catch-all for all the odds and ends they might need throughout the day. Unfortunately, this means that these items are just as prone to clutter. After all, a purse or backpack full of essential items is no help if you have to spend precious time digging through excess to find what you need.
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to declutter this aspect of your life, too; just use the tools these items already come with. Most purses and satchels have pockets and compartments to provide some sort of organizational system. If you’re not using these to your advantage already, now’s the time. Empty your purse or backpack, dump any accumulated trash, and sort your essentials in an easy-to-locate system. Not only will it streamline your purse, but you might be surprised at how much lighter it feels on your shoulder after!
Power tip: If you find your purse is packed with receipts and similar documents, use Evernote’s document scanner app feature to digitize the paperwork. Save a digital copy of these important paper files for future use, and share them directly from Evernote as you need.
Learn to let (some) things go
We all have a tendency to collect things of sentimental value. It can be hard to let go of these items, but as time goes on, the mementos pile up and clutter our lives. Learning how to let some of those items go—despite your emotional attachment—is an important step on the journey to declutter your life. A few easy tips can help you decide what stays and what goes.
- You don’t have to get rid of everything. The key to letting go is knowing which items have a deeper meaning to you, and which are here because of habit.
- Let go of the easiest things first, and save the harder choices for later in the process. It may turn out that you don’t need to get rid of as much as you anticipated.
- Ask yourself the reason behind keeping any given item. Those with genuinely sentimental value should have a higher priority than those kept for purely materialistic reasons.
Live easier with less clutter
Decluttering your life can feel like a colossal task, but a few small steps can make it more manageable. The key is to keep up with your cleaning and decluttering. Continue making regular steps towards your goal and, in the process, you’ll establish good habits that will help you stay organized in the future. With these handy tips—and the tools to execute them—you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it, improving your outlook, your mental health, and even the look of your home to boot!