by Emily Herwig of Tidy Life, LLC
You may have heard the saying, "Clutter is an accumulation of delayed decisions." We tend to toss our belongings around without care or respect. We live in a disposable society; stuff is cheap to buy and replace. New purchases are shiny, exciting and carefully packaged, yet are soon relegated to the back of closets and junk drawers. Paperwork and junk mail bombard us daily and we can't keep up. Clutter is the symptom of this disease.
Whether we realize it or not, we're faced with a decision every time we pick something up, put something down, buy something new, get something dirty, break something, use the last thing in a box, empty a bottle, remove a paper from an envelope… you get the idea.
This decision is 2-fold:
1. What will I do with this object now? Keep it, return or exchange it, wash or clean it, refill, recharge or repair it, put it away or file it, throw it out or recycle it, donate it, sell it or give it away, or put it in storage.
2. When will I do it? Now, or later.
Most of the time we don't practice mindful handling of our belongings. We toss something wherever it lands, AVOIDING the 1st decision and defaulting to “Later” on the 2nd one. The clutter grows and so do our stress levels. According to the Clutter Decision Matrix (below), every time you are presented with a decision, one of 3 things can happen:
Clutter Decision Matrix © Tidy Life, LLC
Every little thing you handle is a candidate for clutter. The little things accumulate and clutter turns into a big problem. Remind yourself that you control the stuff, it does not control you.
For 1 day, try practicing mindful handling and make decisions as opportunities arise. Anything you start, follow it through to completion, even if for now that means putting a task on your to-do list. The blissful lack of clutter left in your wake at the end of the day may just motivate good new habits for the future.
© 2011-2012 by Emily Herwig, Tidy Life LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Emily Herwig is the owner of Tidy Life, LLC based in Baltimore. She helps individuals and businesses maximize their limited time and space through organization, productivity, time management, and technology. Emily is currently serving as the Director of Communications & Technology for the NAPO Baltimore Chapter.