When you think about anxiety, you might not think that decluttering will make any difference. Yet studies have shown that clutter can have a detrimental effect on mental health and well-being.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Marie Kondo way of releasing anything you own which doesn’t spark joy.
“Kondo’s method of organising is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” (ときめく tokimeku, the word in Japanese, means “flutter, throb, palpitate”), and choosing a place for everything from then on.” – Wikipedi
We’ll explore ways you can implement decluttering in your business, leading to a more organised, calm and productive you.
Mess = Stress: How Clutter Affects Well-being
When clutter in your home and business starts to build, it can start to have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. Clutter can build up gradually and before you know it, it becomes unmanageable and overwhelming.
The Negative Impact of Clutter
- Overwhelm: When you have a lot of clutter in your home/business you may feel a sense of doom or fear about the mammoth decluttering task ahead. This can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
- Self-esteem: Feelings of not being in control or inadequate, fuelled by your inner critic – “if you were a better business owner/mum/entrepreneur, you wouldn’t be in this mess”.
- Judgement: Wondering what other people might think if they came to your home and saw the mess/clutter.
- Frustration: When you can’t find the things you need, or you keep losing important documents/items, it can be very frustrating and stress inducing.
- Lack of creativity: Clutter inhibits creativity as it takes up head space and drains energy. It also distracts us from things we should be focusing on.
- Tenseness or restlessness: It’s hard to relax when you have a house/office with areas of clutter and it is always ‘there’. Even when you can’t physically see clutter, it is always there psychologically, as something you know you need to deal with.
- General well-being: Clutter can lead to lots of negative feelings, such as anxiety, worry, stress and fear. In turn, this can start to affect your physical health leading to sleep problems, lethargy and even depression.
The Positive Impact of Decluttering
It’s not all doom and gloom, and it’s never too late to start decluttering! (you might want to keep the office pet though).
Decluttering is actually a great form of self care. Loving and caring for your home and business/work environment, is loving and caring for yourself. By keeping your business clutter-free, you’re showing respect for your space and business.
Likewise, allowing clutter to build up and not dealing with it, is a form of self-sabotage.
Positive Effects of Decluttering
- Increased focus: With all the mess out of the way, you’ll have a clearer head and become more productive, not to mention the sense of pride of a job well done.
- More time: You’ll spend less time procrastinating/stressing about clutter and gain all that lost time you spent frantically looking for things (and creating more mess in the process).
- Increased productivity: With everything in the right place, systems created, and general organisation, you’ll be able to get straight to your important tasks, quickly and efficiently.
- A sense of positive well-being: Decluttering gives you a sense of release…letting go of the old…making way for the new. It can be a very cathartic experience.
- Improved physical health: Less clutter means less dirt; less dirt means a cleaner, fresher environment. When things around you are clean and tidy, you’ll want to feel clean too! You may find you start taking better care of yourself by eating more healthily and exercising.
- Better habits and routines: After feeling the positive effects of decluttering, you’ll be keen to implement routines and daily habits to keep your home/office clutter free.
- Increased wealth (possibly!): I can’t promise decluttering will bring you riches, but there has been lots of anecdotal evidence that when people declutter, they make way for more abundance in their lives. Decluttering helps you to feel more organised with all aspects of your life, including business and finances. This awareness ‘tunes’ you into a wealth mindset. Likewise, on a practical note, you could find money when you are decluttering; hands up if you’ve discovered coins or notes down the back of the sofa, or gift vouchers you forgot you had? You could also make money selling things that no longer spark joy on eBay or local Facebook groups.
Getting Started with Decluttering Your Business
OK, so you’re ready to get started?! Or maybe you’re still feeling really overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering? Either way, you’re going to have to get started at some point, or you’ll end up like poor old Mr Trebus.
Make the commitment to declutter, both for your well-being and your business success.
For the purpose of this article, I’m sharing tips on how to declutter your business, but you can apply many of the tips to decluttering your home too.
Decluttering: Let’s do this!
1: Your workspace
- Get started with your desk, office or work space.
- Clear everything from the area and put it in boxes.
- Have a good clean and when you’re done start putting important things back.
- With the rest (desk ornaments, coasters, unused notebooks etc.) ask yourself: “what do I really, really need?”.
- Bin the things which aren’t good enough to sell or giveaway.
- Reassign things to other rooms if you think they’ll work better there.
- Giveaway, or sell the items which you no longer need.
- Assess your storage solutions and purchase new filing trays, boxes or furniture as necessary.
2: Your mind
- What’s your purpose?
- How do you work best?
- How do you learn best?
- What motivates you the most?
- What makes you feel alive and totally in your zone?
- What feels satisfying?
- What feels like a reward?
3: Letting go
- Don’t renew those domains you bought on a whim because of shiny object syndrome (yes, I know).
- Get rid of old websites you created but no longer maintain, or have little interest in.
- Make a plan to complete training courses you bought but never got round to completing. If they’re no longer relevant, let them go. Delete your browser bookmark and login info.
- Deactivate social media pages, accounts or groups which no longer serve you.
- Assess the tools you’ve purchased for your business – are they still relevant? If not, release!
4: Your workload
- Task clutter is overwhelming and fries your brain! If there are daily or weekly tasks which you dislike, aren’t great at, or just take up too much of your time, consider outsourcing them to a Virtual Assistant.
- If you completely drop tasks you don’t like, will your business really suffer? Look closely at your tasks and work out which ones you could drop or reduce.
- Do you need to up your game? If there are tasks which unnerve you, how could you make them easier? Investigate options for training so you feel more confident.
- How many mailboxes do you have and do you really need all of them? Reduce down to one or two and set up forwarders on the others.
- Start unsubscribing. Do you really need to know about the latest menu option for Pizza Express, or offers from Debenhams? Be ruthless with the unsubscribe button – you can always subscribe again in the future if you really miss them.
- Delete. Bulk delete emails which you no longer need to keep.
- Create folders for your emails (but only a few). It’s a good idea to have an actionable folder and an archive folder to help you keep organised.
6: Your computer
- It’s not good for your brain to turn on your computer and see icons running off the side of the screen where you’ve been saving everything to your desktop (been there!). Delete or organise all those icons on your desktop so you can actually SEE that inspiring background you chose.
- Sort your files and folders. This will make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. You could create a folder for images, one for finances, one for posters etc.
- Back up your files regularly.
- Free yourself from toxic friendships. If someone always makes you feel tired, drained, depressed or any other negative emotion, disengage. Stop associating with them.
- Unfollow people on social media who make you feel anxious, inferior or generally crappy. You can refollow when you’re feeling super confident and not bothered by what they’re up to.
- Grow new relationships with people who uplift and inspire you. This could be real life networking or online connections.
- Nurture yourself. The longest relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself, make it a good one! Set aside time for self care.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”– Lucille Ball
I hope you enjoy getting started on your decluttering journey. I would love to hear your stories and tips for a clutter-free life. Feel free to comment below.