The other day I was sitting at our breakfast room table with my laptop and about eleven piles of paper all around, and two piles of discarded papers on the floor. I had made a huge mess in our kitchen. It occurred to me that I had begun doing all my work in the kitchen instead of the wonderful, convenient office I had. I told myself it was because it was easier for my dogs to lounge at my feet and the view was better looking out the big windows.
Actually, that was a big fat lie. The truth was that I had let my office get in such a mess that I couldn’t think straight in there and couldn’t get a single bit of work done sitting at that overcrowded, overflowing desk. I had to suck it up and clean it up. I’m now happy in my office where everything is where it should be, accessible and within reach. I’m not exactly why or how I let the office get in such a state. I think it was just that the end of our school year, graduation, boys’ surgeries and stuff got a little crazy. I basically dealt with incoming mail and paper by throwing it in my office.
I am not an overly tidy person, but I’m not a complete slob either. In fact, I can visit one of my friend’s house and feel like a really messy person, but can visit another’s and feel like I’ve got it pretty together. I guess I’m in the middle. I function better without a bunch of stuff lying around and don’t like it when things get too out of control, but I do have my share of dust bunnies in the corners, a couple of dishes in the sink and stray mail on the kitchen counter. My mom was one of those really organized people. If you opened any drawer in our kitchen it would be perfectly organized, with little cups for paper clips, bands around rubber bands, pencils and pens in a tray, and so on. Her junk drawer was even organized! She could tell you at any time in her life the exact location, down to the left or right, of anything in her home. For me, it’s a constant progress . . .
When I did take the time to tackle my office I was a much happier person. I felt relief and could actually sit at my desk and be productive. I think there really is something to the saying that “outer order contributes to inner calm”. At least it does for me. I remember back in school when it would be exam time. The first thing I had to do before I could even think about sitting down to study was to de-clutter or tidy up my room. These days I marvel that my boys can seem to study with their rooms in such a mess.
I think a little de-cluttering can go a long way. While a whole Spring Cleaning day or closet overhaul might be fantastic, it isn’t always necessary. A little cleaning can go a long way. Think about where you spend your time most. How are those areas and how do they affect you? This time it was my small office. Last month it was my everyday purse that needed to be dumped and cleared. (It only took 5 minutes!) What about your car? Kitchen? Bedroom? I’ve posted here about the pantry clean out I did that made me feel oh so good!
Remember, it does not have to be a complete overhaul like my pantry. You can get a lot of bang for your buck with whatever time you have on hand – 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or whatever! Choose your spot, set a timer on your phone, and tackle one space at a time. There is scientific evidence that physical clutter can be overwhelming and can overwhelm our senses. It can be distracting and confusion and negatively affect performance. It distracts you and creates emotional confusion. It also negatively affects performance. I love this challenge because it gives immediate results.
If the thought of even giving 10 minutes to a particularly messy spot makes you freeze and if you feel stuck, check out this post by Gretchen Rubin on Myths of De-Cluttering.
Let me know your own tips!
Enjoy Your Day!