Today, I’m having a clean up and a clear out. Or rather, I am procrastinating by writing a blog post about clearing up and clearing out! But I will get round to it today – honestly! Because I’ve heard it said a million times that a tidy desk/kitchen/home leads to a tidy mind and I could really do with going into the new year (and lets face it, just next week…) with a more restful mind and a better ability to cope with all the things that life and work throws at me! It’s a well-documented truism that clutter in your environment can contribute to an equally disorganised and disturbed mental attitude. Let’s face it, if my workspace is messy surely I’ll be less productive and if my home is untidy I’ll find it harder to relax during my time off while thinking of all the chores I need to do! Whether it’s the product of a lazy few days or the result of months of ‘to-do’s piling up, I think we’ll all feel better for tackling the clutter face-on and tidying up our spaces.
It’s basically a smoothing over of your life and therefore it will cleanse your mind too and make you feel considerably more relaxed and free – or at least that’s what I’m hoping will happen when I set to work on my massive tidy-up this week! I’ve previously written about decluttering your wardrobe to save you time and money and similarly a clear-up of your home will be equally beneficial to you. I’m not talking about cleaning here – even the most untidy homes can be clean and likewise the cleanest homes can be untidy, so what I’m really focussing on are tips for improving your living and working spaces so that you can start the new year afresh and be better able to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2014.
Workspace – When was the last time you saw your desk under all those piles of paperwork or craft materials? Workspaces always start out clean and efficient, but gradually gather stacks of books, unfinished projects and other odds and ends that don’t have anywhere else to live. I’m not asking you to put away all your work, as that will stop you completing tasks altogether but I’m suggesting that you clear everything off the desk and keep the things that you need in an organised way. Storing papers and magazines in files is an easy way to keep similar documents together and store them upright so that they are easy to access rather than being at the bottom of a pile. You don’t need to spend out on costly office storage solutions – simply cut the tops off cereal boxes, cover them in wrapping paper or newspaper and stick a label on the side so that you can easily see what the contents are at a glance. Standing these files on a shelf above your workspace will save you space on the desk and means that you can assess related should be moved on elsewhere. Next time that you go to sit at your workspace to organise your finances or make a piece of artwork, you’ll have a clear desk to work on and everything you need will be to hand, which will inevitably speed up the process and help you to be more productive.
Storage space – As useful as alcoves, cupboards and under-stair spaces are for stashing clutter out of the way, just shifting items from one place to another, albeit hidden, place is just a detrimental to your peace of mind as having the clutter strewn about the house. Just because you can’t see it, it’s still there, and in this instance ‘out of sight, out of mind’ certainly does not apply! So tackling these storage spaces by clearing out and boxing up will not only keep the space tidy, but it will give your mind one less thing to quietly worry about. The only way to sort out these havens of mess is to drag it all out – yes, I know this will make your home more untidy to start with, but you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve got and can make informed decisions about what to store in the future. If you’ve not used something for a while, ask yourself why not and if the answers are anything along the lines of ‘I don’t need it / like it / it’s broken’ then the item can go. If you can give it away to someone who will use it, that’s great, or if it’s broken perhaps you can recycle the parts. If something is in good condition, you can always sell it and perhaps make a little extra cash for the new year. Either way, you’ll have made some space and the items that you are keeping can be packed away in neat boxes or baskets before putting them back in your storage spaces. Doing a belongings audit like this each year will ensure you don’t hoard things that are unneeded or unloved and will free up space in your cupboards and your mind.
Children’s rooms – If you’ve got little ones in your household, you’ll know how difficult it is to keep their mess contained to one area. If they are old enough to have their own room, why not give them the responsibility of keeping it tidy, which will be another thing off your mind if you don’t have to worry about their mess too! With older children, simply providing them with the means to keep it tidy will encourage them to stay organised – so perhaps you can invest in a cheap cabin bed for your kids bedroom which has space for storage or a grown-up desk beneath the bed. If children believe that they are being treated in a grown-up way, they will feel more include to take that responsibility for their own room!
Living space – You may well prefer a cluttered living space, after all trinkets and special belongings make a room look homely. But there’s a reason why show-houses are always clear, with a few items on display – it makes the space look larger and visitors instantly relax because their eyes aren’t resting on something that needs clearing away. So if you find that your home is making you a little stressed out when you glance around the room, try taking away a few of the items on your sideboard or shelves and you might find that will be enough to allow you to better relax in your space time. Again, pass on or sell things you don’t need any more, or create a feature display of your favourite items and rotate this with other special pieces for a new look each season, storing those that you’re not currently displaying in your now spacious closets and cupboards! This will allow you to enjoy your favourite items because they won’t be hidden behind the clutter of other bits and pieces.
I hope you’ll have a go implementing these tips in January to start off the new year in a tidy home and free your mind to think about other more important things, such as entertaining guests in your newly tidy home!