When you work from home, you need to have a space that is free from clutter, where you are free to do your best work. You don’t want to be hindered by ‘stuff’ getting in your way and distracting you from your goals. It’s important that your work space is clean and tidy, and distinctly a ‘work’ space.
Sometimes when people work from home their personal lives blend into their work lives, resulting in a lack of distinction between work and life. While this doesn’t bother everyone if it does bother you, you’ll need to consider how you can create a dedicated work space, that is free from clutter.
In my view, physical clutter leads to mental clutter, so working in a cluttered home may not be as productive as it could be. Decluttering your office is important so you can be at your working best.
I was prompted to write this post because I recently bought some new furniture. We have an open-plan home which is lovely, but when you’re a neat freak like me it means you can see every bit of ‘stuff’ from wherever you are. Combine that with a lack of storage and I felt like we were in a mess all the time. How can I sit down to work when I’m surrounded with ‘stuff’ that distracts me from my tasks?
So … the new furniture prompted a major clean up!
This was a take no prisoners type situation. The kids got involved and we were ruthless!
I wanted to share with you how we went about our declutter fest. We decided that for the things that no longer had a place in our home, there were four possibilities for it. We could:
- sell it
- donate it
- give it away
- bin it
Our philosophy has always been that we like to re-house or re-use things whenever possible, so that was a good starting point.
1 Sell some of your things online
For anything that is still in good condition that you want to recoup some money on, selling your items online is great. Particularly with larger items that can be difficult to get rid of. I know I’ve sold quite a few larger items on eBay and it’s been wonderful because I haven’t been able to remove them by myself. I once sold a TV that wasn’t working because I knew that someone who knew what they were doing would know how to fix it. Of course, I was very explicit in my advertisement that the TV was not working! The person got themselves a bargain and was easily able to fix it, which turned out to be his business – buying and reselling TVs and computers.
I’ve also sold furniture for token amounts of money, more so that someone can pick it up and take it away for me. They are happy with their bargain purchase and I’m happy that it doesn’t take up space anymore!
2 Donate to charity
Speak with your local charity store to see what items that they will take, and how you can get them there
Remember that when you donate your things to charities, make sure they are in beautiful condition. Always launder and fold clothes, clean up your home wares and only donate things that are worthy of being sold in a store or gifted to someone who needs it. Broken items, toys with parts missing, or clothes that are worn out really are for the rubbish bin. Charity stores are usually managed by volunteers, and they need to sift through many items. Much of what is donated is junk, and the charity needs to arrange for the disposal of items that are not good enough to be sold, often at a cost.
3 Give to friends and family
Consider who you know that might like your things.
I know when it comes to kids things that our boys have outgrown, we have plenty of friends who can use their old toys. We also have a charity that supports women with young kids who are going through difficult times, so all of the clothes that are still in beautiful condition go to them, together with other necessities and things they might like.
This time around our reighbour has scored himself some very cool toys to play with and enjoy.
4 Throw it away
For those items that you cannot sell, donate or re-home, a hard rubbish collection is always a good way to go.
Organise a hard rubbish collection in advance. If you know you’ve got lots of junk, call your local Council for a hard rubbish collection. If you set the date in advance, then you’ll be motivated to ensure that you remove all of your unwanted large items by the date you’ve set.
This time around for us we didn’t need to throw much away, only a couple of small pieces of furniture that were well-worn and beyond repair.
Decluttering tips and tricks
I recommend taking it one step at a time. It’s about getting your mind into the right space to genuinely either remove stuff you don’t need, or organise it in a way that’s meaningful to you.
It’s good to start with one room, or one section of a room, that is manageable. You might even start with a set of drawers, or a wardrobe. Don’t skimp though – do each section properly. You can write a list of all the rooms you want to declutter, and the sections within those rooms you want to declutter. Work through the list but pick the things that you feel can conquer at that time. Sometimes you’ll want to go hard and attack a whole room. Other times you may only be up for a cupboard. When you finish an item on the list, just stop. That’s your achievement for that moment. You’ve conquered that section, and on another day you’ll choose another section or room.
When it comes to clothes, only keep the things that you wear regularly. If you haven’t worn an item of clothing for a year or more, you can do without it. You could use the Oprah technique, where you hang your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction that you would normally hang them. After you’ve worn an item, hang it in to the wardrobe with the hanger facing the correct direction. That will give you a very clear indication over a period which clothes you can easily discard. You can apply this same technique to other areas in your home, such as cleaners, toys, linen, tools, and hobbies.
Another way to declutter is to choose one item every day to give away. If you did this for a year, you’d get rid of 365 things you no longer need. It can be less daunting than attempting to declutter an entire house, however it may take you a long time to reach your end goal.
No matter how you choose to get started, the goal is to take your first step with enthusiasm behind it. You will feel so much better when you are free from clutter. There is freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you start is up to you, the important bit is making a start.
Ways to unclutter your mind
To unclutter your mind, in my view you need to declutter your physical environment. Clutter bombards your mind with unnecessary stimuli that distracts you. It also creates the perception that there is always something else that needs to be done, which can be mentally exhausting. You will be amazed how much better you feel mentally when you have decluttered your space.
Keeping a journal and writing lists can also help to unclutter your mind. You don’t need to remember everything. Sometimes once you’ve written it down or captured it somewhere electronically, you can ‘let it go’ and get on with what you need to.
Let go of old emotional clutter that weighs you down. Sometimes you just need to discard old memories that don’t help you in your life. It could be memories of past friendships, relationships, grievances and hurt feelings. We all have this mental clutter, and I’m not suggesting in any way that memories aren’t important or that we should be less emotional, but when things bring us down and prevent us from being our best, we do need to let it go. Take the learning, and move on. Remove the mental clutter from the past that doesn’t help our future.
Limiting our time on social media is also important to reduce the amount of clutter we let in. A good way to do this is to set a limit for ourselves on how much time we spend on social media that is not work related. I am also going through a phase of unsubscribing to things that don’t add value to me anymore. If it doesn’t need to be in my inbox, then unsubscribe. Some of us also have multiple social media channels we follow, and closing down a few accounts may be a good way to reduce the information coming in.
I’m making a commitment to myself that 2019 will be my most productive year for my online business yet. One of the ways I hope to achieve that is by decluttering my physical space and my mind so that I can work with precision and clarity.
What will you do to be the best you can be for a great 2019?