“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.” — John Kabat-Zinn
It is summer here in New Zealand, and even though I have “officially” been back at work for a few weeks, the warm, humid evenings that stretch on for hours make it feel like it is very much still holiday season. That said however, I have found that instead of sitting around enjoying the sun, I am itching to embark on my next big de-cluttering project.
I’ve already started a bit of de-cluttering this season, beginning with my big New Year’s Eve clean up. I love hitting the New Year with all of the Christmas decorations packed away and the house clean and tidy. It feels like I am creating space for all of the things the New Year will bring.
In my latest book 21 Hacks to ROCK your Life, Hack #4 is called “Clear the Clutter!” as there is a definite correlation between physical clutter and sensory distraction which can lead to procrastination and overwhelm. These two bad boys are exactly what you want to avoid when you have New Year’s dreams and goals that you want to achieve! They are also the reason why I feel that it is time to tackle the next few hotspots in my home. (You can read an excerpt from my book where I talk about the connection between physical and mental clutter in the blog post on my Cat Coluccio site called “Reduce Stuff to Reduce Overwhelm!”)
I’ll be tackling some different areas of clutter this time instead of having to re-tackle the same places I have worked on previously. This is because I have learned the art of simplifying my life through some key daily habits that have helped me maintain those areas. I thought that I would share these habits with you so that you too can live your life more simply and clutter free.
1.Put things away when you’re finished with them. So simple, yet so effective. How much time do you waste looking for things that haven’t been returned to their rightful place?
2.Declutter one drawer or cupboard each day. Just doing one small area a day can make such a difference over the course of a week! Doing this means that you can be tackling a new area needing de-cluttering, or maintaining an area that you have already sorted, without the overwhelm of thinking you need hours to get into it.
3.Spend 15 minutes tidying your house each night. Doing this ritual in the lounge room and kitchen makes a HUGE difference to how I feel the next morning, and is something that I have done now for years. As I mainly work from home, stepping into these clutter-free rooms of a morning means that my mind is clear so that I can begin my work with no distractions. It also means that I don’t have that panicked feeling of my house being a tip when an unexpected visitor comes down the driveway!
4.Get ready for work the night before. This is another habit that both my husband and I have followed for years, and the earlier that you start your day, the more critical this habit becomes. Have your work clothes and shoes ready, have your gym bag, lunch, water bottle, books and paperwork all ready to be grabbed on your way out the door. There is nothing worse that wasting precious seconds looking for matching socks when you are meant to be on the road in 5 minute’s time!
5.Take 15 minutes every Sunday to review your upcoming week’s appointments. I personally do this in a paper planner as I find that the act of writing helps me internalise the appointments better. I will also later add these appointments to my online calendar. The weekends that I don’t follow this simple habit, without fail lead to weeks where I am scrambling to fit everything in.
6.Colour block your appointments. Again, using my paper planner, I grab my coloured pencils and colour my appointment times. I have a key to the colours that I use, and this act allows me an instant visual guide of where I am putting most of my energy for that week.
I’d love to hear what de-cluttering and simplifying projects you are embarking on this year! Please do leave a comment, or join me in the FREE Rocking Midlife group where I will be issuing a de-cluttering challenge very soon!