Whether it’s our desk space, apartment or car, we all have felt the effects of a cluttered space especially when it comes to our productivity. A cluttered space may cause feelings of being overwhelmed, unmotivated and sometimes downright stressed, because when things on the outside are in disarray, it’s easy to see how this becomes apparent on the inside too.
We have some simple ways for you to de-clutter your space and make room for efficiency and a clearer focus.
1. Give everything a home
We’ve all been guilty of using ‘the chair’, throwing our washed or only-worn-once clothing over the back of a lounge or chair that’s usually situated near our bedrooms. It’s like the halfway house between the wardrobe and the washing machine, and whilst we may think we’re decreasing the time it takes us to get ready in the morning or reducing space in our rooms, we’re simply spreading our mess from one space to the next and impacting on that room and everyone who enters into it.
It helps to have a home or a place for every item: the ones hung on the back of the chair, spread across the kitchen bench or on your car seats. If an item is floating around aimlessly, it’s automatically a distraction and an obvious ‘this-does-not-belong’ disruption to the area.
If you find that you can’t source a permanent home for it because it either doesn’t fit or doesn’t have an important enough purpose, then perhaps it belongs in the bin and it’s time for some culling.
2. Store it
Once you’ve done your culling, if you’ve rounded up all of the items that you’re set on keeping and they don’t have a specific home, consider looking into some storage space. This could be a free space such as your garage or a loaned space that you seek out and rent in your local area. If you don’t want to purchase external storage and you have the ability to make changes to your home, installing cabinets, benches and drawers in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom can save you a lot of free space and declutter all the table tops that currently host your things.
3. Create a more natural space
Think about incorporating natural elements such as sunlight, indoor plants and airflow into your space to create a more natural feel. In a 1989 study, NASA scientists found that indoor plants are extremely effective at reducing the harmful toxins in the air in confined spaces. They’re not just beneficial for your physical health, there are also various mental health benefits such as minimised stress and heightened productivity. An Exeter University study found that office employees with plants were 15% more productive than those with no plants as they improve concentration, increase productivity and boost employee well-being by 47%. Being around plants can also increase memory retention by up to 20%.
4. Digitally declutter
Whether it’s our email inbox full of spam and unread emails or our computer desktop with scattered documents, files and images, often our digital space also calls for a revamp and a declutter. Removing clutter can be critical to productivity and is as simple as removing old files onto an external hard drive, deleting images or offloading their storage to iCloud or creating a filing system where all documents have a place in a labelled folder. It’s also important that you regularly clear your recycle bin and your downloads folder, unsubscribe to emails you no longer wish to receive and set up ‘auto archive.’
Important: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. Consider the appropriateness of the information in regard to your circumstances.