Sunday, June 1, 2014

How much does clutter affect you?

Clutter can be a killer – literally. The amount of clutter you have – physical, social, financial and emotional can take a huge toll on your life and how you live it. According to Ranka Burzan of SOS (Solutions Organizing and Simple), we need to understand the following:

  • Container companies make it easier for us to keep a mountain of things we don’t like or use. You just have to contain and label everything and your clutter problem is solved. The clutter problem is not resolved – it’s just shifted to a different area of your home.
  • It is estimated that people lose 15-20% of their annual income due to procrastination and avoidance in making decisions about the way we live and function.
  • Unfortunately, this is true. Having too much clutter is suffocating and can stifle productivity. Where there is too much “stuff” it becomes hard to think clearly and work effectively. According to a fact sheet by the Self-Storage Association, Studies show that over 89.6% of all American households currently rent a self-storage unit. This includes individuals with homes that have extra spare bedrooms and garages, attached or detached. With so many sizes and options available, it is easy to ignore the real problem of having too much clutter, instead choosing to continue to gather and collect unnecessary items.

How does clutter accumulate?

 Our society dictates an environment of entitlement. We as individuals see things that we want, and start collecting items. Some of them may be for sentimental reasons, or because you spent a certain amount of money on it so you don’t feel the need to part with it even if you haven’t used it in a long time. We hold on to things with the plan of “eventually” using the item, even if that is not an option.

How does it affect you?

Too much clutter impacts task performance and increases stress. Physical clutter has been linked to an overload of senses, which impairs the ability to think creatively and creates a stressful environment. Even when you use social media, that sound of an email or message arriving consistently fights for your attention. The increase in digital clutter is growing by leaps and bounds, especially since the flow of information is so great.

Finding a medium between all the stressors that clutter creates will be beneficial in getting some relief. Here are a few tips to assess whether or not clutter is negatively affecting you:

  • When you walk into a room, are things so disorganized that you don’t want to be in there?
  • Do you dread cleaning up the disorganization?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail or things that you have to do on a daily basis?
  • Do you have a storage facility that you haven’t cleaned out in over a year?

If the answer to even one of these questions is yes, it’s time to reassess and re-prioritize to get some of these things off your plate and get rid of the chaos. Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally is priority one.


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