One key aspect of living a simple life is creating a space free of clutter and an energizing work environment. Research has shown that a cluttered space has negative effects on your brain, stress level, creativity and energy. On the other hand, an organized space increases work productivity. People accumulate clutter for a number of reasons – the thought that you may need it later, sentimental value, having spent money on it, etc. It is important to evaluate your surroundings before engaging in academic tasks. For example, having a messy desk leads to unclear thinking and loss of focus by creating distraction. De-cluttering through the simple steps outlined below will enable you to think more clearly, feel more energized and increase your ability to focus.
- Take inventory of areas that are cluttered. Remove all the items and consider each item. Purge things that you do not absolutely need or genuinely cherish. Consider donating items that are still in good condition.
- Use storage containers (or any kind of reusable cardboard box) for remaining items. This helps keep visual clutter to a minimum.
- Organize drawers. Give every item a specific place. This step will make things easier to find and more likely to be put back.
- Do not leave clothes, shoes or papers scattered about. Put things in their identified place the first time and you won’t waste time searching for items later.
- Make your bed every morning. It only takes two minutes out of your day, but will make your environment appear more organized. You will definitely appreciate it after coming back to your room after a long day. It also makes the bed less inviting for impromptu procrastination naps.
- Take out your garbage on a regular basis. Identify a schedule so that trash doesn’t build up, overflow the receptacle and potentially lead to ants.
- Vacuum, sweep and dust weekly.
- Before you go to bed, take five minutes to tidy up your room. Doing a little each day makes cleaning and organizing less of a hassle and is a good way to destress before bed.
- Wash dishes immediately after you use them. A pile of dirty dishes can seem draining to your energy, since set-in grime takes longer (and more scrubbing) to clean.
Joshua Becker, founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, tweeted, “Happiness is not found in owning as many possessions as possible. It is found living life consistent with your values and passions.” If you try the ideas above or have other tips to share let us know using #EtownSimplified. Stay tuned for our next column on organizing your closet!