Clutter – the silent stressor
Stress may be the greatest contributor to ageing. So much so, that it can even effect our DNA, yikes! I’m getting stressed out, just thinking about how to not get stressed! Maybe I should just stop thinking. But hard to do when I see so much stuff to deal with. Too much clutter can be a complex web of decisions for your brain to deal with.
Visual clutter, is stressful. When you need to find something quickly, you need to use your brain and mentally consider everything else that’s in the way. Every item that you move out of the way, you handle and consider it. Instead of seeing the thing you were looking for, and moving on with your day immediately. You may even stop what you’re looking for and start dealing with that thing that you just had to move, which also reduces the time for your original purpose, thus adding stress.
Most of those things, you don’t even need, or haven’t used in forever-and-a-day.
At work, I kept my desk practically empty — except for the computer and computer screen. When it came to documents, I always requested soft versus hard copies. But when I was absent from my desk, people would be so nice as to print out hard copies and drop them off on my desk. This resulted in me recycling the paper. Ya, pretty rude of me. But some hard-copies were unnecessary, and harder to decipher than electronic versions, like unfiltered spreadsheets. Others in the proximity would see me ‘file’ spreadsheets, and would even ‘warn’ others to not drop anything off on my desk. People assumed I was being environmental. I do care about the environment…and my desk is one environment that I care about.
I never lost anything on my desk, cabinet, or in my computer. Everything’s empty, or extremely minimal. I typically received of over 50 emails a day, but my inbox was usually under 10 emails at any one point. Every hour, I would decide whether emails are urgent, and file in 5 different sub-folders. The urgent ones remained in my email. At home, same thing.
Some call me a minimalist, but austere might be better. Both work and home are practically empty.
Any new item that is added, means that at least one item leaves as hand-me-downs or donations. I also keep books to a minimum. They’re electronic, or not at all. It was tougher to get rid of school books, but I realised that was just a status symbol and some books like my Black’s Law Dictionary, was like a trophy. Like some sort of accomplishment, not for me, but for others to see — like they even care! I feel confident that the knowledge in textbooks are in my head – I might not find the knowledge right away (since too much other clutter in the brain), but it’s there. I read those books after all, didn’t I? And things evolve. Better keep current through the web and updated electronic books, rather than old information in old books.
I do, however, have a weak spot for magazines and they are tougher to get rid of. So just leave at the gym, others will definitely appreciate them. I only kept the aesthetically appealing magazines, that adds visual value to my environment. Unfortunately they are somehow becoming a permanent item. I’m working on it, I’m working on it! (yelling at me, not you)
Having a simplistic uncluttered environment, can be peaceful, inspiring, and feel like a clean slate every day.
Do a test and see how much better you feel, and when you’re feeling stressed again…take 10 minutes to deal with the immediate visual distractions.