Home should be a place that comforts and reenergizes you, not a source of anxiety. The cause of this stress can sometimes be the piles of stuff cluttering our homes, which interrupts our productivity and stresses us the F out.
When you are trying to accomplish something, it is easy to get sidetracked by cluttered surfaces that are vying for your attention: unopened mail on the kitchen counter, dirty dishes from breakfast on the dining room table, tools that never got returned to the basement, yesterday’s jeans left on the dresser because you’re hoping to squeeze one more wear out of them. All of these things are fighting for your attention, which results in you feeling stressed out simply by walking from one room to the next. You end up forsaking your original task in favor of getting comfy on the couch to check Facebook and zone the hell out.
By decluttering your surfaces, you invite a sense of calm and order to your home. This results in you feeling at peace and arms you with the focus to conquer whichever task comes your way.
My first Teeny Tidy Task challenge to you is this: clear one of the cluttered surfaces in your home and keep it clean and tidy for one week. Here are five steps to make it happen:
1. CHOOSING A SURFACE
Time to choose a surface, the messier the better. Here are some clutter magnets you might consider: the top of the dresser, the kitchen island, the bedside table, the desk if you’re brave enough, the coffee table, the top of a bookshelf, the kitchen counter, the shelves in your bathroom, your kid’s toy shelf, the top of your refrigerator, etc. Choose a spot that you can manage to keep clean for an entire week.
2. EVERY ITEM NEEDS A HOME
Find a home for every item cluttering your space. Depending on which surface you choose, this step could take some time.
If you picked your dresser because you let your dirty clothes pile up there, then you need to focus on changing your habit and take the time to put the clothes where they belong at the end of the day.
If you chose your kitchen counter, then you need to be militant about getting those dishes cleaned (or at least put into the sink temporarily) and get creative about where you are going to store the appliances taking up your precious counter space.
If you chose your desk, you might have a lot of papers to sort and bills to pay and you’ll need to come up with a plan to avoid letting those things accumulate in the future.
3. Clean YOUR SPACE
Time to break out the cleaning supplies and clean the crap out of whatever area you chose. Don’t do a half ass job here. Make it look gorgeous so that you aren’t tempted to dirty it up anytime soon.
4. The Joy of an EMPTY SPACE
Consider leaving your surface completely blank. If you know having a lamp and a framed photo will bring you great joy, then go for it. Just don’t over do it.
Certain items are necessary, but you might be surprised by what isn’t. Maybe you have an alarm clock but you only ever use the alarm on your phone. Try storing the alarm clock down in the basement and see if you miss it. We forget to question why we keep things like this simply because they have always been there. Question every item that you want to keep on your surface so that you are left with only things you love or are very useful.
5. DEFEND YOUR CLEARED SURFACE WITH YOUR LIFE
Embrace your inner neat freak and keep that space meticulously clean and tidy. If someone in your home dares to clutter up this precious space, deal with it right away and put that crap anywhere else but there.
This is where the magic happens. As you go through your week, notice how you feel when you see that tidied area in your home. The calmness that ensues from these empty spaces is one of my greatest joys. Okay, that’s a little much, but damn if it doesn’t feel great.