Standing in the doorway, I picked my way through the boxes that held my former office’s belongings, trying to reach my new desk. I’d moved in one day, so had just tossed everything into a box and dumped it somewhere amongst the remains of the former employee who used to call that her office. It quickly became clear I needed to declutter.
Now, you may not have moved offices but that doesn’t mean your office or home doesn’t need to be decluttered. One thing I’ve recently learned is that organized and decluttered are not interchangeable.
Take my former office as an example. Everything had a place. It was organized. But when I had to pack it all up, I realized how much stuff I had tucked away that I didn’t need. It was cluttered. And if I’m being honest, my house is the same way.
Why is this important? Clutter can lead to stress or anxiety. Not only physical clutter, but calendar clutter and digital clutter. Have you ever tried to find that one photo you took and now need amongst the 8,000 on your phone? Wondered how you were going to fit in dinner between all the commitments on your calendar? Surely, I can’t be alone in this. .
I really started taking this seriously when I stumbled onto the book “Declutter Like a Mother” last year. I love this book because it doesn’t try and force me into a predetermined system, but guided me to create something that worked for me and my family. I took “Declutter Like a Mother” challenge the author, Allie Casazza, held the first week in January and noticed the difference in high use areas like my bathroom counter and the cupboard of glasses.
One thing Casazza says is, “Clutter is an unmade decision.” I’ve realized how true that is as I’ve come across notepads, cups, chip clips, and other things I’ve picked up and didn’t know what to do with, so I tossed them in a drawer or cabinet. While the clutter is hidden, it’s still here, just waiting to fall out of an overstuffed cabinet.
It can be overwhelming to start the decluttering process. Take it one drawer at a time. Get rid of what you don’t need. Donate, sell or trash it. Set a deadline. Then just start. Once it’s decluttered, then you can organize the items left, the ones you truly need. As you work, keep the reason for this process at the forefront of your mind. Clutter leads to stress, and farming is stressful enough. If there is something we can do to cut the level of stress, don’t we owe it to ourselves and our family to do that?
Decluttering is a continuous process because we are always bringing things in. How many hats, pens and koozies do you have from farm shows and production meetings? Do you really use them all, or are they just taking up valuable space? Is your office full of records you need to keep, but don’t have to be stacked on the floor around you? Are you really going to read that stack of catalogs that’s several years old?
Changing habits can help. I used to come home from trade shows with bags of stuff. Now, I may pick up one or two things. I’m working on my office, my car, my house and yes, even my pocketbook, to cull the clutter and cut the stress and anxiety all that stuff brings with it.