These past few weeks I have been doing a lot of organizational work in classrooms. One of the big things I have been tackling is visual clutter. Everywhere you look there is “stuff”. Stuff on counter tops, stuff all over the teachers’ desks, stuff hanging out of bins – you get the picture.
We have had conversations about not having out material that you are not using this week, having designated containers for different types of paper (homework turned in, homework graded, administration paperwork), corralling all supplies and only having out what is needed now.
I try to get across that all of the visual clutter will cause stress and lack of focus.
The same is true of our homes and offices. Just sitting in a cluttered room can cause stress. There is too much to look at so you can’t focus. There are too many things out that are reminders of tasks you have to finish (or even begin). It is also a reminder of how much work you’ve got to do if you want your house or office clean.
Even if you box things up and stick them in the closet, garage, or attic, you know they are there. Several years ago, I finally got up in my attic and attacked all the boxes of papers (all old and mostly archival) hiding up there. After clearing out old bills, tax documentation (over 7 years old) and some memorabilia, I felt mush lighter. The figurative weight of all that paper had been bothering me even though I could not see it. Now, every year I look through that paper in the attic and get rid of even more.
Clutter that is lying about is usually deferred decisions. It’s easier to put something down “just for now” than to make a decision about what action is needed and follow through. So when that daily influx of mail comes in, immediately toss and put into the shred box the obvious. Then at lease once a week, deal with the remainder.
Then take the time to zone by zone go through your home and declutter your space.
Make your home/office/classroom a decluttered space. You will find it very centering and calming.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer