You’re at home. Your store is closed. Whether you live alone or you have a number of people who live with you that are also AT HOME, you’re probably learning a lot about yourself and those you live with now that you spend more time in the house.
If you’ve never worked from home before, then you are discovering that distractions are everywhere: laundry, meal prep, yard work, housecleaning, pets, family, and more. You might find focusing on your work is a monumental task because of all the “clutter” around you.
All the extra time at home may be the perfect time to work on clearing the clutter. The good news is that you have time, right? The bad news? This will be different from any spring cleaning you’ve done before because of all the closures, the daily LIVING in our homes, and trying to balance work-from-home. Luckily, we have a few ideas to help you.
Personal Space – Everyone needs privacy and a place to call our own on a normal day, but it’s vital in our current situation to enable the best possible sequestering we can. Even in the smallest of homes, there are ways to create individual space.
Even though my own house is under 1,000 square feet I turned a corner of my bedroom into an office while my husband is working from our unfinished garage. Both my children have their own rooms but as we don’t have technology in bedrooms, they have their school ‘offices’ in the living room with a monitor creating a makeshift wall to provide privacy and they can retreat to their rooms when tensions mount. The moral of the story is to get creative with your space! Bookcases and dressers make excellent walls, and moving furniture in unusual angles or plants to enhance privacy can make a big difference.
Mental Clutter – This clutter is hardest to see and often leads to the physical clutter in our lives. The clutter of our minds has overflowing inboxes, numerous calendars for various items, projects we’re wanting to start, and the remnants of our hectic busy lives before coronavirus. My advice is to start with the inbox.
Spend a few hours (or a day or two if your emails were like mine) and really make sense of what’s there. Unsubscribe to anything you no longer need or want, create folders for items you need to address immediately, emails you want to keep for reference, and emails you haven’t yet decided what to do with yet – delete everything else.
Next, empty everything you are keeping track of in your brain onto a document and streamline your calendars accordingly. I suggest sticking to one digital and one physical calendar. Notes to self, projects you’ve been contemplating and things to remember can be placed in one folder (physical or digital) to be checked monthly and pruned. Now that your mind has some room to actually think, you’ll feel more productive and enjoy more freedom in your day.
Thinning Physical Possessions – To be able to make your space work even better, spring cleaning and decluttering are ideal and you’ve got extra time to do it, so jump in! The first priority in the days of stay-home is how you will discard, donate or relocate your unwanted stuff because, without that plan in place, your clutter will end up merely being rearranged, not removed.
Call your local charities to find out which are able to accept drop-off donations and of what type. Call your garbage company to see if they can accommodate additional pickups or provide extra receptacles to dispose of your stuff. If you’re looking to donate large items - furniture, for example - Facebook, Craigslist, or your local Nextdoor are fantastic ways to find a match for your items (just be sure to disinfect your item and arrange the transfer within social distancing guidelines). And if all else fails, select one place in your home or garage that you will organize your discarded clutter in until you are able to fully remove it.
There has never been a better time to reassess and reorganize your life and priorities than during this extended pause. The stress in the unknown, the fear for our livelihoods and businesses, and the inability to anticipate the end of ‘shelter in place’ or what normal will look like after is palpable and real. When you embark on a decluttering of your personal life, you’ll feel in control of your circumstances and be able to find some fun along the way.
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Written By Kecia M. Lee, Certified Whole Person Life Coach and co-founder of Grace, Grit and Wit