So you think you have it all together. Your home is clean and organized, your desk is efficient and functional, and everything in your home or office has a place. Does this mean you have NO CLUTTER? Not necessarily.
One of the definitions of clutter is: “a disorderly heap or assemblage”. This can be interpreted as many things, but one we tend to overlook is the clutter of people, places, and events in our lives that can be disorderly and cause us confusion and stress. In order to take a good look at the clutter in your life, and find out how to get it under control, let’s start by identifying who and what makes up the clutter in your life.
Get a pad of paper, a comfy spot and maybe a cup of coffee (or glass of wine). Start by making a list of the following categories:
- Stressful Events
Within each of these categories, you may find things that are cluttering up your life, and making it disorderly and stressful. Do an honest evaluation of each item, and list everything you can think of – positive and negative – that might full under that heading. For example:
Work – Describe your job, what you do every day. The things you like, and the things you dislike. Things you wish you could change, and things you never will. Make a whole laundry list that covers everything you can think of relating to your job.
Friends – List the people in your life that you consider friends. Are there some people who bring you down constantly with negativity and drama? Are there some who lift you up every day with positive thoughts and support? Perhaps there are people that you wish you could be closer to, but just haven’t found a way or the time. List them all here.
Finances – Write down everything that falls under this heading – good and bad. Maybe you have a great savings plan at work, or an IRA that you’ve contributed to for 20 years. You might also have a huge student loan hanging over your head. Break down all of the financial things in your life and describe them on this part of the list.
By taking a good honest look at all of the areas of your life, you will be opening your eyes to things you haven’t thought about. Look for patterns of negativity and stress. Perhaps there are people in your family who cross over into several categories – work and finances. Maybe you have a car that’s causing you more problems that you can handle, and it’s strapping you financially, as well.
Writing things down is a great way to ‘verbalize’ what you have only kept in your head. Seeing it on paper helps make it real, and gives you a reference point to start addressing the clutter in your life. In the next article, we’re going to find out how to start eliminating the clutter from your life – by getting rid of things, and yes, people, who do not bring anything positive to your life!