Updated: Mar 23
It’s All About The…Clutter
I glanced at the dining table and was abruptly jerked back to a time when it had a clear job description and defined key performance indicators. To jog my memory, I consulted an online dictionary. Relieved, the definition there agreed: ‘a table, especially one seating several persons, where meals are served and eaten, especially the major or more formal meals.’
After months of rolling lockdowns, home education, working from home and other disruptions, dining tables across the globe have grounds to approach a union to lodge a complaint. The cluttered surfaces evidence dodgy dinner plates, abandoned coffee mugs beside sweet wrappers amid piles of papers, wires, cords and perhaps a lonely paint brush.
If you, like me, feel such disorder literally driving you gaga - then read on.
Accumulated clutter and disorder are villains. They may masquerade as “normal” innocents, and all the while their overwhelm drains your performance and productivity.
In his research, Dr Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, found that a cluttered home can be a stressful home. Getting to grips with our possessions and clutter significantly influences our wellbeing.
Tackling the clutter on your multi-tasking dining table, or home in general, can reduce stress. You may save time – instead of constantly passing papers from pile to pile searching frantically for an important report – you can lay your hand on it easily. Your work-at-home will feel less overwhelming without the disarray. Imagine the confidence of knowing exactly where to find everything in your home office, or office home.
Where to start? Declutter FIRST
Resist the urge to launch a massive spring clean operation with vim and vigour. One step at a time. Humble decluttering is usually underestimated and undervalued. It may seem counterintuitive, or the same thing, but decluttering and organising are different processes.
Decluttering – get rid of unnecessary, unused, unappreciated items (this may even include emails and WhatsApp messages).
Decluttering involves paring down by eliminating excess. Do not keep anything just because you think it does not eat! Remember – clutter steals time and opportunity.
After decluttering, what remains are the objects that support your success and ultimate career or life goals. When you hold an object or piece of paper, ask yourself, “Does this help me get where I’m going?”
There are various methods for decluttering – with a bit of research it is possible to find an approach that fits your style.
An organised space – virtual and physical - is one where ‘every item has a home’.
Create a simple storage solution system that works for and makes sense to you. Simple functionality is key! If you have done a ruthless declutter you may well find that having less to organise makes organising easier.
Still stuck? Think about hiring a professional organiser if you keep going in circles as you declutter and organise. If your budget is tight, find a friend who can help and keep you moving forward.
As we part ways – a life of purpose and intention may seem rather elusive under our pandemic reality. But this too shall pass.If you take up the challenge to sort that dining table now, then when the crisis is over – you will be ahead of the pack to reach for the goals and adventures you genuinely enjoy.