Cut The Crap: 5 Simple Ways to Start Decluttering

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It can be so hard to keep things tidy and minimal when you're in the midst of a multi-tasking tornado, but clutter doesn't have to get the best of us. There are a few quick and easy ways— that any of us can do— to keep it at bay.

There has been research showing that clutter not only affects our physical space, but our mental space as well. It can lead to more stress, depression, and lack of focus. So I say let's make this easy and take quick and effective steps to cut the crap— starting now!

Designated Outbox: Set up a permanent basket, box, or bag by your front door to toss things that need to go. Make it part of your decor so that it's part of your daily life and doesn't just look like a messy cardboard chore lurking in the corner, sending accusing looks at you. Try emptying it once a week or at least twice a month.

Clean As You Cook: Somehow a messy kitchen with a pile of dishes is always the first stop on the ride on the messy train. Never go to bed with a sink full of dishes. Waking up to dirty dishes just sets you starting your day off wrong. Also, try to clean up as you cook so that when dinner is done you don't turn around to more work and can end your night on a good note.

Sort Mail Immediately: I am guilty as charged when it comes to piles of mail in various places that "I'll get to later." My new workflow is: pick up mail; open it over the recycle bin; put bills in a designated bill cubby; and feel good while doing it.

Tidy Up 10 Minutes a Day: You can split this up into two five-minute chunks or a full ten. Quickly shuffle through your house (preferably at the end of the day) and put away all those little things that you took out, opened, or tossed on the couch throughout the day. This way you can reset your home each evening and start fresh each morning.

Refocus Your Energy: A long time ago I heard someone say, 'it takes just as much energy to be messy and it does to be clean" and it always stuck with me. It makes total sense: when you're messy you are just delaying the energy it will take to clean it up instead of doing it immediately. I find that, when I clean as I go, I'm much happier and rest so much better without 'to do's' weighing on my mind, or seeing guilt-ridden piles of stuff.

So, try it out. Take a week and make an effort to really focus on these small decluttering tips throughout the day and see how you feel at the end of it. Good luck!

(Image credits: Julia Brenner)