Reclaim Your Day—Be a Clutter Buster, part 4

January 25, 2013 by Paul Chappell

drowning-in-paperwork

If I had a nickel for every time I have to push past rarely-worn clothes in my closet…I wouldn’t have very many nickels. And that is by conviction. (That is, by a conviction about not having a cluttered closet, not by conviction about not owning many nickels. I have no conviction against owning nickels.)

In the previous three posts of this clutter buster series, we’ve seen the benefits of decluttering our hearts, minds, and schedules. In this final post, we look at decluttering our movements.

Yes, our movements.

Perhaps you’ve never considered your daily movements as potential clutter. Undoubtedly, some of them are.

The way I see it, every thirty seconds of wasted time accumulates. What time in your day might you regain if you decluttered your life by simplifying your routines?

In search of the waste

All of us have redundant movements we make every day. Or at least regularly.

We make the bed, pull clothes from the closet, feed the dog, pick up our keys, etc.

But what if our daily movements include repeatedly restacking the same papers on our desk? Searching for our missing checkbook? Going through six dry pens in search of a working one? Or stashing cotton balls back in the medicine cabinet every time we open it to pull out a Band-Aid?

Over the course of a year, those wasted moments accumulate. What time might we reclaim if we targeted our unnecessary repetitive actions and streamlined them?

The cost of storage

There is a cost for hoarding stuff, and usually that cost is time. Decluttering your stuff simplifies your movements. Fewer movements saves you wasted time and energy.

Where does physical clutter tend to accumulate for you? Closet? Garage? Desk? Tools? Junk drawer?

Look for the things you do every day that can be decluttered to free your time to get more done.

Operation simplify

There are a few essential skills you must develop to live a clutter-free life:

  • Decision making—Often we allow stuff to hang around just because we don’t know what to do with it. Becoming decisive allows us to immediately deal with emails, mail, books, etc. the first time we touch them.
  • Filing—I refuse to spend significant portions of time shuffling and reshuffling through papers that could have just as easily been filed and then quickly retrieved.
  • Freedom from things—There are a few items in all of our lives that are justified in having sentimental value. But if you have trouble throwing anything away—just because it could maybe be useful some day—then you have a genuine bondage to things!
  • Personal discipline—When it really comes down to it, the baseline of living without clutter is living by your mother’s axiom: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

So here’s your challenge for today: find one area of your life—physical or electronic—that continually attracts clutter, and declutter that one area. Your day will be fuller because of it. Better yet, tomorrow will be freer.

Decluttering your routines allows you to obey Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Earlier posts in this series:


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