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New Year Zen: Cut the Clutter for a Stress-Free 2014

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 10:42am | by Helen Hoart

Perhaps it is the sense of having a clean slate to work with that makes the new year feel so promising. If one of your 2014 resolutions is to clear away the clutter, you may be on to something that is psychologically sound, reports Web MD. Clutter equals stress. Not only does a cluttered environment cause you to spend more time searching for things, but it also makes it difficult to relax.

If you've ever been to a spa you know how simple the setting is. A treatment room may consist of nothing more than a massage table, flickering candles and soft music. The reason for that is simple: The less visual clutter there is, the easier it is for your mind and body to relax.

Living abundantly has less to do with how much stuff you are surrounded by and more with finding clarity and contentment in your life, says Abundance Organizing, a Richmond-area business. According to the company, conditions such as ADHD, anxiety and depression can impact a person's ability to accomplish his goals, making an organized environment even more vital.

Make a Plan for the Big Items

If decluttering your home or business includes getting rid of large items, schedule a rental service like Next Day Dumpsters. Having a dumpster within in tossing range as you're ridding your basement and garage of items makes the process that much easier.

Make a list of all those items that still have life left in them, like furniture, electronics and kitchenware. Call your favorite charitable organization and schedule a pick-up. Just knowing that your old stuff will be of value to someone in need will give you peace of mind.

Don't Overwhelm Yourself

Decluttering your home—and your life—does not have to be accomplished in one day. In fact, it's the sheer volume of the job that causes so many people to procrastinate. Schedule time, whether it's 15 minutes a day or four hours each weekend, to work on the project. Cleaning out one drawer at a time may feel a like a drop in the bucket, but it moves you toward your goal and can reward you with a great sense of accomplishment.

The "One In, Two Out" Rule

Zen Habits recommends implementing a rule: Any time you bring an item into your home or workspace, you must throw or give away two other items. If it helps, start slow by throwing out things you know you don't need, like old receipts. Work your way up to larger items.

When the Clutter Is a Person

It is natural to want to hold on to what you know—including people who are familiar to you. There will be times in your life, though, when an unhealthy relationship becomes clutter in your life; a mess you have to work around. Psych Central suggests that you learn to make yourself a priority, even if it is a new concept to you. Find ways to be kind to yourself. If one of the ways to be kind is to cut someone out of your life, find the courage to do it. If you need help from someone you trust to make the break, ask them to back you up.

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