Reduce Clutter, Reduce Stress

September marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It is a great time to get organized and simplify your life. The goal is twofold: One, to reduce some of the exhaustion that we face from juggling too many things at once. Two: to create enough time so that we can enjoy life without feeling guilty that something is being overlooked, which only adds stress to our already stressed-out lives.

Try these tips for reducing the clutter of paper and other things in your house. To streamline the paper clutter, try sorting your mail as soon as you walk into the house. Immediately put junk mail into the recycling bin. Put catalogs and magazines directly into the rooms where they can be leisurely read. Place all other mail (bills, correspondences) into an "in" basket that you can sort through during the week. Then, either respond to the piece of mail, file it, or throw it out.

Instead of trying to consolidate, rearrange, or organize your things, just try to get rid of them whenever possible to reduce the other clutter in your house. Start by going through your house, room by room. Toss anything that you don't need or haven't used in the last few years. This is especially true of clothing. Get rid of all the clothing that used to fit when you were younger, thinner, etc.

Try to change the way that you think about the process of reducing clutter: Instead of seeing it as losing something, try to view it as gaining time for more important things in life. Reducing the chaos in our day-to-day experiences provides us with the time and the where-withal to generate the physical, emotional, and spiritual energies to find pleasure and meaning in life. Let me know about your experience! Best of luck.

Gayle D. Crespy, Psy.D., Program Director