For the past few weeks we’ve been exploring ways to get organized at home. Sometimes I feel like I need to declutter my life, too — do you know what I mean? How can we create more space and time for the things that really matter?
Here are some thoughts and strategies:
1. Set digital boundaries.
Does your brain ever feel fried after looking at screens all day? The average U.S. worker now spends four hours a day answering e-mails. Couple this with computer work plus time online visiting social media and news sites, and it’s easy to spend the majority of our days online or tied to our phones.
Here are three experiments you could try: Have everyone unplug and put devices away during family meals. Vow not to check your email in the evenings. (Nothing good ever comes in a late-night email!) And designate Sundays — or another day that works for you — as digital vacation days.
2. Schedule unplanned days.
A busy friend recently told me, “Sometimes I feel like I’m hurrying from one event to the next, not really enjoying any of them.” I have weeks like that, too — do you? If I schedule too many back-to-back events and meetings, I begin to feel burned out.
It helps me to block out a couple of open days every week in the calendar, so I have breathing room to recover from one thing to the next.
3. Sell some things.
I think of this strategy as the trifecta of simplifying at home. If we sell things we no longer use, we reduce clutter, which cuts down on cleaning time. We earn cash that we can use to invest or pay off debt, which makes us feel more secure. And when others don’t have to buy new things, we reduce consumption of our earth’s resources while keeping things out of landfill. WIN-WIN-WIN!
I like NextDoor.com for selling home items, and eBay for things like jewelry and collectibles. Look around your house, and you may find an unused treasure that someone else would love to purchase.
4. Buy less.
Many of us feel like we already have too much stuff. So what if our default position is that we will always try every other alternative before we spend our hard-earned money on more things? We’ll borrow from a friend. We’ll rent. We’ll see if someone is giving away the item. We’ll make do with what we have. We’ll wait. We’ll get by without it.
5. Practice saying “Not now.”
People are going to ask us to do lots of things, from volunteering, to getting involved in causes, to attending candle parties. It’s hard to say no, but if we want to have balance and be effective we need to be selective.
It’s far too easy to get overextended, so we may need to practice simply responding, “I’m sorry; I can’t do it this time.” Or buy some time to make a thoughtful decision by saying, “Let me check my calendar and other commitments, and get back to you.”
How About You?
Are you feeling balanced these days, or do you wish you had more time and space? Do you have any strategies to add to this list? I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
If you’re looking for more ways to minimize stress, you might also enjoy this article from the archives, “18 Ways to Simplify Your Finances.”
Here’s to making space for the things that truly matter.
Grateful thanks to Roberto Nickson for use of the lovely image above.