If you search for visual clutter Google will give you 2 million hits. Obviously it’s a big thing.
I have looked at my countertops and surfaces for years, and the ebb and flow of the clutter. Where does it all come from? Why is it so hard to keep it away?
At times I just want to burn the whole place down just to not have to deal with it anymore. (Universe, that is NOT an order!)
Visual clutter makes me nervous, anxious and increases my stress level. Ironically it always grows when I’m nervous, anxious and stressed out.
Too much to do, full overwhelm and I scatter my belongings everywhere. Then I get stressed out about the stuff, and I clutter even more. Full vicious circle.
As I’m chasing my tail to keep it under control, I’ve looked at it more closely to see what it actually is about in my case:
- It’s a visual to-do list of things that need to be accomplished.
- It’s the result of the “I don’t have time” excuse and not putting things back in the place they belong.
- It’s indecisiveness – I don’t want to make a choice about the stuff.
Seeing these patterns clearly allows me to do something about them in the future.
Applying the 2 minute rule will eliminate a lot of point 1 and 2.
The 5 second rule will assist with the decision fatigue, as not making a choice is basically just procrastination.
I haven’t even bothered reading or watching all the tips and rules about minimizing visual clutter that you can find on YouTube and various websites.
What I did was a simple experiment.
I went into my living room and counted everything I could see from where I stood in the doorway. When I hit 200 I stopped counting and thought that this is ridiculous. Time to do something about this.
So I gathered all the items scattered around on the surfaces in one big box (Ok, I ended up with way more than one box). And I mean everything that wasn’t a big bulky furniture or electronic gadget that would have been a pain in the a.. to disconnect. So all the lamps, books, trinkets, plants…
Then I sat down and enjoyed the empty space for 5 minutes before quickly cleaning.
And then I spent time to choose what to put back into the room and where to put it. What do I need, and what do I enjoy looking at?
The rest found a home in a closet or drawer, or left the house.
It gave me the opportunity to look at my living room with new eyes. So very often we don’t even see the things surrounding us anymore. It all just merges into one big blob of noise.
Remove all the noise and you will be able to add the notes that together will play out the melody that is you. (Ok, pathetic should leave the house too)
Easy “how to remove the visual clutter” recipe
- Remove all loose items that you have gathered on all surfaces. And I mean everything. Plants, cushions, blankets, lamps, stuff, papers, candles. All that stays is furniture. If you are really brave, you can empty the whole room, even the furniture and then only add what you really want and use. Bonus points if you go that far.
- Now that the room is more spacious and all surfaces easily accessible, give them a good cleaning. This will be quickly done, and just that experience alone might keep you from cluttering it up.
- Now take a moment (or even a day) in your clean and spacious room. What do you desire it to look like? What purpose are the items in here designed to fulfill? Which activities will you enjoy in this room? The clearer you get on this, the easier it will be to create this.
- Carefully and with intent move items back into the room. Take as long as you need. If you are not sure, let’s just leave it all boxed up and add items as you need them. Whatever you haven’t needed or missed in 4 weeks is not adding value to your life and you can let it go if you wish.