5 Ways to Reduce Clutter

This is a guest post by James Adams

Even if you are generally a neat person, clutter can tend to build up around the best of us almost automatically and certainly uncannily. Besides its obvious organizational problems, clutter is rumored to also have a number of psychological effects on us. It is said that clutter makes it harder to focus or work on things that matter to us. Even in only slightly cluttered environments, the bare minimum of mess can lead to a more confusing, distracting life than necessary. Here are a few other ways clutter can reduce your productivity whether in the office or at home.

5 Ways Clutter Can Affect Your Productivity

1. Lost in the Shuffle

An increase in the clutter usually means an increase in losing important things in it. Besides keys and wallets, important papers and receipts are some of the first things to go. When you have to spend time sifting through the clutter to find the things you need, productive minutes and hours are lost.

2. Reduced Work Space

The more space you reserve for clutter, the less space you can use to work in. In the best case scenario you will feel slightly more cramped, and in the worst case scenario you won’t be able to find a free square foot to rest your elbows. Both work and clutter take space. It’s up to you to decide which is more deserving.

3. Stress

Many people admit that a cluttered house or office does nothing to take away from the stress level in their life and, in fact, may add to it. Some people say that stress stems from clutter, and others insist that clutter comes from stress. Either way, they are closely related, and cutting down on one may just help to cut down on the other.

4. Mañana, mañana

Clutter is well known to be a source of serious procrastination, and this can take place in a number of ways. For some, clutter can divide their attention between pressing work and pressing housework. For others, clutter puts more interesting things into their line of vision than the work at hand. However it happens, clutter simply does not motivate you to work hard.

5. Downer

Besides all the technical and scientific aspects of clutter and its physical effects on your work habits, clutter can be a real mood killer. Having to step over piles of junk, static, flotsam, and jetsam just to maneuver around your own personal space can provoke frustration and drain enthusiasm, bringing on bouts of depression and low energy.

Better just to get rid of it. Here are five ways to help you cut down on the clutter in your environment and keep your life tidier and more organized.


5 Tips for Reducing Clutter

1. Cubbyhole It

Divide your clutter up into main categories and designate a certain specific location for each category. Papers can be filed out of sight. Jewelry can be put into the jewelry drawer. Have a shelf to keep all your books in an easily remembered order, and a good, deep bin for the trash. Don’t be afraid to throw things out that you no longer need.

2. Begin Small

If the clutter in your house is overwhelming and just the thought of taking care of it all makes you light-headed, consider devoting just five or ten minutes to whittling it down a bit today. Then, do the same tomorrow. Repeat as needed until, as if by magic, your house slowly but surely turns into a haven of peace and organization once again.

3. Storage

Although storage is considered in many circles to be just another form of clutter, if you can’t bring yourself to throw something out, having it out of sight and in a box is much better than keeping it on your desk beside a pile of gum wrappers. Use the attic and the garage to store your clutter – that’s what they’re for – and keep your personal spaces tidy.

4. Ask for Help

If you are no organizational expert, get someone who is to come in and give you a few suggestions. Your more organized friends will probably consider it an honor to be invited over in a professional advisory capacity and many will probably even enjoy helping you through the process.

5. Keep it Up!

Getting rid of clutter is a lifetime process. The only way to keep it down for good is to keep at it.


James works at Spares Next Day, one of the top suppliers of vacuum bags in the UK.

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