4 surprising things about clutter

Thinking of joining the legions who promised themselves they would get more organized this year? Here is some food for thought as you embark on your journey.

1. Clutter is seriously pissing us off.

According to a recent study done by UC Berkley professors and their students, 250 megabytes of information is generated each year for every man, woman and child on earth. That’s roughly equivalent to 30 FEET of books per person. On top of that, close to 200,000 new products hit the shelves last year. This constant barrage of information and stuff leads to higher levels of cardiovascular stress, impaired judgment, and a noticeable drop in civility to others. The study was done on adults, but I’m quite certain that clutter overload has the same kind of impact on our kids. They may like making a mess, but living in one? I’m guessing not so much.

2. Clutter is robbing us of our precious time.

According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the average American wastes up to one hour per day searching for missing information they know they have but just don’t know where. That translates to seven hours a week, a little over a day a month, or two weeks a year – a mind boggling statistic in a world where every second counts. Seriously, what would you do with that extra hour?

3. Retail clutter is causing an epidemic of ‘organizational inertia.’

Organizational inertia occurs when our capacity to process stimuli is overwhelmed and we become paralyzed, unable to solve the clutter problem. When you think you need to find the “perfect” container before you can get to organizing, or buy a shredder before getting rid of junk mail (ahem, you have hands that can rrrriiippp paper), you’ve got a full-blown case of inertia. And it affects many more people than you might think. In a recent survey conducted by Buttoned Up, 80% of women agreed that the most difficult part of getting organized was knowing where and how to start.

4. The way to beat clutter: spend less time organizing.

I call this approach “imperfect organization,” and I know it may sound counter-intuitive at first. But it works. It means doing one little thing every day, rather than waiting until some glorious day where you have four or five hours to tackle clutter. As moms, let’s face it, that day won’t come until the kids are in college (and by then you’ll be busy doing something else). It also means working to good enough organizational goals, not trying to replicate some “org porn” standard that is totally unrealistic.

So above all, if decluttering is your goal – go easy on yourself! And if you need to get a jump-start on your organizing, come join in the Buttoned Up Kickstart Boot Campbeginning February 1st.