Guest Guru: Barbara Tako – Clear Your Clutter & Free Your Mind

Clear Your Clutter & Free Your Mind

By Barbara Tako, author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life and the website

External clutter in our lives can add to internal clutter and stress in our heads. It may seem mundane to spend time weeding out household clutter, and yet it can be a cleansing process that purges mental clutter and frees us up to move on. Consider these reasons to clear clutter followed by three basic techniques to weed out clutter to free up time and energy for your priorities.

Think about the thoughts that weigh us down. “Shoulds” create guilt. Guilt wears people down. It sucks the life right out of us. Sometimes it takes less energy to weed out than to think about and worry about weeding out. Clear clutter to have more energy.

Clutter takes up space. How can a new venture or hobby enter a life, if the space is already full of old clutter? Clear clutter to free up space. Create potential. This allows room for new things to come into our lives.

Clutter eats up time. It take time and energy to store, maintain, and pay for excess stuff. It wastes time to hunt through this stuff when we are looking for something we can’t find. “I know it’s here somewhere. Just give me a minute.” Clear clutter to free up time for your priorities.

Emotional clutter eats at us. Sometimes things remind people of bad moments in their lives. An example would be a gift from someone from a relationship that later ended badly. We don’t need stuff to hang around in our lives and beat us up for something in the past. Clear clutter to toss emotional baggage.

Finally, clear clutter to enjoy peace and order. It can be hard to maintain inner calm when faced with outer disorder and clutter. Our homes can be relaxing, rejuvenating, and restoring places. Our homes can enhance our focus rather than diminish it. You deserve and can achieve greater peace and order by clearing clutter.

Are you feeling motivated to weed out clutter? Keep in mind there is no one right way to clear clutter. We all have different personalities, life stages, and perspectives on things. The techniques below can be tweaked to fit your way of doing things!

The 3-box method:

This clutter clearing method has been around for years. It works best when you have a large block of time, preferably a whole day or even a weekend. Get three large cardboard boxes, perhaps the kind that hold reams of printer paper or the kind shopping warehouse stores or liquor stores have around. Systematically go from room to room and sort into the three boxes: one box for trash/recycle, one box for donations/items to sell, one box for stuff you find in one room that belongs in a different room (yes, use this box rather than running to the other room so you will stay on task). If you choose, add a fourth box. This box is the “maybe” box for items you aren’t sure you are ready to part with. Put today’s date on the “maybe” box and decide how long you will let the contents age–perhaps 6 months or a year? At the end of that time, if you have survived without the contents somehow, donate the “maybe” box to your charity of choice.

The piece method:

This technique is for busy people who can’t create large blocks of time to deal with their household clutter. With this technique, you whittle away at your clutter for as little as ten or fifteen minutes of time per day, or you limit yourself to tackling a small amount of space per organizing session, perhaps one shelf or one drawer at a crack. Try to use this technique three to five times per week to stay on top of household clutter. You really can make significant progress this way.

The as-you-go method:

I created this technique to make clearing clutter and staying organized into a life habit. With this technique, you can get in the habit to look for clutter as you move about your usual household activities. If you open a drawer in the bathroom, remove the stuff you never use–any expired medicines, the samples that come in the mail that no one has ever used…If you open a kitchen cupboard to get a cup for coffee, quickly donate the extra mugs that have been cluttering up your cupboard space. How many mugs do you have in how many styles? If that many people actually all stopped by at once, wouldn’t you probably use disposables? Make it a habit to look for outgrown items in your space and regularly sell or donate them.

Whatever method(s) you choose, these techniques could help make your home into a more clutter-free space that becomes a calm haven that can restore and energize you. The goal isn’t to achieve a magazine-cover home “perfection.” The goal is to free up your time and energy and create a home that supports you.

Barbara Tako has been a motivational clutter clearing and home organizing speaker and author since 1998. She provides clutter clearing and home organizing tips to women’s groups, church groups, and businesses including corporate giants like 3M, Target, Medtronic, and Securian. Her book Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life(O Books, Jan., 2010) is available wherever books are sold. Sign up for her FREE monthly clutter clearing tips e-mail newsletter here.

If you liked this post, stay tuned! Barbara has agreed to share excepts from her book that she has graciously agreed to giveaway! So come back to to win your copy!