De-cluttering: A tool to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Stress

This is about the time I start thinking about spring cleaning and actually de-cluttering, which is a step beyond the cleaning. Spring cleaning means many things to people; however, de-cluttering is the tool I’ve used to reduce and manage my stress, and at times, prevent some stress. What is “de-cluttering”?

First, de-cluttering is more than spring cleaning. Most people focus on the “stuff” they have at their home or office to spring clean: books, clothes, CDs, tapes (yes, cassette tapes, which I discovered I had several hundred and finally cleaned those out), old sheets, towels, socks without a partner or holes in them, you get the picture. It’s cleaning out “stuff” to get more physical space. Recently, I cleaned out and donated 8 boxes (office size boxes) of “stuff”.  I went through my closets and drawers and really did a number on what to keep and what to clean out. And when I was done, it was an amazing sense of lightness I experienced. De-cluttering goes one step beyond this.

When I think about the concept of wellness, there are many areas of wellness that exist: social, spiritual, financial, physical, mental, emotional, environmental, etc.  De-cluttering is about going through each one of these areas and performing a deep cleaning of sorts. What do I mean by deep cleaning? I remember when a friend of mine hired a cleaning company  she told me that the first visit from the cleaners was nearly 4 hours (4 hours! Who does that!?!?!) She explained to me that the cleaners told her that the first session is about the deep cleaning: getting into the nooks and crannies of the person’s home and cleaning all these out.  Cleaning sessions after this are then usually easier and designed to prevent additional deeper cleanings.  This was an interesting concept to me, as I have applied something similar with de-cluttering. I first do a deep cleaning in the area I am focusing upon (let’s say social), and then subsequent cleanings in the area are not so intense. It’s usually the first time that something is more difficult and challenging.  And there are many factors that influence how my de-cluttering sessions go on an emotional, cognitive, and physical level.

This is what the de-cluttering tool is about, a deep cleaning of sorts. For today, start thinking about a specific area you may want to de-clutter and I’ll talk more about how to do this (and how others have done this) in the next post. If you want me to focus on something specific, let me know!

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