Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Clutter Bugs... Worse than Bed Bugs.

Yesterday, I gave a corporate workshop on how to De-Clutter your Space, Mind + Body. It's one of my favorite topics to speak about because making positive changes in any of these areas can have a profound effect on all areas of our well-being.

Most people think about physical objects when they hear the word clutter but unwanted habits, emotions and thoughts can also be clutter. People (negative relationships), food and even body fat can be clutter.

I know you have all heard the saying “We are what we eat.”  Although what we eat has a huge bearing on our health, it’s not the only factor.  As Dr. Isaac Eliaz said in an article for the Hufffington Post earlier this year:

We are all products of our environments, and vice versa, since the environments we create reflect and affect our physical, mental and emotional health.  When life becomes messy or disorderly, our physical as well as mental/emotional health can also get muddled and we become less energetic and less efficient.
Accumulating and living with clutter can actually affect your mental and physical health.  Yikes!  So how do we get rid of the clutter bugs???

Below are some of my favorite tips for De-Cluttering/Detoxing your space, mind + body:


Create 4 piles:

1.   Keep things you love and get enjoyment from, things you use and/or need. Set a time frame for things in this category that need repair, mending, dry cleaning, etc… If it doesn’t get done in that time frame, these items should get moved to one of the other 3 piles!
2.   Toss anything that is broken and can’t be repaired, anything you were saving in case you “needed” it or anything you discovered that you didn’t even know you had
3.   Donate things in good condition but that are no longer in use or that you no longer LOVE or need
4.   Give Away things that you know someone else in your life will get enjoyment from. Make sure it’s really something they will Love or something they need or will use. Don’t just pass clutter around!

Some things to consider when making your decision about an item…
  • If you saw it in a store today, would you invest in it?
  • Does it bring you joy?
  • Do you still use it… often?
  • Exceptions: Off-season clothing or shoes and items with sentimental value: ex. Your winter coat, wedding dress.

  • Don’t handle things more than once. Every time you touch something it should go to its proper home. This goes for when you are clearing the clutter for the first time and for everyday maintenance
  • Re-evaluate often. Our feelings about objects evolves
  • When making purchases, invest only in things that you LOVE and can’t live without
  • Tidy 10: Take 10 minutes each morning to clean the surfaces in at least the bathroom and kitchen. Take 10 minutes to put things back where they belong at the end of the day.
  • Resist the urge to fill up the open space you create.
  • Go paperless. Sign up for electronic billing. Use the paperkarma app to reduce junk mail.
  • Cyber Clutter- Open and read emails or social media messages ONLY if you have time to respond to them at that moment. Otherwise, the action steps that need to be taken as a result of that email message, or even just the mere fact that you just have to reply at a later time, become mental clutter.  *This is my favorite tip.  It was truly life-changing for me!


1.  Invest in experiences and not material items.
2. When considering whether to keep an object or not, consider the energy you are exhausting by holding on to it and then consider what you could do with the energy if you had it back.
3. Breathing is a simple form of meditation. Try any of these simple breathing exercises.
4. Journaling- Before bed, write down all of your thoughts in a journal or notebook. They don’t have to make sense, just write whatever comes to mind until you can’t think of anything else to write. Putting your thoughts on paper helps to signal to your brain that it’s OK to let go of them. This will silence your mind in preparation for a sound night of sleep.


1. De-clutter your diet. Instead of focusing on the foods you should NOT be eating (sugar laden foods, processed foods, candy, soda, etc…) concentrate on introducing IN high quality, nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, greens and whole grains
2. Introduce at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity as many days as possible. Start with a 20 minute walk 3 times a week if that’s all you can manage and then work your way up.
3. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.  Click here for some tips for better sleep. 
Clearing the clutter bugs can be overwhelming so start small... pick 1 room, 1 closet or even 1 shelf and then put one (some or all) of these tips into action and notice how you feel.   But be careful... when you have de-cluttered a space, what do you think your natural instinct is? You want to fill that space right up again! Resist the urge.  Once you have taken the positive step of de-cluttering, live with the open space. Try it on for size, enjoy it, appreciate it. See what changes in your mind and body as a result. 

Have a Happy + Health Day!

*Photo Credits: Google Images + Pinterest


  1. this is awesome! i definitely need to try decluttering my kitchen table!!! and i want to try the email tip - not to open/read it unless i can respond right then. thanks K!

  2. Great tips! I definitely need to work on de-cluterring my desk and keeping it organizing. So many magazine tears! :)