How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)
How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)
- 1 How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)
- 2 How to Declutter Your Life
- 3 How to Declutter Your Work Area
- 4 How to Declutter Your Home
- 5 How to Maintain Order over the Long-Term
- 6 The Bottom Line
- 7 More Articles About Decluttering
- 8 How to Feel Inspired When You’ve Lost Motivation
- 9 1. Connecting the Dots
- 10 2. Allowing Your Environment to Predetermine Your Mood
- 11 3. Don’t Work So Hard
- 12 How To : Stop the Itch! 12 Quick Household Remedies for Relieving Itchy Bug Bites & Stings
- 13 Why Do Bug Bites & Stings Itch?
- 14 What Store-Bought Cures Are There?
- 15 What About Remedies from Home?
- 16 #1: Apply Heat to the Itch
- 17 #2: Cool Down the Itch Site
- 18 #3: Soak the Itch in Baking Soda
- 19 #4: Coat the Itch with Oatmeal
- 20 #5: Apply Mud to the Itch
- 21 #6: Soothe the Itch with Honey
- 22 #7: Fight the Itch (Infection) With Fruit
- 23 #8: Dull the Itch with Rubbing Alcohol
- 24 #9: Neutralize the Itch with Vinegar
- 25 #10: Rid the Itch with an ‘X’
- 26 #11: Distract Your Brain from the Itch
- 27 #12: Again, Refrain from Scratching That Itch
- 28 Prevention Can Also Help with Bug Bites
Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site. Read full profile
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Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress and can affect every facet of your life: from the time it takes you to do things to your finances and your overall enjoyment of life. Clutter can distract you, weigh you down and in general it invites chaos into your life.
Tackling the clutter can seem an insurmountable task if you don’t know where or how to start. By devoting a little of your time to getting rid of the clutter in your life and maintaining things relatively clutter-free, you’ll reap the rewards of pleasing living areas, reduced stress, and a more organized and productive existence.
The best way to declutter your home, your work space and your life is to take things one small step at a time. Combined, small steps will lead to big improvements that will be easier to maintain over the long-run.
Here is a blueprint of how to declutter your life and enjoy a less stressful life:
Table of Contents
How to Declutter Your Life
Decluttering your life is essential to mental peace and calmness, so it’s important not to neglect this area.
1. Reduce your commitments
Often times, our lives are too clutterd with all of the things that we need to do at home, work, school, in our religious or civic lives, with friends and family, with hobbies, and so on.
Take a look at each area of your life and write down all of your commitments. Seeing it all written down can be quite an eye-opening experience as well as overwhelming. From here, look at each one and decide whether it really brings you joy and value, and if it is worth the amount of time that you invest in it.
Another way to reduce your commitments is to identify a few that you truly love and get rid of the rest.
Learn how to say no and decline offers. If you eliminate the things that don’t bring you joy or value, you’ll have more time for the things that you love.
2. Reconsider your routines
Many of us do not have any set routines in our daily lives and simply tackle our obligations, chores and daily tasks haphazardly. Without structure, it can lead to chaotic days and a drop in productivity.
Batch tasks together. Instead of doing your laundry several times throughout the week, do it all on one day.
It’s helpful to write down all of your weekly and daily obligations, chores, and tasks, and then plan out daily and weekly routines. Hang it up where you can see it and try to follow it. You might find that having a routine brings a new sense of calm and order to your life.
Here’re some routines you can learn from:
3. Declutter your friendships
It may sound cruel but as you grow up, you’d realize some people are meant to stay in your life longer while others are not. While you should spend more time with positive people, people who help you grow and make you feel happy; you should get rid of toxic people who only drain your energy.
Take a look at this guide on how to declutter friends: The Harsh but Honest Truth About Friendship Decluttering
How to Declutter Your Work Area
If you want to be more productive and focused in your work, getting the clutter out of your work area is essential.
4. Start with your desk
Clear everything off the top of it and take everything out of the drawers.
Assemble the items in piles on the floor. Clean and wipe down your desk and marvel at how pretty and clean it looks.
Sort through all of the “stuff” that was both in and on your desk. Toss out as much as possible a relatively small amount.
Once you’ve weeded things out, it’s time to sort through the remains:
Set up a basic alphabetical filing system with a folder for each project or client. Keep your office supplies and other items in designated drawers.
If you need to, label things, but the main thing you should do is designate a spot for every item you decided to keep and make sure that it stays there, or goes back there when you’re done using it.
Keep flat surfaces clear, and have an inbox for all incoming papers. When the papers come in, sort them each day – toss, delegate, do immediately, or file simply file all documents, but whatever you do, DO NOT KEEP THEM ON TOP OF YOUR DESK.
All you want on the surface of your desk is your phone, computer, inbox, and maybe a special photo in addition to the documents you are working with at the moment.
5. Declutter your computer
Get rid of files and programs
on your computer that you don’t need.
Get rid of most or all of the icons on your desktop. They not only slow down your computer, but also create visual clutter. There are better ways of accessing your information.
Regularly purge old, unused files. If organization is not your thing, utilize a program such as Google Desktop to search for your files when you need them.
6. Then move on to information
In the digital world of today, there are so many different ways that information creeps into our lives.
Information in itself can become overwhelming when you have too much of it, and this is called information clutter. Instead of letting information take over your life, set limits.
Reduce the number of things that you read each day and get rid of things from your RSS feed. Chuck those magazine subscriptions and reduce your consumption of news and television.
I’m not suggesting that you cut yourself off from the world, just that setting some boundaries will help.
Instead of letting information, even the kind that friends share on Facebook, take over your life, control how and when you receive it by limiting what you read.
How to Declutter Your Home
Outside of work, home is where many of a bulk of our time. So it’s no wonder that a messy house can add to daily stress.
7. Simplify your rooms
If your rooms are too cluttered, you’ll want to simplify them.
Start by clearing off anything that is on the floors. Throw out or donate unused things.
After clearing the floor, move to flat surfaces such as countertops, shelves, tops of dressers, etc. Clear them as much as possible, and then move onto furniture.
Consider if you need everything. Sort things in piles – toss, donate, or keep.
Organize everything that you’ve decided to keep into drawers, cabinets, and closets, keeping them out of sight, but still neatly organized and uncluttered. Do this one room at a time.
8. Tackle the closets
Closets are a great place to store things that you don’t want out in the open, and can easily become a place where you shove things just to keep them out of view.
Go through your closets – take everything out, clean it, and toss, donate as much as you can. Decide a specific place to store anything you decide to keep. Keep only the things that you love and use frequently. As for your clothes, get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in six months.
9. Clean out your drawers
Drawers are prime place for things to get shoved into.
Empty out your drawers, and sorting them by whether you’re keeping, tossing, or donating them.
If you have difficulty deciding what to toss and what to keep, this One Question Can Help You Successfully Declutter Anything.
How to Maintain Order over the Long-Term
Once you’ve successfully decluttered, whether it be one area or all the areas mentioned above, clutter will inevitably begin to creep back into your life. You must be vigilant in weeding it out on a regular basis, or it will just take over your life again:
10. Set up a system to keep clutter in check.
Examine the way that you do things and how things make their way into your life, and consider whether you can put together a simple system for everything, from your laundry to work projects and email.
Write down your systems step-by-step and try to follow them as best as you can. Follow your systems and you’ll keep the clutter minimized.
11. Don’t slack off.
It’s easy to put things off for another day, but it’ll save you headaches in the long-run if you deal with things immediately.
Throw it out, donate it, or keep it and put it in a designated area.
The Bottom Line
When you stay consistent and stick to these decluttering tips closely, you will find yourself less stressful and a lot happier as you’re surrounded by a lot less clutter.
Start today and start small. Begin with cleaning up stuff on your work area and then move on to different aspects of your life and get organized!
More Articles About Decluttering
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Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.
Trending in Lifestyle
Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.
Trending in Lifestyle
How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster
One Question to Help You Successfully Declutter Anything
The Harsh but Honest Truth About Friendship Decluttering
How Clutter Drains Your Brain (and What You Can Do About It)
Last Updated on April 22, 2020
How to Feel Inspired When You’ve Lost Motivation
Hulbert writes about motivation, doing whatever he can to help put people in a position to create a better life for themselves. Read full profile
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Some days you wake up and right when you are going to begin your work, you feel a presence within you that stops you from doing so. You sit down, but you sit down quietly this time. Suddenly, that feeling where you once were so passionate and energized to take action just isn’t there anymore. You try to hype yourself up but it’s not working, and everything you do seems to be counterintuitive. You face the truth. You don’t want to work today and you don’t feel motivated to do anything but just escape. Without this motivation, you feel a little hopeless, lost, and stuck.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. If you’re not a hundred percent passionate about your work, then it’s impossible to wake up everyday feeling motivated when you wake up. You might compare it to the ocean. Sometimes you’ll wake up feeling like a tsunami, other time you’ll feel like just barely drifting to shore. When you feel like drifting to the shore, understand that it doesn’t always have to feel like there’s no hope. You can still feel inspired when you feel like giving up.
1. Connecting the Dots
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” –Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs at a Stanford commencement speech said that giving this speech the students was the closest thing he came to graduating college. He’s never finished college. He recalls that the working class savings that his parents had made their entire life was being spent on his tuition on a college he says was as almost as expensive as Stanford. After 6 months, he couldn’t see the value in it and dropped out. Not knowing where to go in life, he decided to take a class in calligraphy. He, however, didn’t see any practical application for it in life.
Ten years later, they were designing the first Macintosh computer, and it all came back to him. He used the ideas that he had learned in calligraphy class, including the different types of typography, and put it in the Mac. It was the first computer to have beautiful typography, which has affected the different types of typography that we use today. If he had never dropped out in collage, he would have never taken that calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do today.
Sometimes when you’re trying to reach a goal, it’s impossible to connect the dots where you currently are. Somehow you just have to trust in yourself, and have faith that you will reach your dreams, despite not having the slightest clue or perfectly laid out road to where you are going. Nobody can connect the dots looking forward; you only can connect them when you’re looking backwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future; you have to trust in something, whether it’s karma or destiny, but trusting yourself is the first step towards feeling inspired and having the motivation to move forward.
2. Allowing Your Environment to Predetermine Your Mood
“There is a direct correlation between an increased sphere of comfort and getting what you want.” –Timothy Ferriss
Tim Ferriss has always advocated the idea of using your environment to your advantage. He believes that controlling your environment is often much more effective than relying on self discipline. He finds that he writes the best between the hours of midnight and 1 AM to 3 to 4 in the morning. As he is writing, he will put a movie in the background so it will feel like he is in a social environment, even though the entire movie is on mute. Next to him may be a glass of tea. This is what puts him in the mood to do quality writing and make him so successful.
Look around your room right now or your workspace. Does it inspire you? Does it give you motivation? Is it noisy or quiet? Sometimes the hardest thing we do to ourselves is try to force ourselves to work in an area that is subconsciously telling us, “I can’t work here.”
And when you are constantly trying to discipline yourself, you will feel worse and be less productive. Instead try to build your ideal workplace and ideal time. Free it from distractions. Perhaps add a piece of artwork or a quote of your favorite person nearby you on the wall. Maybe add a beautiful plant in the corner to give you inspiration. If you feel more energy and enthusiasm during the night, schedule your day to work at midnight if you can. If you can realize the power of having a productive environment, you will naturally feel inspired and motivated to get work done.
3. Don’t Work So Hard
“Research now seems to indicate that one hour of inner action is worth seven hours of out-in-the-world action. Think about that. You’re working too hard.” –Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield was once giving a speech to an audience. He tells of a story of a chiropractor who went into his dream city, near Pebble Beach, and asked chiropractor associate if they could hire them. They told him no because they had 1 chiropractor for every 8 patients. Instead of letting his external reality which was out of his control determine his future, he went back to visualize and think about it, and something would come to him. He put a pen in his new office one day, and put concentric circles that he needed to go ask people in town that he was opening up a new chiropractor office and if they were interested in joining.
Over 6 months he knocked on 12,500 doors, talked to 6,500 people, and gathered over 4000 names to the people who wanted to go to his open house. He opened his chiropractor in a town he was told there was too many chiropractor. In his first month in practice, he netted $72,000. In his first year in practice his gross income was over a million in income.
Now you may look at this and say knocking on 12,500 doors is hard work. To you it is, but to the man it was probably effortless. Jack Canfield says there are 2 types of action – outer and inner. Outer action is actually going out to do the action – whether it’s networking with people, going door-to-door to make a sale, or just writing at home. Inner action is other things like visualization, meditation, and affirmations.
If you’re trying to force your way into taking action, it could be a sign that you are working too hard. Most people won’t wake up and waste an hour visualizing, meditating, or affirming, and the first thing they think about is asking what do I need to do today? And when they get the answer, they feel miserable, as if their work suddenly weighs them down. But Canfield says that if you spend time to focus on your goals, you’ll receive good feelings – feelings that help you feel inspired and motivated to take real action.
Don’t try to paddle upstream. That’s just basically going everyday saying to yourself that you need to force yourself to work every day. Instead, paddle along the stream of the river. Trust yourself, let your environment work in your favor, and spend some a little bit of time putting yourself in a state before you work. Inspiration will come to you from different ways – inside and out – and give you the motivation to guide yourself towards reaching your dreams.
How To : Stop the Itch! 12 Quick Household Remedies for Relieving Itchy Bug Bites & Stings
With warm weather comes bugs, and with bugs come bites, and with bites come itches. From ticks and spiders to mosquitoes and bees, insect bites come in sundry shapes and sizes, but they all commonly pull an itchy, red reaction out of our bodies.
Once a bite fires up our immune system, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a nagging itch we’re seriously aching to scratch – even though we well know we shouldn’t. But what can we do? How can we resist this insistent, vexing sensation? Fortunately, there are a number of simple, DIY remedies we can try, and here we’ll look closer at a dozen.
Why Do Bug Bites & Stings Itch?
It all goes back to the immune system and its valiant effort to rid our bodies of infection. When a mosquito or other insect pricks our skin, it leaves behind saliva or a bit of venom that is immediately identified as an invader. In response to the bite, our bodies release histamines (a type of protein) to signal that there’s something not cool going on. In turn, lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) rush to the infected area, expanding and multiplying, and consequently irritating all the nerves around them, resulting in . an itch. Dermatologist Neal B. Shultz explains:
Itching is a low-grade form of pain. The mosquito (or bug) is injecting a material into your skin that causes inflammation, which is redness, swelling, tenderness and heat. That then becomes an itch. The body’s natural reaction to the bite is to release histamine, a compound that signals an allergic reaction, which causes itching.
And there you have it. So now that we know why we’re itching, let’s delve into what we can do to alleviate our impulse to scratch. Note that any kind of scratching will only prolong the misery as doing so creates openings in your (protective) skin, giving way to bacteria and possible further infection. So remember always: Don’t scratch!
What Store-Bought Cures Are There?
As said, the release of histamines gets the ball rolling when it comes to bug bite reactions, which is why antihistamines are a consistently recommended treatment. You can get a topical antihistamine (like Benadryl cream or lotion) at your local pharmacy, big-box store, or supermarket. You can also try hydrocortisone anti-itch creams such as Cortizone 10 or Gold Bond.
Cortisol, more commonly known as hydrocortisone, is a hormonal steroid that basically stimulates anti-inflammatory or anti-irritant devices in your body, helping to ease the sensation of the itch.
What About Remedies from Home?
If you don’t want to run to the store or are looking for something more natural (and right now!) to assuage your itch, you’re in luck as remedies could be as close as your kitchen cupboard, freezer, or backyard.
#1: Apply Heat to the Itch
Heat causes histamines to disperse all at once, freeing you of their concentrated focus on the infected area. You can easily apply heat using a warm washcloth, with a hot coffee mug, by running warm tap water over the itch, or taking a hot shower or bath. Even a hair dryer will work.
The downside to the heat method is that it’s only a temporary fix. By dispersing the histamines all at once, the itch may come back even stronger since your system now thinks it has to send back more proteins to the bite location. After some time, the histamine production will restart, and your itch will resume to itch.
#2: Cool Down the Itch Site
Similar to heat therapy, a cold pack or a cube of ice can also take the itch out of bites. If you don’t have an ice pack, you can always get creative by holding a cold glass of water to the bite area or even some ice pops (like Otter Pops).
The drop in temperature will slow the production of blood cells in the infected site and also numb the nerves, so the itching sensation will almost immediately stop. Cold is actually a better approach than heat because rather than dispersing the histamine proteins, it simply causes the body to produce less.
#3: Soak the Itch in Baking Soda
If you have a ton of bites (sorry about that!), soaking in a baking soda bath might be your best option. Being alkaline, the bicarbonate of soda will help neutralize pH levels at the infected site(s). To do so, add about a cup of baking soda to a tub of warm water, hop in, and relax for 30 minutes to an hour.
If you don’t need a full-body soak, you can make a paste to selectively apply instead. Mix two parts baking soda with one part water and stir until a paste forms, then apply to the itch.
#4: Coat the Itch with Oatmeal
If you’ve ever been to a spa, you might have gotten a nice oatmeal face treatment. Commonly used in pricey lotions and face washes, oatmeal has a bunch of surprising benefits (beyond making yummy cookies). While it may not look very appealing, the rolled oats actually do wonders for the skin.
The fats in oatmeal help moisturize the skin while the proteins create a thin barrier that protects it from outside forces. For small areas, oatmeal can be applied as a paste (half oats and half water). Plain steel cut oats are suggested for best results.
If you need a full-body remedy, you can also bathe with colloidal, or super finely grained oatmeal. Just dump a cup or two into your warm bath water and soak for 30 minutes. The oatmeal will soothe your skin and dull the irritation caused by all those bug bites.
#5: Apply Mud to the Itch
If you’re out camping, you can easily find mud for this DIY. Simply apply a thin layer to your bite to relieve the itch and/or swelling. At home, you can quickly make your own, too, with a bit of backyard soil and water. It’s Mother Nature’s natural skin care product and one of the oldest, proven remedies you can find. Plus, it’s free!
#6: Soothe the Itch with Honey
Known around the world as a natural antibiotic, honey has been used to treat burns as well as dry skin and chapped lips. Considering all this, it’s not surprising it can also be used to soothe insect bites. Simply apply a dab of honey to your bite location for fast itch relief.
#7: Fight the Itch (Infection) With Fruit
Citrus fruits are naturally anti-itch and anti-bacterial, which makes them perfect for bug bites. If you have a lemon or an orange, squeeze the juice onto the bitten area or even rub it with the peel. It may burn a little bit (lemon juice on a cut?!) but after the initial jolt, you should feel the itchiness start to taper off.
#8: Dull the Itch with Rubbing Alcohol
Although I’ve never tried pouring Jameson on a bug bite (such a waste), you can use isopropyl alcohol, also known as your common household rubbing alcohol. The mixture usually comes in a 90% solution, which will be more than enough to help clean the bite and dull the itch. Use a cotton swab or cotton ball. You can also use alcohol wipes.
#9: Neutralize the Itch with Vinegar
If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet, vinegar is a great stand-in. Apple cider vinegar is best (less acidic), but you can use any kind you’ve got on hand. Just like the rubbing alcohol, use a cotton swab or cotton ball to apply the vinegar to the itchy spot. This remedy is also similar to that of baking soda.
#10: Rid the Itch with an ‘X’
What? By using your fingernails to press an «X» directly onto the bite, you can push the histamines away from the irritated spot. This can lessen the itching for a little while, buying you some minutes. Every minute counts in the battle against scratching.
#11: Distract Your Brain from the Itch
While your brain is a pretty impressive organ, it can still be outsmarted. For some reason, the mind seems to only register one kind of pain at a time; so if you slap an itch, the itching will cease as the brain processes the mild thwack you just gave yourself. Obviously, this again is not a permanent fix, but if you don’t have anything else available, it’s an option for temporary relief.
#12: Again, Refrain from Scratching That Itch
We circle back to square one: No matter how tempting it is to scratch, do not do it. Keep in mind that this seemingly instant relief is really just exacerbating the itch, reopening the site and aggravating the initial bite. It may feel like it’s getting better, but take a look: it’s much worse!
Prevention Can Also Help with Bug Bites
Our bodies all react differently to the bites and stings of insects, from no reaction at all (for the lucky) to the most severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. If you experience this, immediate medical attention is needed. Please seek it! The home remedies above are for the most common reaction, which are overall mild (though can feel agonizing). The goal is to relieve you of discomfort and, of course, keep you from scratching.
Indeed, warm(er) weather invariably means bugs, and the odds of you getting bit are all the more likely during this time of year. To help with this, try some prevention. For instance, consider the time of day you’re outdoors. Many insects are most active during the times of dawn and dusk, so if it can be helped, stay indoors then. Wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoors is another measure you can take to out-maneuver insects, as is applying bug spray.
However, unless we seal ourselves indoors during the spring and summer, we’re going to get bit at some point. And when we do, it’s good to know that there are easy enough steps we can take to remedy the dreaded itch. Hopefully one of the above solutions will work for you, and hopefully you don’t have to go through all 12 before you find success! However, if so, perhaps enough time will have passed for your itch to have gone away on its own. And maybe that can be no. 13!
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