Take a few moments to look around your home or office and see the countless knick-knacks, keepsakes, and drawers full of ‘things’ and so-called 'important' papers. What about looking at your email inbox: is there an abundance of unopened emails or scrolling down your smartphone to see the long list of notifications?
As time goes on we seem to accumulate more and more clutter in our home, desk and even our mind. Studies have found that clutter is best avoided if you want a healthy mind and life. Clutter can have a negative impact on your wellbeing and performance because it competes for your attention making you feel more stressed and results in decreased performance and less creativity.
Clutter isn’t always physical. In the digital age, we also accumulate digital clutter. Digital clutter includes anything from files on your computer, notifications from your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and anything that goes “ping” competes for your attention. The overconsumption of digital stuff has the same effect on your brain as the stack of papers on the desk in your home office. When you have to-do items constantly floating around in your head or you hear a ping or vibrate every few minutes from your phone, your brain doesn’t get a chance to fully engage or concentrate.
You may find it easy to accumulate ‘things’ but it is much harder to recycle them. This is because when you introduce new items into your life (which you have paid hard-earned money for), you immediately associate value with them, making it harder for you to say goodbye to them in the future. This psychological connection to things is what leads to the accumulation of stuff and creates clutter.
It seems that decluttering and minimising your life is the way forward. In 2017, Psychology Today wrote a blog stating that clutter may cause;
- Low subjective wellbeing
- Unhealthier eating
- Poor mental health
- Less efficient visual processing
- Less efficient thinking
So how do you declutter and minimise your life?
If you are not a natural minimalist, then it’s best to put some guidelines in place to help give your life the spring clean it needs.
1. Simplify your home - If you don't use, want or need it, get rid of it
To declutter your home, start with a charity bag, a minimalist attitude, and if you live with your family – a tribe of helpers. Go through each room in your home and identify items that you don’t use or want anymore. Any items that fall into either category can be binned, sold, recycled or donated (one person's trash is another person's treasure). Any items you need to keep but only occasionally use should be kept out the way, in the garage, shed or loft. And if you don’t need it within a year, you probably won’t ever need it. Time for it to go. It’s good to have a declutter at least every 6-12 months to stay on top of the build-up.
Assign all the items you use on a regular basis a convenient, logical and easily accessible space such as a drawer or cupboard, so you know exactly where to find it quickly when you need them. More and more homes are sold based on the square footage, so that stack of coffee-table books on the floor is taking up precious space. Some London properties cost over £1,000 per square foot, and according to AOL.co.uk the UK average is £211.
2. Tackle those ‘important papers
Do you have a pile of important papers that you keep ‘just in case’? Find out exactly what you need to keep paper copies of such as house deeds, passport, birth certificate and so on, and what you can store on your FileSafe cloud (Capital’s highly secure online cloud for clients) or another secure personal cloud of your choice.
At Capital, we understand that organising years of paperwork can be overwhelming and time-consuming, and you probably have far more enjoyable ways to spend your time. Which is why we oﬀer our clients BoxIt. BoxIt, helps you to declutter, organise and store your important documents in one place, protecting them from physical damage, through theft, ﬂooding or ﬁre.
Capital have partnered with the specialist ﬁrm Mywealthcloud (MWC) who provide trained consultants and a scanning and storage service. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that all your paperwork is safely ﬁled in one secure UK data centre, easily accessible to you digitally, and upon request, a courier will return the original box to you within 24 hours. If you would like to know more about Capital’s BoxIt service, please contact your Capital planner or call Capital’s client services team on 0207 398 6600 to request more information.
3. Have a digital clear-out
If your inbox gives you the shivers, then it’s time to delete the unnecessary messages and get in the habit of deleting or filing emails as they come in.
Give your devices a spring clean by deleting any apps and software that aren’t used regularly, deleting photos, music or movies that serve no purpose and instead create a dynamic folder system.
If you don’t really engage with social media, delete it. Too many friends on Facebook makes it more difficult to keep up with the ones you truly care about. Try to limit the amount of social media friends you have and the number of people you follow. This will ensure your newsfeeds aren’t overloaded with useless information.
Try to plan a digital detox and turn off your phone for a few hours a day. See if it makes a difference.
4. Declutter your mind and your life
Is your brain in serious overdrive? If your brain is a chaotic minefield of clutter, then you need to create some headspace.
Sometimes it can feel like we are on a hamster wheel running fast but achieving nothing. Identifying what’s important to you and what you want to achieve today or in the next five years and creating an action plan can help ease your anxiety.
Don’t multitask – juggling online shopping with watching a Netflix boxset while preparing your tax returns is far from productive. Doing so increases stress and creates additional tensions makes it difficult for your brain to filter out irrelevant information.
Finally, pause and take a deep breath, and slowly exhale.
Deep and controlled breathing is an effective way to clear your mind, induce tranquillity and elevate your mood instantly and helps you to relax.
At Capital we don’t mistake movement for achievement.