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The power of uncluttering your space

Clutter is distracting. The mess around your home, desk, and on your computer screen kills your focus (it’s scientifically proven). Physical clutter competes for your visual attention along with whatever task you’re trying to do. With that being said, as there are options such as using paperless software solutions like ones you can find on sites like or buying boxes to store items separately, there shouldn’t be any excuses as to why you can’t get your office looking its best. Having a clean environment also helps improve productivity.

If you can see the clutter, your brain is thinking about it.

Most people’s tendency is to put clutter in the same category as cleaning. In other words, it’s a chore. To stop thinking of it like a chore then you may want to introduce a waste management system such as renting a dumpster to help control the clutter. If this is something that you’re interested in, then why don’t you have a look at rent a dumpster at for further information in your area.

Having a home and office that’s well designed and kept clutter-free will positively change your life according to Feng Shui expert Dana Claudat of The Tao of Dana, and it turns out, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence to back her up. The New York Times article “Why We Love Beautiful Things” highlights a few studies that demonstrate how we are affected by our physical environment:

  • German researchers found that just glancing at shades of green can boost creativity and motivation. It’s not hard to guess why: we associate verdant colors with food-bearing vegetation — hues that promise nourishment.

  • In studies of call centers, workers who could see the outdoors completed tasks 6 to 7 percent more efficiently than those who couldn’t, generating an annual savings of nearly $3,000 per employee.

Dana explained to us that we’re wired to emotionally connect with a space because we’re highly visual creatures. Professional athletes have understood the connection to the visual for a long time. They use imagery and visualization in preparation for sporting events because there’s a body of evidence that shows it actually improves performance.

dana claudat blog

#1. Unclutter in small steps

Start by spending only 15 minutes per day decluttering or organizing, especially for big projects. So, for 15 minutes clear one bit of a shelf or one drawer of a dresser. Choose just one thing to work on at a time.

This “one thing at a time” hack is something that comes up often in behavior design. Productivity gurus call it, “Touch it once.” The benefits are twofold: it reduces multi-tasking and it creates a sense of accomplishment each time you finish something. A finished shelf has immediate utility far beyond two partially-finished shelves.

#2. Trim your shopping list

Go on a shopping hiatus where you agree to only buy essentials like toothpaste. Empty your pantry. Use what you already have and commit to absolutely no extra shopping. This exercise will help you get a good sense of how much you actually have stored and you’ll see how much you’ve already accumulated. As a bonus, you’ll save money that you can use to buy one or two higher quality items that you genuinely need.

This is some cousin of the “replacement habit” technique for achieving goals. If you hate decluttering, try to create different habits around how you accumulate clutter.

#3. Clear the air

Scent is part of the invisible architecture. Your environment affects you, so make small changes to increase comfort. Open the windows and light a beeswax candle. You can also burn a sage wand safely (in a metal pot) and sprinkle a little lavender essential oil in your corners. Don’t forget to take out the trash!

Clutter causes you to feel stuck. Feeling stuck causes you to ignore clutter. The boost you’ll feel from the fresh air will carry you through a cleaning session.

Do you have pets at home? If so, make sure to vacuum regularly, as pet hair can also impact on your air quality. If you do not already have a vacuum cleaner that has been specifically designed to deal with stubborn animal hairs, take a look at this useful guide for some vacuum inspiration:

Food for thought: What can you do to change the mood in your house or office?

If you’re interested in thinking differently about clutter, here are three posts from Dana’s blog:

At we enjoy being pushed to think differently about a problem and being inspired to get started tackling it immediately. If you want to improve your physical space we’ve got some tips from Dana and these simple next steps:

  1. Join the Unclutter goal on
  2. Commit to 10-15 minutes of uncluttering a day.
  3. Get a coach to help you get organized and stay on top of your clutter.

About Esther Crawford

On the marketing team at I enjoy traveling off the beaten path. You'll find me dancing at festivals and living in downtown San Francisco.