Why clearing clutter isn’t as frivolous an occupation as it seems.

I’ve been resisting the urge to post repeatedly about the glories of clutter-clearing.

Few things match the exhilaration of bringing order and space into a crowded room, and I’ve been begging my friends to let me help them clear their closets; I crave the buzz that badly.

As part of that obsession, I keep extolling the benefits of two anti-clutter maintenance rules:
— The one-minute rule: perform any task that can be completed in less than one minute. Hang up a coat, read a letter and toss it, put a document in a file, put the toothpaste back in the medicine cabinet and close the door.
— The evening tidy-up: take time before bed to put things away.

While I’ve been thinkning of clutter-clearing as a satisfying but fairly frivolous part of the Happiness Project, now I don’t think that’s true.

The fault that I most want to conquer in myself is my low-level crabbiness and consequent snappiness with my family.

And I’ve found that clearing clutter—both physical (closets, countertops) and mental (answering difficult emails)—makes it easier for me to stay cheerful.

I used to feel harassed by reminders of chores I needed to do, by objects I couldn’t find or that were in my way, and worst of all, by tasks I’d been procrastinating. Now that I’ve cleared out a lot of that mess, I feel happier and act happier.

And creating order doesn’t just remove a source of unhappiness; it creates a charge of energy and satisfaction. The closet that was an eyesore is now a joy; the stack of papers, slowly yellowing on the edge of the desk, is replaced by a clear surface.

Try it! You’ll be astonished by how much better you feel.

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

  • Ben

    Every pile is a to-do list.
    Congratulations on getting so much done! Just another reason to be happy.