I am writing this from the home office which over the past year has undergone a few transformations during this pandemic. The first was a fresh coat of paint the summer of 2019. I selected Benjamin Moore’s “Metropolitan AF-690, a stylish grey with cool undertones”. It was the colour of the year. I cannot emphasize enough the power colour has on our moods and well-being. It dialed-down the frenetic energy of an active home environment to a calmer space conducive to constructive bursts of mental attention and creativity. According to an article published in National Geographic, “Why pandemic stress breeds clutter—and how to break the cycle”, underscores our environments influence on not just our attention, but our hormones and moods, “clutter can cause our bodies to release cortisol, the stress hormone associated with the fight-or-flight response”. Long-term, this can have negative health consequences. In University, much of the health promotion and stress management literature I reviewed, echoes much of the same. Resiliency, empowerment, agency are words that seem commonly employed now in the current mental health conversation. Setting time aside to attend to, sort, purge, assign, discard, donate, re-purpose and clean, can do wonders from a self-care perspective.
While my primary intention is to share a few time-honored rituals for clearing the clutter and cleansing your workspace, paint really can do a lot. According to sources to numerous too mention and from experience, painting is not only the most cost-effective way to transform a space, it also adds instant value. To be honest with you, I will not stage a property without ensuring a fresh coat of paint. By some estimates, a fresh coat of interior and exterior paint can increase a property’s value by $20,000. Neutral tones recommended. Did I mention I am also a professional painter?
Now, the second overhaul of the office included removing all contents that did not serve any identifiable purpose related to the function of the space. In other words, if it did not facilitate focus or promote organization and clarity, it needed to go. That included loose papers, outdated texts, or books that were already read, cables, wires, obsolete tech hardware, items of furniture that can be re-purposed or donated…and the list went on. For me, a clean, clear workspace fosters the freedom to perform better. Sure, there can exist a certain creative edge in the chaos of a messy office—where only you know where to find things. However, I prefer to know exactly where everything is, and when asked “do you know where the Post-its are?” I can confidently respond, “top left drawer by the computer”. The ability to easily identify the location of useful tools for the daily operation of my home and business provides a psychological satisfaction and sense of control. The feel-good feelings of reward and accomplishment are both reciprocal and mutually reinforcing which makes it a great habit to get into. Over the years, this has become a quarterly exercise, not just relegated to the season of spring.
There are several benefits for maintaining a regular practice of de-cluttering and organization, one of them is the reduced stress of fretting over what stays and what goes—making moving infinitely easier. I can pivot, change, and adapt effortlessly because, I already have everything I need available in its place and can transition more effectively. And you can too!
If you have any questions on how to get started, need a gentle nudge to begin the process you’ve been procrastinating, eager to begin and want that motivational support? Call or email me. I am happy to share useful tips and strategies for helping you achieve your de-clutter and organizational goals.