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    Clutter Can Ruin Your Relationships

    By Michael Webb

    Studies have shown that a cluttered house can be a major contributor to failed and unhappy relationships.

    Some people can live with a cluttered home with few side effects, but for most it can be truly detrimental over time.

  • Do you have stress or anxiety about people visiting for the holidays because of the state of your home?

  • Do you want to have people over -- but don't because of your messy home?

  • Does the uncleanliness of your home cause fights or arguments?

  • If you are unhappy about the clutter in your home there are some simple steps you can utilize that will not only clean it up but will keep it from getting cluttered again and again.

    Tips to Declutter and Keep it that Way

    One small step at a time. Before you know it, those small steps will lead to a clutter-less and more peaceful life.

    Office Space

  • Desk Top - Whatever is on the top of your desk, remove, except your phone, computer, index file, file tray of the documents you're currently working on, and a photo of a loved one smiling. Then designate a drawer for every thing you had on your desk top.

  • Computer - Delete files and programs that you don't need. Deleting most of the icons on your desktop will help your computer run faster and will eliminate 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. 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.

    Your Home

    Outside of work, home is where many of us use our time. So it's no wonder that a messy house can add to daily stress.

    Simply 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 counter-tops, 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.

  • 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. Decided 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.

  • Clean out your drawers. Drawers are prime place for things to get shoved into. Empty out your drawers, and sort them by whether you're keeping, tossing, or donating them.

    Your Life

    Decluttering your work area and your home are great ways to start reducing the clutter and stress in your life, but there's still more than you can do.

    Reduce your commitments. Often times, our lives are too cluttered 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.

    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. Instead, 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.

    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.

    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. 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.

    Now is a great time to get things in order and banish the stress, anxiety and anguish that a messy home can cause for you and all those you love.

    Your coach, Michael Webb

    P.S. I have a friend who told me that he deliberately stayed at work late because he hated to go home to a messy house (his wife is the messy one). His wife, learning how to keep the house uncluttered, saved their marriage. Unclutter and save your relationship.

    Michael Webb is the world's best known romance expert. He has written over a dozen books on relationships and has appeared on over 500 TV and radio shows. He is founder of the extremely popular The Romantic.com -- and husband to Athena for over 20 years...


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