As our lives get busier and we accumulate more and more stuff over the years, organizing it all can get hard. And when gadgets start piling up, we can really be throw off of our game – because it is a separate form of clutter.
Here’s the worst part – the subject of clutter was studied at major universities in the U.S – The results they found are quite eye-opening, which we’ll go into below.
In our quest to keep a clean home, how can we “declutter” our home of gadgets and tech?
In this article, we’ll examine:
- How the problem starts
- Practical tips to declutter
- The effect of clutter on the brain
How the Problem Starts
Tech or gadget clutter can occur in many ways, but here’s a familiar scenario. You buy a smartphone, and everything is great until less than a year later there’s a buzz about the latest phone. It has some features that you are told you can’t do without, so when it comes out for sale, you buy it, leaving the old one to collect dust somewhere. Then there is a new tablet that can store more and do more things, so you buy one of those. And don’t forget the laptop you already have. The list goes on!
Before you know it, you have gadgets piling up in one or more places. Then the day comes when you need to find some important information. It is stored on one of these devices, but you cannot recall which one.
So what are some practical tips that can help you in the decluttering process?
Practical Tips To Declutter
Here are five ways you can reduce the clutter, especially if you either don’t need all your devices any more or you are trying to condense the information saved on all of them.
- Store the devices in the original boxes– if you still have them. Remove or transfer the data from your phone, collect your accessories, power cord, put everything in the box, and store it out of the way.
- Store all unused devices in one box and label it – this works well if you threw away the original boxes. Remove or transfer your data, and simply put all the devices in a box, and then identify what is in the box. Hint: Though many cords can be used interchangeably with other devices, it’s helpful to keep the cord with the device it came with. Just wind it round it or attach with a rubber band.
- Recycle the devices – if you know you no longer need them and don’t wish to keep them, do the environment a favour and recycle them. Never bin old tech, they contain rare metals that are toxic and need to be carefully disposed of. Just make sure you remove or transfer data before doing so.
- Sell the devices – if there is nothing wrong with the device, maybe you can sell it. Again, don’t let your data remain on any device. Transfer it over to your new one and then simply reset it to factory presets.
- Donate them – if the device is still working you can donate it to charity.
The above 5 tips will help you get these clutter-causing devices either out of the way or out of the house. Removing clutter this way will not only make your home or office look tidier; it will have a positive impact on your mind, as brought out in the following section.
Effect of Clutter on the Brain
We now come to the anticipated results of those studies we mentioned at the outset. Let us begin with a study done at Princeton University.
Neuroscientists studied people in both an organised environment and one that was not. They found that the clutter in the disorganised environment competed for peoples attention. As a result, their performance went down, and their stress level went up.
In short, clutter in the home or office equals clutter in the brain!
Other kinds of clutter we might not think about
- Digital products – are you an “E-doc junkie”? If you have tons of PDF’s or other digital products, paid or free, that you have collected over the years, then you could be an E-doc junkie. If you have not read – or used – the content in a year, the likelihood of you using it is slim to none.
- Notifications – sounds and pop-ups that tell you that you have a new email, social media messages, etc. – these too can be viewed as clutter, because they demand your attention from whatever you’redoing, whether the interruption is important or not. Every time you are distracted it takes up to five minutes to get back in focus. So, turn the notifications off and you’ll notice a big improvement in productivity.
And where are all of these things stored? They are on the devices that you are already trying to declutter from your home! The digital clutter can be just as unhelpful as physical clutter. It divides your attention so that your thinking is not as clear as it could be on the task you need to complete and your performance suffers.
Sometimes we may wonder why we’re not able to get anything done. Perhaps this is a major piece of the puzzle. Clutter can happen almost effortlessly, but it takes an effort to keep it from interfering from our performance.
Be courageous to admit the problem if it occurs. Then take immediate steps from the list we have provided you. Above all, recognise that the better you can fight off clutter, the better organised you will be and the less stressed out you will be – and the better you will perform!