We live in a busy and very stressful world. The constant agitation of stress can make you unfriendly and shorten your life. Quality of Life (QOL) is one of those things we tend to ignore. We rarely take steps to improve it, let alone take those steps deliberately and habitually. Today we want to suggest a regimen that will relieve stress and improve your QOL. House stylists we know have learned that spending just 15 minutes every day can vanquish most clutter and set us on the path to a better life.

When we are surrounded by things that are out of place, it agitates us. Even if we don’t notice it right away, such clutter creates discord in our subconscious minds. This discord goes beyond making us feel anxious, if it continues day after day, it can make relationships difficult (witness the spouse who leaves his boxers on the bathroom floor or the child who wipes his milk moustache on the clean towels in the bathroom.) Ultimately, too much stress can lead to things like life threatening diseases, including hypertension, weight gain, and even cancer.

Our house stylists assure us that a mere 15 minutes – no more, no less – can work to eliminate such stress. Not only because it takes clutter out of your sight, but it also gives you the comfort of knowing that you have a plan and that you are not already defeated. This makes it less overwhelming. Here’s how to begin.

Time Yourself

Part of what makes this system work is the fact that the job is not endless. It takes just 15 minutes out of your day – no more. Any of us can spare that little slice of time and, if we work diligently, we can transform any cluttered room in that time. (Okay. If you’ve not cleaned a room in six or eight months, the room may require a thorough reorganisation first. After that your daily sweep will effectively deal with the mess.) Seriously. Set a timer and stick to it.

Get a Few Tools

You’ll want a plastic grocery bag, a laundry basket, and the aforementioned timer.
Living Room

• Set your laundry basket in the middle of the room

• Working from right to left walk around the room putting those things that don’t belong in the room into the basket. This includes magazines, books, toys, cereal bowls, and shoes.

• Put used tissues, old catalogues, waste paper, and any trash into your grocery bag.

• Put like things together. Books on the book shelf, DVDs and gaming equipment into the entertainment area where they are stored. Put remotes into a basket for storage. They stay un-lost when they have a ‘home’ to go to.

• Fluff cushions, fold throws, and put such items precisely where they belong.

• Finally, take your laundry basket and restore the contents to the room where they ought to be.

Kitchen – Once Weekly

• Using a bin or box walk around the kitchen removing everything that belongs somewhere else. If it isn’t about meal planning, grocery shopping, or meal preparation, find a different home for it. For example, school books, science projects and lawnmower owner’s manuals are not kitchen items.

• Clear your benchtops, kitchen table, and/or island by putting things back where they belong.

• If anything is left on the counters, make sure the items are put where you want them to be, facing at front and at attention.

• Store small appliances out of sight if you can. If you don’t have space in the cabinets, perhaps it’s time to schedule a rethinking of what is necessarily stored there. You may find that you keep lots of things in cabinets that you only use rarely. House stylists remind us that most of us are packrats – it’s always best to think before we shove things into drawers or cabinets.

• Open the fridge and remove old food and leftovers. (If you tend to keep bits and pieces of leftovers, remember, they only take up space if you don’t eat them. Before you store two tablespoons of mashed potatoes, know how you will use them and when.)

• Empty the garbage and restore the items in your bin to their proper places.
We have tips for other rooms that we will share soon in part two of this article. Remember that the goal here is to improve your quality of life one room at a time. Small investments in time and energy can be the most effective way to expand your sense of well-being.

Written by