I used to feel harassed by reminders of chores I needed to do:
The book or the stapler I couldn’t find, or the pile of papers that was in my way. But worst of all, by tasks I’d been procrastinating.
While worrying about clutter might seem like a fairly frivolous preoccupation, I’ve found that clearing away the mess—both physical (closets, countertops) and mental (answering difficult emails)—makes it easier for me to stay calm and cheerful.
Two anti-clutter rules have made a huge difference to the level of chaos in my house:
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.
Now that I’ve cleared a lot of that away, I feel 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.