Don't Be a Basket Case: Removing Your Life's Clutter
See How Shedding Sets You Free
"Your home reflects your life," Walsh says, "and you can't make progress in any other area of your life if your house is a mess." That goes double for those of us who work at home. Wendy Brooks, a publicist from Phoenix, Arizona, found herself freezing up when she sat in her chaotic home office trying to write press releases. So she got rid of knickknacks, photos, and anything else that helped keep her from focusing on her work. "All that stuff distracted me and short-circuited creativity," she says.
Walsh says his clients have told him repeatedly that when they purge their stuff it feels as if a weight has been lifted from them. Some of their mental clutter -- in the form of tension, anxiety, and lack of motivation -- simply dissipates, and they end up feeling better about themselves. "Just the act of deciding to throw something out is energizing," says Gail Blanke, author of Throw Out Fifty Things.
Kathy Partak, of Auburn, California, has been decluttering since March and loves the sense of pride it gives her. "If you were to show up at my door today I'd be able to invite you in and show you to my beautiful guest room -- even hang up your clothes in the closet," she says. "No more, 'Just a minute while I move the piles from the bed and try to make room in the closet.'"
After Sherry Gavanditti, of Bedford, Ohio, vowed to get rid of two bags of clutter a week, she, too, discovered that organization has unexpected benefits. "I like myself more, I feel more in control of my life and I have more self-respect," she says. Gina Miller, of Lombard, Illinois, found she had more time and energy after decluttering her home. "I even have a higher sex drive," she says. Now that's motivation.