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Compress & Delete: How To Declutter

We asked different writers about what it means to get rid of the physical, psychic or emotional clutter in their lives. Here are their stories.

Albert Einstein had three rules of work: In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity, from discord find harmony and out of clutter find simplicity.

We all need simplicity to set the road for 2015. My ebook The ArtStars* Guide to Getting Your Shit Together is all about stepping up your game, from your vision to networking and self-promotion. On that note, here are my favourite tips –some from the ebook, others which are new – on decluttering your life.

Clarify your vision

Know what you want and where you are going. Daily tasks are one thing but big picture vision is another – make sure you’re steering on the right path, rather than doing the things that will drag you off-course. If you feel stuck, get out of where you are! One sign you’re on the right track, you’re excited.

Clean out your inbox

For the things you no longer need, just delete them. This will reduce the overwhelming stress of inbox disorganization that causes people to forget to reply or write people in a timely manner (don’t be one of those people).

Deleting long-gone contacts on your mobile

If there are contacts that make you cringe every time you scroll through your contacts, it’s time to delete them. Don’t apologize for moving on from the past. Sometimes you need to cut off old weeds to start anew.

Refresh your friendships

Meeting up with old pals is about making the effort and making the time for them. If someone means a lot to you, you’ll always make time. Why not try that new restaurant on your list with them? Especially when meeting with old friends, these are great opportunities to regroup, refocus and empower.

Clear your work space

Clear off Mount Paper on your desk. It can be hard to do when you’ve got piles of work to do, but take old shoe boxes and label them with incoming, outgoing and brainstorming boxes so it’s at least less cluttered. Adding a start date of these boxes helps, too, so they don’t pile up year after year.

Avoid unnecessary meetings

If you’re strapped for face time, don’t be afraid to ask for a phone meeting instead. I find it far better to meet vis-à-vis for really important meetings, while ironing out the rest by phone. It’s a huge time-saver, especially for people who live in large cities who need to add on an hour’s worth of travel time to and fro meetings. It can take an entire afternoon for a coffee meeting that could have taken 30 minutes by phone.

Compress your closet

We don’t need to wait until spring cleaning or Christmas to clear out your clothes. Try to compress your closet by giving away old clothes to someone new who needs it or donate to secondhand stores – if you haven’t worn something in over a year, it might be time to toss it.

Organize your goals

Write them down and put them somewhere you look every day. Screen grab for your desktop? Paste a Post-It by your bathroom mirror? Leave a bill-sized copy in your wallet? Whatever it takes.

Steer your ambition

Don’t allow your insecurities to get in the way, especially if you’re experiencing a lull. Keep busy, send out to win and keep a momentum with your work. Stay focused on the next chapter.

 

Nadja Sayej is a Canadian reporter, broadcaster, photographer and cultural critic based in Berlin, Germany. In covering architecture, travel, design, technology and art, she writes for The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine,The EconomistForbes, VICE magazine and Dazed & Confused, among others. Her ebook, The ArtStars* Guide to Getting Your Shit Together, is available on Amazon.

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