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Three Easy Clutter Traps You Can Tackle Today

Three Easy Clutter Traps You Can Tackle Today

By Eliza Crisp, contributing blogger.

Let’s be real here: it’s Marie Kondo’s world, and we’re just living in it. After a messy bedroom caused her teenage self to have a nervous breakdown, Kondo embarked on a lifelong journey to infuse her strategic organization techniques with a dash of Shinto spirituality.

The pint-sized, Japanese celebrity released her best-selling book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ in 2011, and has sold more than 11 million copies to date. So how did her worldwide domination hit such dizzying heights in 2019? Netflix, of course. The streaming giant released ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’ on January 1st, and a whole new legion of fans were buoyed in their lofty New Year’s resolutions to minimize their belongings.

While watching people purge their entire homes of unnecessary junk makes for addictive (and surprisingly emotional) viewing, there’s nothing wrong with chasing some quick wins. With Marie Kondo as our guide, let’s look at some easy spots you can de-clutter right now.


Your favorite purse:

Let’s start with that monstrosity that you sling over your shoulder each morning. For most of us, this culprit is a heavy tote that we stuff to the brim with so-called ‘essentials’ every day. Not only does this cause havoc for your posture, but constantly rifling through a cluttered purse is a productivity nightmare.

The first step is to shake it off! that means taking EVERYTHING out, unzipping those hidden pockets, and turning the lining inside out. You might be surprised with what you unearth, so we suggest doing this in a space that is easy to clean up (not over your bedsheets!) Repack your purse with a sense of purpose by following these suggestions:

Sparks the annoy: fistfuls of receipts, spare change, gum wrappers, a bruised apple, a shattered makeup palette, a weighty journal that has never been used (#guiltyascharged).

Sparks the joy: the holy trinity (phone, wallet, keys), a mini toiletries kit (Kleenex, Band-Aids, spare hair tie, sanitary supplies, favorite lip balm or lipstick), a non-perishable snack, a lightweight portable phone charger.


Your trusty gym bag:

Having a well-packed gym bag is one of the most effective steps in developing a solid workout routine. The New York Times recently did a deep-dive into some easy behavioral prompts that you can adopt to help sync your exercise habits with your schedule, and preparing your equipment is a great launch point.

After carefully unloading your gym bag, use this opportunity to give everything a quick refresh with antibacterial wipes. Even if you aren’t engaging in super-sweaty routines, airing out your bag is a great habit to bust any sneaky germs.

Sparks the annoy: balled-up gym socks that you tucked in the corner, a crushed protein bar, broken headphones, a discarded flyer advertising a fitness retreat in Bali.

Sparks the joy: a single set of clean + folded workout gear, a reasonably-sized water bottle, face/body wipes, deodorant, a bag to keep your clean clothes separate.


Your messy work desk:  

Whether your desk is in an office, your bedroom, or a corner of your living room, we probably all have a dedicated work nook that demands several hours of our day. Aside from the fact that researchers found that a messy desk tells colleagues that you are ‘more neurotic, less agreeable, and pretty uncaring’, there are plenty of personal reasons to maintain an ordered work space (such as providing an easy efficiency boost!).

Sparks the annoy: dirty coffee mugs, papers from projects you completed last month, broken stationery items (especially pens), spare plastic cutlery from Seamless deliveries.

Sparks the joy: a single glass of water (in a size that forces you to stand up + regularly refill), ordered work files, a photo of someone/something you love, a small succulent, a drawer stocked with your favorite desk-friendly snacks (such as raw nuts, healthy granola bars and dark chocolate).


In Kon-clusion:

Aside from being unsightly and cumbersome, attaching yourself to piles of clutter can weigh on us emotionally. While clearing out your purse might seem a little frivolous at first, it quickly becomes clear that maintaining a stress-free environment is really the ultimate act of self-care. Who knows? You might find the process therapeutic, and it could even be the catalyst for radical downsizing in other areas of your life.