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With the dark and gloomy winter months, finding the motivation to be productive at work can be difficult. This year many of us have also begun working from home for the first time. 

One thing that could be getting in the way and hindering our motivation and productivity is household clutter. Studies have shown that clutter can have a negative impact and cause us to feel distracted and overwhelmed. When our environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts our ability to focus. Clutter also limits our brain’s ability to process information. 

Tackling small decluttering tasks each week can help us to feel calmer and more in control in such uncertain times.  At Nesta, we’ve put together some ideas on what to start clearing out. Each task will only take 10 minutes. It’s a quick and easy way to address those feelings of overwhelm, allowing you to focus your attention on more important things.  

Here’s a list of  items that can build-up clutter in our homes that can easily be dealt with in a 10 minute clear out: 

Socks missing their partner

For some reason, almost every household has a container of mismatched socks. The problem is that the partner sock rarely reappears (it’s a mystery as to where the socks go!) and the mismatched sock pile keeps on building and building, leading to more clutter. It’s time to get rid of the mismatched sock pile once and for all! Grab a bag and put all smaller, thinner socks into it to bring to the clothes bank or recycling centre. Thicker socks can be cut up and used as dusters or cleaning cloths. What’s more, reducing the pile of mismatched, never worn socks makes space for purchasing nice, fancy new pairs! It’s a win-win 10-minute decluttering task!

Junk mail, old receipts and cards

Paper clutter is by far one of the easiest types of clutter to get a handle on. Start small! Take 10 minutes to go through your purse or wallet and clear out old receipts and loyalty cards etc. Or tackle the hallway table, desk or bedside table- all prime spots for paper build up! This is such a quick task as it’s easy to be ruthless. Junk mail isn’t called junk mail for no reason! Recycle as much as you can and your spaces will instantly feel calmer. 

Pens that no longer work

Most of us have a collection of dried out pens scattered about on desks and in junk drawers that are taking up space. Broken, useless items can be the most irritating form of clutter. Set a timer for 10 minutes, put on a good music playlist and see how many pens you can collect around the house in that time. Start decluttering with desks, drawers and common areas like the kitchen and lounge. Gather up any working pens and pop them in a nice container or pen holder. That way they’re all in one place. A simple easy task that will save you time and hassle when you need to sign a document or a letter quickly in the future! 

Towels and bedclothes

Old towels and bedclothes are another common form of clutter that’s easily dealt with. We all have at least a dozen towels, rags, and bedsheets that are worn, stained, and unsuitable for guests- so why would you hold onto them for yourself and your family? Decluttering the linen closet or hot press is a task that can make a huge difference to the amount of storage space you have. While a full linen closet clear-out may not be possible in 10 minutes, try tackling one section, or smaller items like face clothes. You’ll be amazed at how much space you’ll free up.