How To Declutter Your Space Daily

In college, we all know what it’s like to be busy- to come home and rather do anything than clean up a messy dorm room. Personally, I concentrate a lot better when the space I am working and living in is neat and clean.And even if you don’t have a messy room and are a fairly neat person, it still needs to be cleaned and decluttered.

Erin Doland of unclutterer.com, referencing an organized living study done by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, said on the topic:

“When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.”

If you want to declutter but don’t know where to start, here are my tips on how to keep your space clear on a daily basis.

Task: Get rid of junk every day.

What you’ll need: Ruthless perseverance.

How to: Every day, go through your room with a careful eye and throw away anything taking up space.

“It’s important to stay on top of clutter consistently, so that it doesn’t accumulate over time and become too intimidating to tackle.” said Jenna Goudreau of Forbes Magazine.

Maybe your paperwork needs to be sorted through or gum wrappers have taken up residence on your dresser. Get rid of garbage and anything you don’t use or have not used in the past month or two. Chances are, you probably don’t need it.

Task: Put everything back in its place daily.

What you’ll need: A keen memory for where everything goes.

How to: When you move into your dorm or apartment, have a plan.

While packing, think about organization in terms of accessibility and structure. Invest in organizers for your desk, closet, and under-bed storage.

Thinking ahead will really help! It is understandable, or, most importantly, inevitable, that our rooms become cluttered throughout the day. Try to put everything back where you found it after you use it, and if you cannot, and least you know that when you come back later it has a home waiting for it.

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Task: Set-up a cleaning routine for each day.

What you’ll need: Discipline.

How to: An easy way to declutter daily is to make a habit of it. If you keep a planner, schedule time into your daily routine to organize your room for 10 minutes. Doing so will immediately give you a sense of accomplishment, however small it may be, before you are off to the next task. It would also be to your advantage to do different cleaning tasks everyday, so that you ensure nothing is skipped throughout the week.

And never be ashamed to need a reminder to tidy up! If you don’t know where to start, imore.com offers a list of some of the best reminder apps out there for your smartphone.

Task: Don’t be lazy.

What you’ll need: Motivation.

How to: When you’re sitting in your dorm after a long day, relaxing and eating a snack, make it a point to clean up your mess. If you don’t have the energy to put things back in their place at that moment, the least you can do is pick up any crumbs or give the floor a quick vacuum. If you skip this step, a semi-messy person can turn into a slob in a second. You have to be somewhat motivated to do the easy parts to ensure a stress-free morning.

Task: Make your bed.

What you’ll need: Muscle memory and some ambition.

How to: As soon as you get up in the morning, make your bed. I promise this makes a difference. Even when I was in high school with two minutes left to get downstairs, out the door and to the bus stop, I would make my bed. Having your bed made makes your room look much more presentable, and is the number one thing you can do to declutter your space.

Writer Jolie Kerr of esquire.com offers the psychological benefits of making your bed everyday:

“Getting into a well-made bed feels really good. Bearing that in mind can also help you to make the mental switch from viewing making the bed as a chore to thinking of it as a gift you give to yourself.”

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It takes two minutes in the morning, and if you really want, you can lay/sit back on top of the covers while you drink coffee, scroll through social media, study, etc.

I declutter my room every day with these little tasks so that why I am not overwhelmed by the weekend. Just a little thought and motivation can go a long way in terms of keeping your space neat and your mind at rest. Many people find that they perform better both mentally and physically in a tidy space, and you might find you are the same.

And if you still are not convinced, people all over the world swear by author Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, which you can find here.

Q and A with Erin Doland, Organization Specialist

Erin Doland is a journalist and author based out of the D.C. area and can be found on unclutterer.com as a writer and as Editor-at-Large, as well as at her website and twitter. A contributor to publications such as Family Circle and Martha Stewart Living, Doland is mostly a lifestyle writer with a focus on the topics of organization and decluttering. She writes, she reads,  and she’s honest.

Here is the interview:

What got you interested in writing about organization and clutter?

A: I spent most of my childhood and early adulthood keeping everything. I was a pack rat–a level three on the hoarding scale. It was after I changed my ways, researched how the brain organizes information and how we make sense of our world through order that I became interested in writing about organizing. What I realized is it’s a skill anyone can learn and practice. Eventually, through all of this, I became a proponent of the simple living movement.

What do you like about writing/contributing to columns in publications such as Better Home and Gardens and Woman’s Day?

A: Beyond the obvious of enjoying being paid for my work, I like writing for national publications because my words reach more people. I genuinely do wish to help people with their pursuits to get out from under clutter that might be burdening them. If they are seeking solutions, I like to be a useful resource.

When you were in college, did you think you would make a living of writing about organization?

A: Not at all. When I was in college I wanted to be the next Cameron Crowe and make a name for myself doing music writing for Rolling Stone. If you get an old edition of Carole Rich’s textbook “Writing and Reporting News”, the letter I wrote to Rolling Stone applying for an internship is actually included as a writing sample. I loved music and had the opportunity in college to meet and interview some popular people/groups: Lenny Kravitz, Deborah Harry, Michael Stipe, Philip Glass, Patty Smith, Celine Dion, the Ramones, Metallica, Ben Folds, Everclear, etc. But, alas, I did not become Cameron Crowe.

How was it breaking into the industry? Any tips?

A: I don’t know how I broke into the industry. Seriously, I have no idea. I wrote and wrote and wrote and eventually there were readers. And then the world’s most amazing agent appeared. Then an editor at a publishing house who believed in me came along. (I didn’t query either.) All along the way I’ve written and tried to improve my skills. Also, I’ve tried my absolute hardest to always turn things in ahead of schedule, well edited, and in the exact format requested. Then, when I’ve been asked to make edits, I do them quickly and almost always without pushback. I have to trust that the people I’m writing for are skilled and know their industry and audience and have a broader perspective than I do. (I’m not a doormat–I have fought for one or two big things that have really mattered to me over the years–but I’m not a squeaky wheel. Seriously, since the mid-1990s, I can only remember pushing back on two edits.) I also say “thank you” constantly to the people who help me–the editors, the proof readers, the designers, etc. As a result, people often come back to me because I’m easy to work with. A lot of people can write well, but not all of those people are nice. Being responsible and nice really seem to go a long way.

On your website, your bio says that you have a “full-time gig” with a software company. Can you elaborate on this?

A: I have a day job with health insurance and retirement benefits and all of those things that are difficult to acquire as a full-time writer. If I were married and didn’t have kids, it would be easier to only write full time. But I’m a single mom with two young kids and a dependable paycheck with benefits goes a long way.

Why do you publish your fiction works under a pen name?

A: I write young adult romance under my pen name and the two genres are so vastly different that it’s easier to have two separate identities so as not to confuse everyone (especially Amazon.com searchers).

What do you love most about your job? What do your find to be the most rewarding part(s)?

A: The most rewarding part of my job is hearing positive things from readers. Those communications have kept me going on evenings when I’ve been exhausted and not wanted to sit down and write

Are you working on any new projects?

A: I’m on contract for a contemporary retelling of MANSFIELD PARK for my fiction career and am almost finished with a proposal for a travel memoir my agent will pitch to publishers this summer. Writing, always writing.

Photo credit: erin.doland.org

HIIT Workouts: Why Are They Popular?

What is one thing that many people want around this time of year? Probably the most universal answer to this question is a hot body. A fit physique also happens to be the one thing many people do not have the time or the patience to work for, especially if they are a student. And with the warmer weather making its debut and summer rolling around, college students across the nation will be thinking about their beach bodies and cursing the days they went for the extra slice of pizza or dining hall cookie.

As college students, it is sometimes difficult to make time for the gym, with schoolwork, classes, and other obligations to attend to. I know many students— including myself— can barely get to their campus fitness center because their schedules are so jammed. Luckily, we live in the era of Youtube and Pinterest, where you can find easy and quick HIIT (high-intensity-interval-training) workouts to do in your dorm room or apartment that will more burn fat and calories in twenty minutes than an hour would do at the gym. Using exercises like crunches, lunges, jumping jacks, and more with the weight of your body proves to be a more efficient workout than any piece of equipment can offer.

According to shape.com, the pros of HIIT workouts certainly outweigh the cons. Charlotte Hilton Andersen wrote for the online version of the fitness magazine that HIIT workouts are productive and straightforward— there is no need for equipment and they get the job done.

“Super-efficient HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule—whether you want to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or to get in shape for a fast-approaching event. Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than the girl jogging on the treadmill for an hour.” said Andersen.

She also speaks to the fact that HIIT workouts require no equipment, which is actually a plus in the long run in terms of results and simplicity.

Andersen writes: “Running, biking, jump roping, and rowing all work great for HIIT, but you don’t need any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast. In fact, some equipment like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because you want the focus to be on pushing your heart to its max, not your biceps.”

HIIT workouts that you can do at-home with no hassle have been on-trend for a few years now. There are multiple Youtube channels dedicated to the quick workouts and people who make a living off of teaching them, such as Blogilates (run by media-star Cassey Ho), POPSUGAR Fitness, and Lucy Wyndham-Read.

“Blogilates, which Ho launched in 2009, is currently the number one female fitness channel on YouTube, having clocked up more than 300 million video views and over three million subscribers.” reported CNBC in 2016.

As of 2017, Youtube statistics show thatHo’s pilates channel has 3.6 million subscribers. POPSUGAR Fitness, an extension of global media company POPSUGAR, which covers not only fitness topics but others such as food, fashion, beauty, etc., has taken in 1.2 million subscribers. Lucy Wyndham-Read, a fitness trainer based out of the UK, only has a relatively small following of 124,000 subscribers, some of which are the biggest names in Youtube today.

If you search “HIIT workout” on Youtube, over 1.5 million results come up. The trend has a clear following, and since the workouts range from four to thirty-five minutes, they are perfect for people on-the-go. Fitness is an extremely significant part of self-care, and the results of a steady workout schedule can impact lives in multiple ways. For one, it can increase energy levels, which is good for people on-the-go who need all the energy they can get.

An article by the Mayo Clinic states that exercise will give people more energy to take on their daily activities.

“Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.” said the Mayo Clinic Staff.

Since HIIT workouts are providing quality training and impressive results with no need for a gym membership or expensive in-home equipment, they are ideal for young and busy college students on a budget. But, even if there is no way to get all the healthy foods and sleep you need, there is no excuse for avoiding HIIT workouts that can be done quickly and in the comfort of your dorm.

Five Ways to Change Your Busy Days

As a college student, I know exactly how it feels to be on-the-go all the time. Between classes, studying, socializing, extracurriculars and exercising, I sometimes cannot find the time to clean my room, do laundry, or just relax. Over the past year and a half, I have had to find some ways to lighten my load and make juggling my responsibilities easier, since there is really no way around them and stress comes with the territory of being in college. Here are some tips that can change your health, productivity, and happiness on daily basis:

Wake up early.

Despite the screaming night-owl inside, waking up early is one of the easiest ways to ensure a less stressful morning. Healthambition.com speaks to the fact that early-risers reap the benefits of improved mental health: “The first hour of your day and how you spend it often sets the tone for the rest of your day and your life.” Saving some time in the morning to let your body and mind awaken can do wonders for the rest of day. Whether you wake up and immediately start to get ready or spend some time zoning out on the computer and drinking coffee, leaving yourself a few extra minutes to breathe will help you take on the rest of the day with a clear head.

Utilize a planner.

If there is one thing I have learned since starting college, it is that planners are so important. Keeping a visual list, whether electronic or written, can help keep plans and tasks for the day prioritized and in an order that caters to your schedule. A planner can take the stress off of a busy day by keeping everything in one spot, making it easy to check to-do lists. Plan for classes, assignments, gym days, time with friends, and any other tasks that need to be accounted for throughout the week.

You can find some customizable and easy-to-use planners that will not break the bank at the websites below:

https://www.erincondren.com

https://passionplanner.com/shop

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/planner-pro-daily-calendar-personal-organizer/id571588936?mt=8

Save a chunk of downtime each day for reflecting, refreshing and relaxing.

If there’s something college has taught me, it is that it is very easy to run yourself down with schoolwork and social opportunities. There have been many days where I have found myself running between academic buildings, the library, the grocery store and back again. There is nothing worse than the feeling of getting back to your dorm or house after ten or more hours, completely exhausted and run down with more to do. Saving some time for yourself in the day to relax and decompress- whether it be watching television, reading, working out, or even taking a small nap- can do wonders for productivity.

“Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.” wrote Ferris Jabr for Scientific American Magazine.

And even though you may think you are not being productive by going for a run or laying down for a half an hour, recharging your mind and body even for a small amount of time can make the rest of your tasks run smoothly.

Keep a water bottle.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things someone on-the-go can do. As busy people, we neglect to realize that even though skipping a meal every once in a while is alright (but not recommended), not hydrating throughout the day can cause headaches, dizziness, and even lead to passing out. Glasstic Water Bottle Company talks about the physical benefits of utilizing a water bottle: “Drinking more water and keeping the body well-hydrated have shown to help people improve their cognitive abilities and mental function. It also keeps your energy levels up throughout the day.” Keeping a water bottle with you at all times, especially if it is one of the non-disposable colorful ones, can remind you to keep drinking water and keep refilling it when empty. Hydrating also gives your body that little bit of energy and alertness it needs to keep you going until a snack is available or you can finally sit down and eat a meal.

Some cheap and reputable water bottles can be found at these sellers:

https://www.amazon.com/CamelBak-Water-Bottle-Dragon-75-Liter/dp/B00NTYHBUG/ref=sr_1_1?s=sports-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1487880681&sr=1-1&keywords=camelbak+water+bottle

https://www.brita.com/water-bottles/?keyword=brita%20water%20bottle&dmp=brand&gclid=CJus18eDp9ICFVxMDQodX-0K2A&gclsrc=aw.ds

Declutter your space.

As students, we do not have a lot of space to work with in terms of living. Even if you are out of college and live in an apartment or house with roommates, you still have to work with the amount of space that you get, which most of the time is not much. Taking the time to go through drawers, closets, and storage can help not only clear your space but also your mind.

Author and content creator Allison Fallon wrote on noisesidebar.com about the benefits of minimalism in a psychological sense: “We don’t think of our physical possessions being linked to mental and emotional health, but the connection between the two is undeniable. Studies show that when we clear out our closets, it has a massive impact on our mental clarity and peace of mind.”

I find that when I am around clutter, the last thing I can do is concentrate. By cleaning and minimizing, you are automatically increasing your productivity and decreasing the stress you feel in a too busy environment.

 

Even if you only do two or three of these five tips, it could still lead to less stress and more productivity. Remember that while being busy is a good thing, it is also important to stay mindful of your health, and there is no shame in taking time to relax.