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Decluttering for Freelance Writers

clutter declutterMaybe you’re one of those folks who keeps everything around you neat and tidy. More power to you. But, if you’re more like me, you tend to be, well, a bit messy.

Study after study tells us that it’s easier to work, play, and enjoy life without clutter. I’m still not convinced, but I do know clutter can get away from me.

I’ve discovered a few tricks to declutter – maybe not completely, but enough to make a real difference. In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m of the ‘progress rather than perfection’ clan.

Besides I wouldn’t know perfection if it knocked on the door and introduced itself.

Recently I’ve begun three practices that are resulting in noticeably less clutter in my life.

Cluttered email in box

I’m a political junkie. I want political news. I also want to support a wide variety of environmental causes. Plus, I feel I ought to keep track of certain writing websites.

My inbox had gotten insane. Even worse, I was beginning to miss leads in my nascent real estate investment education business.

Oh, I know you can have email sorted automatically into folders, but that meant I never even saw the subject lines unless I looked. Although that could be a decent plan, it wasn’t working for me. Finally I began subscribing to the email newsletters I want to look at, but that are not related to my business, from my gmail account, and unsubscribing from my business account. That means I can look at them easily in the evening from my iPad. So far it’s working. My inbox is actually looking a little lonely and very tidy these days and I’m able to spend more time on my businesses.

The takeaway here is to figure out where you can shuttle the distracting emails until you can look at them after hours.

An empty box in the closet

Several years ago I realized that if I kept a box right in my closet for the clothes I want to take to Goodwill, it would work. The box is right there, making it super easy to fill. And easy is what I need.

I made an agreement with myself that I’ve kept pretty well to haul the box to Goodwill as soon as it’s full and bring the empty box home. Gradually I’ve allowed myself to put other items in the box – even books, and some pots and pans I no longer wanted.

The result has been a closet that isn’t jammed with clothes that no longer fit plus I’ve been able to get rid of other ‘stuff’ as well.

Getting out of decluttering overwhelm

I know there are many theories of decluttering. One day I noticed how much paper build-up I had in my house. Magazines, advertising, old drafts of manuscripts – it was getting pretty awful. I spent a couple of days wondering how in the world to tackle it all, and that ‘all’ became a problem.

One morning I realized that if I cleaned up or tidied something extra every day, I’d gradually get it all handled. I don’t plan what to clean up in advance. I don’t have some complex scheme to completely tidy say all my top drawers, or work though all my kitchen cupboards. Instead, when I’ve got or need a brak I look around and start working at clearing up something – anything.

It’s working – my office looks less chaotic and so does the coffee table in the living room. It’s a dirt simple approach that’s now on my calendar for daily activity. I’m seeing progress which means I’m out of overwhelm.

What has this to do with writing? I’m not sure, but it does seem that ideas and creativity are flowing a bit more easily now.

Got tips for eliminating clutter? Let’s talk about them in comments.

Write well and often,




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