Decluttering and organizing can be mentally and physically exhausting. You may have a lot of items to move around, but you probably also have many decisions to make. With each box you lift, paper you file, and piece of clutter you purge, your body uses energy.
Whenever I’m working with a client or in my own house, I make sure to get as good of a night’s sleep as possible. Then, the day has to start with a healthful breakfast. I usually have an egg white omelet with freshly sliced mushrooms, green peppers, and salsa mixed into it, with some low-fat cheese sprinkled on top. Then a glass of skim milk, a small cup of coffee, a little unsweetened applesauce, and a piece of whole wheat toast.
After breakfast, I’ll give myself half an hour to get ready, and then I start working. This time off between eating and working gives the body a little time to convert the food into energy. I’ll also fill a Nalgene bottle with 16 oz of water and make sure to drink as I work over the course of the morning to keep well hydrated.
I set a timer for 45 minutes and start decluttering and organizing. When the timer rings, I’ll stop what I’m doing and take a break for 10 minutes. During this break, I’ll eat a handful of nuts or some fresh fruit and try my best not to make any decisions. This means I stay off email, avoid video games — pretty much I aim for doing absolutely nothing. The idea is to conserve as much energy as possible.
After the break, I’ll set the timer for an hour and get back to work decluttering and organizing. When this time is finished, again, I’ll take a 10 minute break and eat some cheese on whole wheat crackers or pita chips with hummus. I’ll also sit on the couch, put my feet up, and zone out as much as possible.
My last work session of the day will be another 45 minute period, and then I’ll call it quits and have a healthful lunch.
If you try to declutter and organize without proper rest and fuel, you’ll be frustrated, grumpy, make poor decisions, and work more slowly than you otherwise would. Additionally, you’ll be in a foul mood the remainder of the day and feel exhausted. When you take on projects like these, you want them to be rewarding — not painful — so do what it takes to make that as simple as possible. Sleep well and eat well so you’ll be able to declutter and organize well. You’ll sincerely be surprised by how being properly fueled can reduce your stress and make the process run smoothly.
Finally, sugary drinks and snacks, as well as greasy foods and simple carbohydrates, can actually make you more tired and slow down your work over the long haul. You might get a quick boost of energy from these foods, but they won’t help to keep you going all morning.
Image by Con Poulos.