When was the last time you forgot something important?
And not just your wallet, I’m talking about forgetting your responsibilities or forgetting an idea. All of those brilliant ideas you have exploding in your brain. You think, “Oh, that is good. I’m going to do that as soon as…” as soon as you get home, or as soon as you wake up, or as soon as you get. that. coffee!
One thing nearly all of our clients complain about is not being able to remember things. This is especially true for people whose homes are filled with wall to wall stuff. It seems like the more stuff we have, the less we can remember.
Or is that just our perception? This article “Declutter your life for less stress, better mental health”, from Be Brain Fit, has lots of good information about why people keep clutter and what happens when we have too much clutter in our living space. (hint: The results are not great.)
How much is too much?
But, how do you know if you have too much clutter? People have different clutter tolerance levels. I would argue when you feel perpetually annoyed by your clutter, you have too much. Be Brain Fit’s article says,
“If you are ashamed of your home, avoid going home, or feel stressed at home, these are signs your clutter is problematic.”
What about clutter’s effect on our ability to remember things? People with more stuff have to remember where more things are. They may also feel greater pressure from the upkeep of all of their belongings. They are putting a strain on their brain that is so great, no human could accomplish it. It’s not that their memory is failing. Their expectations are way too high.
Are you doing this to yourself without realizing it? Are you expecting yourself to remember way too much simply by holding on to too many possessions?
Getting rid of clutter vs. Writing things down
Sure, it’s a great idea to go through every drawer and closet to get rid of superfluous stuff. But not everyone is in a great emotional state to make that happen. You may be really struggling with depression, another mental health issue, or with overwhelm right now.
If the idea of de-cluttering your home feels impossible to you at this time, there are other things you can do to give your memory a break. My favorite easy solution is to use a list. When you think of an idea, write it down on your To Do list. When you put your thoughts and ideas in writing (or a sketch) you free your brain up to be in the moment. Even if the idea is something as simple as “I must remember to put that folder in the car tomorrow.” Do yourself a favor. Write down “folder to the car” somewhere you’ll see it. It may seem trivial to write such a mundane thing on a list. But, I believe getting the chore out of your brain and onto some paper will help you relax a tiny bit more. It takes pressure off of your brain which seems very happy to me!
I’ll give you a whole diatribe about making ToDo lists someday. But for now I’m merely asking you to give your mind a break (for a sneak peak go to Workflowy.com and take a test drive).
Another good trick, take a picture with your phone, email it to yourself using reminder
in the email’s title. Then, at any point in the future you can use the search function in your email and find the picture, find the idea, the inspiration.
In the mean time, don’t be hard on yourself by trying to keep everything in your head. Put them down on paper so you can stop and smell the espresso.