Want to be more organised and less stressed? Try the 80/20 rule

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Want to be more organised and less stressed? Try the 80/20 rule


Art by Channing Smith. Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Never get full

“We don’t like having closets full,” explain The Home Edit experts, who compare tidying up with practising meditation. They’re not far off – the 80/20 rule is pretty similar to a Japanese concept called hara hachi bu, which refers to never letting your stomach get fuller than 80 per cent in order to allow for healthy digestion and space for pleasurable whims. It’s a concept that can be replicated in almost any other aspect of your life – including leaving extra space in your home to “breathe” and for unforeseen events and objects. It’s a form of self-care! In the case of home organisation, the 80/20 rule really does help avoid the stress. One, because you always know where your things are, and two, because you’re less likely to get into an argument about who put what where.

Categories and containers

Devotees of this method insist that one of the advantages of 80/20 organising is to avoid the stress of not being able to find things. In addition, they say it is super easy to maintain if you follow other rules such as editing and categorising what you own. Like: using hangers and containers for closets, cabinets, pantries, and drawers.

Of course, it is important to check all of your storage spaces from time to time to get rid of what hasn’t been used for long periods and ensure that 20 per cent of those spaces are still clutter-free. To that end, experts recommend organising little by little each day and dedicating each day to just one category. (For example: on Tuesday, you could just do your sock drawer; not your whole closet.)

Keeping 20 per cent of your spaces clear is great for mental health, as psychologist Laura Palomares explains: “The fact that the space is more open and has fewer stimuli brings calm and concentration. Letting go and getting rid of what we don’t need ends up being liberating and generates a feeling of control and mental order.”

I can attest. Leaving a margin of free space has brought much-needed serenity and order to my life – and to my brain.

This article originally appeared on Vogue (Spain).



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