Let's Get Organized
It's a new year, time to clear out the clutter. Let's face it, most of us have an abundance of stuff! If we are honest with ourselves, we could all do with a bit of clearing out. Maybe you have an attic or spare room that you utilize for the overflow. Or your garage is used for things other than vehicles. Let's take a journey together and let go of the things we no longer want, need or use, things that weigh us down. It's time to purge our possessions! Own your stuff, don't let your stuff own you...
You may be reading this article and none of this applies to you because you are a minimalist, but for the majority of us, we can all use a little help. The longer we live the more we acquire. More stuff requires more energy to care for it, which in turn takes more time, something that is not infinite in our world. There are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, so many weeks in a month and so it goes. Time and energy are limited, let's use them wisely.
Why do we hold on to things? Could it be we are holding on to the past? Or maybe we keep things we think we might need 'someday'. The reality is, you aren't living in the present in either of those situations. We need to live in the moment. Be present in all that you do, even activities like chores. How many times do we find ourselves going through life on autopilot; whether it's cooking, eating, working, exercising, on our electronics, etc.? Later we might find we weren't present for the actual activity.
"A place for everything and everything in it's place"
Samuel Smiles, Mrs. Isabella Beeton and Benjamin Franklin are all associated with this quote.
Regardless of who said it, it is true! If our stuff doesn't have a determined place to be, it will potentially be anywhere and everywhere! So, we must designate a place for all of our things in order to avoid chaos. I have a few of those 'someday' items. The problem is we forget we have them or lose them in the fray and end up buying what we need anyway. It would be better to donate the items we really have no use for, even if we might 'someday'! Someone else might actually have a use for them today! If we can get the two together, we may help someone else consume less and avoid adding to our landfills.
How do we start? One item at a time. Break down big jobs into smaller ones. Decide what you'd like to organize first. Is it your kitchen? Include your pantry and throw away expired foods. Go through one drawer or cabinet at a time. Eliminate what you do not use. You will know what that is. We always go for our favorite pan, utensil, or 'fill in the blank', when we cook.
If you are holding onto something that is broken, throw it away! If you have an item you do not use, give it away! If you are keeping an item, put it away! If you do not have a place for something, pass it on. It means you do not have room for it. Designate a set amount of time for the task, whether you complete it in one fell swoop or you spend a few minutes on it each day. Do it every day until it's completed.
Repeat this process with each room. As with kitchen equipment, your clothes are no different. How many articles of clothing are you holding on to that you never wear? Go through them and try them on. Our bodies change and so do styles! It may not fit as it once did, or you may no longer like a certain article of clothing. I recently did this and found this to be true. Again, if they are worn out, throw them away, but if someone can use them, donate them to a thrift store, or a shelter who helps people get back on their feet after a difficult time in their lives. It will feel good to help those in need and you gain space and freedom in your home! Don't forget to go through your footwear, handbags and jewelry!
Throw stuff away, give stuff away, put stuff away. What are you grateful for? People and the memories you have or the items in your life? That's not to say you aren't grateful for the blessings that you have, but we should evaluate why we hold onto things. Maybe it was gifted to you or passed down from someone dear to you. These are a little harder for some of us. If guilt is the driver here, you need to let it go. Take a picture of the item, so you'll have your memory, but you'll no longer hold on to something you do not need, want or have room for. If you know somebody who could use it and would love to have it, pass it on to them and make two people happy!
Remember to give them freedom to pass it on when they are through with it. No strings attached! Another avenue for giving away items is https://buynothingproject.org/. If you have items you would like to sell, try https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/, https://offerup.com/, or https://www.craigslist.org.
Look around with a critical eye. Go through your living space. Throw away the broken and worn items immediately. Go through each room. Bathrooms, bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, living room, playroom, attic, basement and garage, any room you have that holds your possessions. Think of books; (are you really going to read that book again), clothes, games, knick-knacks, kitchenware, linens, tools, even furniture! When you have a pile to donate, put it in your car, or call for a pick up if it's too big for you to take yourself.
Follow through until the job is done and it's not done until you actually complete the process by giving it a new home! When you finish organizing a project, whether it's a closet, a room, the garage or the whole house, you will feel fantastic! Celebrate the victory! Treat yourself to a coffee or something that brings you joy! It feels wonderful to get your freedom back! Space, time and energy, that's what's taken from you when your stuff owns you. A habit you should employ daily is to make your bed when you arise, clean your sink of dishes and put your things away every night before bed. Start with a clean slate, it feels oh so good!
Now that you have defeated the chaos monster, relax and and spend time doing the things you enjoy! Treat yourself to a much needed massage! You've certainly earned one!