SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE

Our Stuff

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff! We collect and accumulate even though we are overwhelmed and feeling buried under it all. How did we get to this place? Many paths can lure us here--fear, anxiety, pride, inheritance, addiction, insecurity, greed or just a lack of vision and purpose. We think our stuff will fill us where we feel empty, but it just leaves us hungering for more.

We all have a haunting ache for a simpler life with fewer complications, more peace, more joy, and more freedom. Yet we also have an addictive attraction to MORE. We live our lives right in the middle of too much...We’re not even sure we know what is extraneous and what is necessary.
— Alice Gray

The Cost of Clutter

And our clutter costs us a lot more than space alone. We pay in time, money, health, effectiveness, and relationships. There is a high cost to clutter.

I've found that most women are more than willing to let stuff go, they just need a little encouragement and, often, some hands-on help. But it feels good to let the extraneous go, like a burden rolling off our back. Anne Morrow Lindberg wrote, "I came to understand the serene secret to truly enjoying life. It is figuring out how little one can get along with, not how much."

Choose the Best

Our resources--time, money, space, energy--are limited. We want to surround ourselves and fill our lives with what we love the best, what we are passionate about, what is most important to us. There's not enough room for everything, so we have to be choosy!

So, as you look at your space and all that is in it, ask yourself, "Do I love it? Do I need it? Is it significant to me?" If you can't answer "yes" to one of these questions, it might be time to let it go. Maybe it needs to go in the trash or to goodwill. Or maybe you can share it with someone who will love it, someone who does need it.

Think It Through

An important fact to realize is that getting organized requires a lot of thinking. If you skip the thinking part, and just dive in to a project, you will probably get overwhelmed, sidetracked and frustrated. Narrow your organizing project to one space. Choose a space that is not too overwhelming. Focus on a project that will make a big difference in your day-to-day experience of life. Once you've decided on an area, ask yourself what is working and what is not working? Take notes. Be specific about how you want to use that space, what you want it to look like. Once you've determined your purpose(s) and boundaries for that space, you are ready to begin.

The 5-Step Process

I teach clients to follow a five-step process for organizing anything and everything, whether it's your purse or your garage. I use the acronym SPACE. This stands for:

S = SORT

P = PURGE

A = ASSIGN

C = CONTAINERIZE

E = EVALUATE

Let's take a brief look at these five steps.

First, SORT. You'll want to go through the entire space and every item in it! You must evaluate every item and ask yourself if it belongs based on your new purpose for the space. If it does, set it in a cleared area of the room for things that are staying. If it doesn't, put it in an appropriate bin. It's helpful to have a bin for each of the following categories: trash, donate, elsewhere, ask about, recycle.  Ask yourself, "Do I love it? Do I need it? Does it have significant value to me?"

Once you've sorted through each item, you will PURGE the items that don't belong. Take the trash out. Put the donate items in your car. Move the elsewhere items where they belong or put them in a holding zone somewhere else for now until you can find a place for them. Don't get distracted or frustrated by other areas. Stick with this one area until you are finished, even if it takes weeks.

Now you are left with only the items that belong in your project space. You'll need to ASSIGN a home for the items that are staying. Will they go in bins or on bookshelves? Do they need to be hung up on hangers or stored under a bed? Will they go on a desk or in drawer?

Next you will CONTAINERIZE. You may need to look around your house or shop at this time. You may need to find some furniture items (a bed for a guestroom, a desk and bookshelf for an office, etc.). Maybe you have something around the house that would work perfectly! When you do shop, make sure you take a notebook with a list detailing items needed, their purpose, the quantity needed and the dimensions needed. Don't try to guess at whether a basket will fit on a bookshelf, have your measurements with you.

After you've put everything into it's proper place, you will need to EVALUATE. During this time you will want to take note of what you might need to tweak or what you missed. You'll also want to maintain your organization by regularly putting things away. Always do what you can NOW rather than letting things pile up for LATER. Remember, systems work, but they don't do the work!

Enjoy the Results!

You've worked hard and now you can enjoy the benefits of your investment. You will probably be motivated to keep going. When you're ready for another project, just start again and repeat the process. Contact me if I can help you in any way.