The most important key to organizing anything

Getting and staying organized does not have to be a difficult feat. I know reading that might make it seem as though I am negating some of the struggle you have with what can often be a large endeavor. But in fact, I think it is more unhelpful to write about the organizing process as daunting because I think it sticks in your head. And it makes what is so necessary to creating a home and therefore a life you love feel impossible.

Or at least not easily possible.

I think it is important to embrace the need for organizing not from a place of fear, but from a place of possibility.

To get organized, it takes some time. And I promise if you put a concerted effort into being deliberate in the choices you make on what you really like, need, and use in your space, that staying organized won’t take time. But it will give you a sense of having more time.

What you need to stay organized are some good tidying habits and storage solutions. Once you have those, things will feel easy. Yes, I said easy. There is an ease to how you “do” your life when you aren’t constantly navigating in your home or head the things that don’t serve you well.

To get to that ease you have to do more than “organize” your stuff. It is great to have those storage solutions but they will break down in a hot minute is you don’t implore the most important key to organizing anything.

The key is minimizing.

If you want to feel what being organized brings you — calm, on time, less stressed, relaxed — you have to minimize, first. Minimizing – also known as purging, letting go, discarding, donating – has to be part of any organizing endeavor. Without it, you are simply containing things.

There is one very big problem in doing that. If you do not minimize and just contain things you’ll get stuffed, and fast. It doesn’t matter if everything is in nice, clear containers and specifically labeled. Eventually containing more and more stuff becomes too much. Too much always equals clutter, and with it overwhelm, confusion, misdirection, fatigue.

Life is fluid! Things change. Spaces change, and what we keep in those spaces can become heavy with new fashions, new technologies, and new projects and ventures.

If you don’t minimize before you organize, everything new gets put on top of everything that is old. And then everything that is old is never seen or used.

What is the point of keeping things like that?

A straightforward way to minimize and make progress is to ask yourself some questions about your stuff to help you get clear on what you like, need and use. When you do, you’ll gain a good sense of what you are organizing, storing, and subsequently tidying up as you move forward.

That will help you keep your space light. It will also help your keep a finger on the pulse of what really matters in your life. That is important stuff, especially if you want to actually love your life, function efficiently in it, and more deliberately take ownership, literally, of its direction.

The reality is this:

Too much stuff crowds and confuses.

Not enough clear space leaves you overwhelmed and stressed, unsure of your next move.

An overcrowded mind, home, heart, creates a sense of impossibility – that you are unable to do what is necessary to make changes or live free.

Too much keeps you stuck.

To get out of it, you have to minimize.

You have to do the work of thinking about and sorting through stuff, and then deciding on whether it matters, on whether it has a place in your space or informs your life positively.

Making decisions through the minimizing process can be difficult because making them can conjure up emotions like loss, fear, sadness. But those feelings signal you are on the right path. If something evokes those feelings then you have an answer to the questions: Does this serve me? Will it make me feel happy or fill my space with joy?

You will realize more easily that when you let it go, you can open yourself up to more of the things that will make you happy, that will serve you.

Minimizing is a life-affirming act and an ace in the hole to organize anything. You can call the process daunting or overwhelming or you can choose to see all the possibilities available to you when you let go and lighten up, first.  And make space in your head and your home for what matters most.

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