I can’t believe I am saying this but here goes nothing: I almost hate the word “organization”.
Okay, I don’t hate organization as in “let’s get organized”. I am just wary of using the word to describe the process attaining what I think people really want. They want a feeling, really.
They want clarity and calm.
And that is what is waiting on the other side of clutter and overwhelm. People want the opportunity for well-being that is born out of that clarity and calm. They want the freedom to move in their space and that sense of preparedness in how they manage their life.
What people really want is to feel free. Yes, they want things to be tidy and neat and put away. They want systems in place and a sense of calm to replace chaos and noise. But what I think people really want is to feel all that is available when you can find what you need, when you need it.
They want, more often, to feel and be less stressed and frustrated.
Organization – that word – doesn’t accurately portray what you need to do in order to feel all of that.
The truth is that clarity and calm can only be found when you edit what you own. Not necessarily when you organize it.
Having an understanding of what you own, and perhaps seeing that you have enough is found when you pare things down.
Whatever you want to call it. Either way, it doesn’t start with organization. It starts with minimalization.
In fact, to feel all of those feels you must minimize first.
You see, we focus on the word organization because of the promise that the word evokes. The promise of lightness and clarity and calm I just talked about. That everything will be perfectly in place, perhaps. But the reality is if you organize “too much” stuff you still have too much. And too much will never bring you long-term, sustainable lightness and clarity, and calm.
The physical and mental weight of organizing “too much” will be too much to keep up with. It will become a burden if it isn’t already.
When you minimize first you not only make mental and physical space but you feel the benefit of realizing you have enough. You can see that you don’t need “more” and importantly, you can see why. When you minimize first you get such a specific sense of what you own and because you feel satisfied in knowing that you own only what serves a purpose – that which you like, need and use – that light feeling multiplies and emanates outward.
When you minimize first you open yourself up to experience, create, and be more of who you want to be without so many physical and mental obstacles.
It prevents you from constantly navigating through the muck, the weight of the thoughts, things, and even sometimes people who clutter and distract you from doing and being more.
And while perfect is not something you can achieve, minimizing allows you to more easily manage, oversee, deal with the inherent ebb and flow of things that come (and go) in your life. So the feeling that “perfect” evokes is felt even in the presence of life’s imperfections.
You can almost embrace and appreciate those imperfections more because life, in general, doesn’t feel so heavy and taxing.
And then guess what? You get to organize.
You get to put into place the systems that allow you to see and use and enjoy what you own. And you get to adopt healthy lifestyle routines and practices more easily because with life feeling lighter, “healthy living” will feel more doable. In fact, organization is an imperative, in my book, if you want to live healthy and well.
And it can be fun! You can buy the containers and bins and supplies that feel good to you. And see more clearly where things can be stored for better efficiency.
But it comes after. Minimizing and editing your space is the tool to use to get down to what is really essential, what you will organize. When you do get down to what matters, to what is useful and needed, organization is your aid to functioning sanely while living intentionally.
Be clear on what you want for and how you want to feel in your life. And be clear on what you really need in order to achieve it.