How to Stop Organizing Forever
How to Stop Organizing Forever
It may seem crazy to say it, but you really should STOP organizing. I’m not saying you should live in a disorganized mess or that your home should be chaotic. It’s actually the opposite really. You deserve a calm, peaceful, cozy, and relaxing home. But…organizing is NOT the answer. Keep reading to see how to stop organizing forever and what to do instead.
The organizing industry has taken over the world by storm. From The Container Store to Target, there are no shortages of clever ways to keep your items neat and orderly. The problem is that these “solutions” do not get to the heart of the matter.
Instead of keeping piles and heaps of things lined up in neat rows, we really need to look at the items in our lives and see if they are serving us.
Often, when we take a minute to look around, we find that we are serving our things. We line them up. We stack things neatly. We label like crazy. However, the house is always needing to be cleaned and we clutter our brains with thoughts of our things.
How Much Stuff Do You Need to Be Happy?
I was once in your shoes. And to be honest, I do have a storage unit back in Chicago that I need to deal with. But, for the past 8 months, my family has been traveling Europe. We loved it so much, and have always dreamed of speaking more than one language, that we are settling in Munich to engross ourselves in the culture and learn to speak German. Our things (mostly furniture and sentimental items) are in a storage unit but we probably own less than 30% of the average American family.
It amazes me on a daily basis how little we need to be happy. Instead of things, we choose to spend our time exploring new cities, meeting new people, and learning new things. If we had owned a large home filled with stuff, packing up to travel the world would have felt impossible.
And, yes…we are traveling with a child. She is 5 and no…she does not have a ton of toys. Watching her be creative and make things out of cardboard boxes has been really cool.
Instead of organizing, we decluttered. And you can too!
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How to Stop Organizing and Declutter Your Stuff Instead
Sounds great, but where do you start? There are several great resources available to start your journey to decluttering. If you have Netflix, the new Marie Kondo show is a great inspiration. It’s refreshing to see someone so passionate about clean, uncluttered spaces. Her book is great too and has inspired many people to seek out what brings them joy. Another book I recommend is Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki.
Both books are available on Audible for free if you have a subscription. (p.s. Amazon is offering Little Green Bow readers Audible for free for your first 30 days! Click here to get your free month of Audible)
First Step to Stop Organizing and Start Decluttering
Surprisingly, the first step in decluttering is not looking at what you own. Instead it is thinking about the life you want to live and getting really clear on that vision. Are you a sporty family? Do you love to travel together? Is your home the gathering and entertaining home for your friend group? By knowing the purpose your home serves, you can start making the choices that serve you better in the long run.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How do we use our home?
- What do we like to do?
- What do I see our lives like in 5 years?
- If I could waive a magic wand, what would my ideal day look like?
You need to get really clear on these answers. Decluttering is not an easy process and when you hit a bump in the road, you will need to look to this vision to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Stop Organizing Your Items and Sort
Now that you know how you want to live your life, it is time to take a look at your things. My favorite way to do this is to sort everything into a yes and no pile.
The no pile are the items you know immediately that you are ready to toss, donate, or sell. You have grown beyond these items and know they no longer serve the vision of the life you want.
Your yes pile is a bit trickier. Just because an item lands in the yes pile, does not mean you will keep it. These items need more consideration.
One hint here: If your family is on board, fantastic! This is a great process to do together. If they are not on board, you will need to set the example. You can sort and declutter for yourself and any children under the age of 5, but it is not recommended you declutter for another adult or older children as the process can backfire if they do not agree with you. Another good inspiration show to watch together is Consumed on Netflix.
Declutter Your Yes Pile
Now is the time to go back to your yes pile and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it spark joy? (Marie Kondo’s favorite question)
- Does the item serve you and the vision for your future self?
- Is the item used often or are you keeping it for a “rainy day”?
If the answer is an immediate yes, you should keep the item and put it off to the side (I call this my definite pile). If the answer is no, thank the item for serving you and set it in a pile to donate.
Find a Home for Your Decluttered Items
Once the previous steps are complete, you should be left only with items that make you happy and help you move toward the vision you set of your best life. Now, it’s time to put them away so you can get on with enjoying your life. The best practice here is to put your things away where you will actually use them.
You also want to have only one place where each type of item is. That means one place for clothes, one place for first-aid supplies, one place for books, one place for games, etc.
By having one place for each type if item, you will stop wasting time looking for something and your brain will become less cluttered as you learn where each item is located. It will take less time and energy to find what you are looking for which you can use for something else.
And what’s really cool is that time and energy compounds making everything just a little bit easier.
Put Decluttering Into Practice Instead of Organizing
The best time to start is now! And if you found this post you were obviously looking for something to help you move past the mountain of items you need to organize.
I’m not gonna lie…it’s a big project to undertake.
You will not finish it in an hour, a day, or maybe even a month depending on how much stuff you have. But, if you keep working at it, you will finish. And if I’m honest, that is my favorite part of decluttering. There is an end.
Organizing is an endless pursuit of keeping stuff neat and tidy, but it is a band-aid to a larger problem. Decluttering gets to the heart of the matter and leaves you with a home that feels right. Your things start working for you and you have the space to breathe and grow into the person you been dreaming of.
I am so excited to see where this process takes you. I’d love to be your accountability partner and help you through it.
If you’d like me to come on the journey with you, why not sign up for my 7-Day Decluttering Challenge? It will walk you through some really important topics like:
- The difference between minimizing and organizing
- Why minimalism is not one size fits all (and you don’t have to live in a sparse all-white house)
- How to let go of the clutter for good and ways to keep it out
- Guide to decluttering each room in your home
- How to declutter the hard things like photos, keepsakes and mementos
- Working through your emotions as you say goodbye to your things
Please pin this for reference or share with friends who you’d like to join you on this journey.