Organizing Is Easier After Minimizing

Dated: October 6 2021

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We are a culture drowning in possessions.

We take in more and more at an unprecedented rate (holidays, birthdays, sales, Amazon). But rarely do we make commitments to discard possessions as quickly as they accumulate. As a result, our homes fill with stuff.

Often, the proposed solution to this increased abundance of personal possessions is to search for better organizational tools, skills, or ideas. We think:

If I just had the right container, this stuff wouldn’t feel like clutter.

If I just knew the right way to store these, it would be easier to use this cabinet.

If my kids or spouse were better at cleaning up, this house wouldn’t feel so disheveled all the time.

Or how about this one?

If I just had a bigger place, my home wouldn’t feel so cluttered all the time.

In each and every case, and in countless other scenarios, we fall into a trap. The thought trap is this: If I could just organize my stuff better, the clutter issue and stress would be gone.

This thinking is a result of the culture we live in. Keep in mind that we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and marketing messages to purchase more and more. Virtually every advertisement promises a better, happier, or more convenient life on the other side of this purchase.

We buy things because we believe they will improve our life, not distract from it. Taking a step back to realize the things we’ve bought are not contributing to a better life requires an almost 180-degree turn from what we’ve been told. Even worse, it requires us to admit we were wrong. It’s easier to think we were right when we bought the items…we just need a better way to store them.

So we hold stubbornly to the belief that all this stuff will make our lives better if we keep it and organize it somehow.

Now, there is nothing wrong with organizing our stuff. I recommend it highly, even producing an entire issue of this magazine dedicated to the topic. But there is an important truth that we need to embrace:

Organizing better may not be the final answer. It might not even be the first answer.

Organizing your stuff becomes simpler when you own less stuff. Or, like I said in the title, organizing is always easier after minimizing. In fact, a lot of times, once we own less, organizing almost seems to take care of itself.

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Colleen LaChapelle

Colleen LaChapelle is an agent with the right balance of hustle and experience. A trusted resource for all things related to real estate, and beyond. Colleen began her real estate career as an inves....

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