“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace” -Robert J Sawyer
My first resolution was about re-organizing my most prominent and productive spaces. And in general, I have striven to free the majority of my spaces from clutter and disorganization, from the closet to the home office.
But my next and far more difficult resolution is about keeping it that way, and that’s what I need to tackle next. How do you keep the clutter clear?
Because no matter how good a job you do finally getting your space all perfectly neat and organized, the hard part comes after as you try to keep it that way. Like many of you, I definitely have days when I’m just too tired to put in the extra effort to put that shirt away instead of tossing it on the floor, or keep all my paperwork together. And then there’s the frequent consumerist temptation to accumulate even more stuff on top of all that.
So we’ve got to be prepared to continue tackling the Chaos ongoing.
When laziness kicks in, I at least know that my space is set up in a way that is easy to maintain. So I don’t have to reach far to put that shirt away. And each bit of loose paperwork has a spot for it or a cute container on the desk where it can be put quickly.
When temptation hits, I now ask myself: “Will I definitely use this for something immediate and/or important?” I will only buy an article of clothing if I can decide on a specific situation to wear it that is coming up immediately and/or is of great importance.
With that, I’ve implemented a new rule of thumb. I will let myself purchase no more than 3 total items per shopping trip. That way, when I come home with my new purchases, I can hold on to the excitement of each item and remember to use each for something immediate or important.
If I buy too many items at once, then most of them end up immediately folded in my drawers, mixed up with the older pieces, and then I won’t remember which ones are new and still need special attention. So those new unworn items just become another forgotten part of the greater closet, and lose their purpose for being bought in the first place.
True, this is a resolution that will never really be complete. For as long as I continue to accumulate more stuff, or even take out and use the stuff I already have, there will be a need to continue putting things away without creating clutter.
But it is a resolution worth making. And one I intend to keep.
So with that, I’ll leave you with one more tip – a useful mantra I personally stand by:
If less is more, then more is less.
There are diminishing marginal returns from each additional piece of unnecessary, commercialized crap you consume. The larger the shopping cart you bring home, the less attention each individual piece will get, and the less and less satisfied each item will make you feel (and the less happy your wallet will be).
Money can’t buy happiness, remember?
Here’s to keeping the clutter clear!