It’s been my experience that most people, not everyone, but most people have more possessions than they need, to live a full and vibrant life. At least 90% have more possessions than they can get any benefit from, and even more than they believe are important.
People often say, “I have so much stuff that’s unimportant, I can’t get to the stuff that is important”. Simplifying means eliminating anything that’s not serving you. It means asking yourself the question, “should it stay? or should it go?”.
Does it support whats important in my life?
Or does it get in the way of what’s important in my life?
I call it simplifying because eliminating unneeded items, makes the organising process, and life in general, more simple. It’s easier to organise, access, maintain, clean, keep track of and uses the smaller number of items than larger.
It is possible to keep everything you have and just arrange it so you can find everything, however simplifying is an important part of the organising process.
Simplify, simplify, our life is frittered away by detail. — Henry David Theroux
I was deeply touched by a client named Nicci* when I asked her to look at what was really important in her life, it became very clear, that she was passionate about being able to spend time and share activities with her family, which included 2 young children. It brought a tear to her eye, when she described that the 90 boxes of stuff in her garage were interfering with that.
The time she spent looking for things was taking away from the time she could spend with her children. Also, even when she was enjoying herself with family, the image of the unpleasant situation in the garage and her unhappiness with it, was always in the back of her mind.
It was unfinished business that become a burden to her and interfered with her ability to enjoy herself. I was honoured to support her in a tremendous amount of simplifying. Through this process she felt lighter, more positive and more empowered to act on her passions.
Simplifying can be easy and fun, especially when you’re in touch with your goals and what is truly important in your life. It can also be very satisfying to know that the it maybe of tremendous benefit to someone else.
Frank LLoyd Wright, America’s most famous architect, said something similar. Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful..
Those are some very broad, general guidelines, and I’d like to offer some more specific suggestions to help you decide if something should stay or go. The following characteristics indicate that a possession may be right for simplifying;
The object as is, is unusable, it is broken or doesn’t work.
Now perhaps you have the idea, that you may fix it someday, this an example of what I call a project. Something in which you must invest time, effort, money or all of these before you can get any benefit from the possession. I’ll take specifically about projects in a future blog post.
It is not being used.
Objects like muscles, tend to atrophy from lack of use.
It is out of date or obsolete.
For example, old computer equipment may no longer be usable. Information about getting a real estate loan from 2006 will no longer be useful because that industry and regulations governing it have change so much over the last few years.
Its also been my experience, that having an out of date map can sometimes be worse than having no map at all. An out of date map can actually give you incorrect information, whereas if you didn’t have that map, you would be forced to get the information from a more current source, like asking for directions or using na online map program.
It contains only information accessible by other source.
Pronounce websites are a great example of this. If you let go of the paper you can still access the information. Furthermore a paper printout is never updated and may get out of date, while the corresponding website is more likely to be updated and therefore have accurate information.
It is redundant with other possessions.
If you’re disorganised you may have a situation where you have bought something or you already own one just like it. Either it was easier to buy a new one, then find the one you already have, or perhaps you forgot that you already own it. In any case, when you get organised, it’s common to find redundant belongings, like 10 staplers for example.
It no longer matches your taste, your decor, or your lifestyle.
For example you might have a light fixture which doesn’t look good in your current residence, you may have rock climbing equipment but have no intention of going rock climbing again.
It has relatively low value
Compared with everything else going on your life and all the other stuff that you have.
A lot of the criteria for simplifying that I have given so far, are characteristics of the possession itself. But beyond that, you also want to look at your relationship with the possession or your opinion of it.
Here are 3 good questions to ask yourself
- First, does it support whats important in your life, for example, it might enable you to do activities that are important to you, it might empower you to reach goals you want to reach.
- Second, does it uplift you, in other words, do you love it? Does it bring you joy? Does it may your heart sign? Does it make you feel good about yourself?
- Third, if it was gone from your life, what’s the worst thing that could happen as a result? This could range from, “I would never miss it” to “I would deeply regret that it’s gone”.
In the next stage of The Three “S’s” of Organising we will be looking into the second “S” which is Sort.