Straightening and Organizing

I was looking around today and realizing that I’ve got more of a handle on my stuff. Its quite amazing because for years I felt like a I was drowning in things. There was so just so much I didn’t feel like an owner I felt like a lion tamer or a hoarder. I actively hated my stuff at times. I would have long weekends of purging. Trying to get rid of enough of it that I could feel lighter better and more in control. But no matter how much I tried, and how many hours I invested, I still had too much and I still had no idea what to do with it all. I read a lot of books about organizing and eventually through trial and error started making progress.

The advice that seemed to help the most was from two different places that combined to help me understand my relationship to stuff.  One book compared unmade decisions to debt. As in that if you don’t take the time to make decisions and just put them off until later you accrue decision debt and eventually decisions pile up and look scary monstrous and you can’t take care of them. Along the same lines was a book that talked about straightening as you go; essentially putting things back where they belong, as you use them. In some sense the ideas merged in my head and something clicked.

I started paying attention to when I didn’t put things away. It surprised me how lazy I was. I always dropped my clothes where I took them off and because of it, I was always tripping over shoes and clothes and loosing socks when I tried to do my laundry. It happened in the kitchen too. I would use things and leave them. Then two seconds later when I needed the counter space it would be full, causing me frustration.

So I started making the extra step to put dirty clothes in my hamper at night and my shoes away in the closet. It was a whole lot safer in my room at night and it wasn’t particularly difficult.

I also started putting things away in the kitchen when I was done with them. It was very helpful, and again not that taxing so I started doing more. Instead of waiting for the dishes to pile up, I washed them in the dead times while things were cooking. I wiped up spills as they happened instead of waiting until they were dried on. Again I found this more beneficial than taxing.

What surprised me was that this small change made more of a difference with my stuff than any of the major overhauls that I had done over the years to manage my things.

And after I made these changes I saw the ways that I was putting off decisions and making things harder on myself. I started to make those decisions and suddenly my stuff was being put away where I wanted and used it and now after using this process for years my house is organized. It may not be altogetherly clean, but it is manageable.   In a way I think learning how much work things really are, and paying the price, made me more aware of whether I really wanted them in my life. Because before I had just ignored them like a scary credit debt and let them terrorize me.

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