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Both of my parents are extremely well organized people. I sailed through my childhood and adolescence totally oblivious to that fact. I guess I thought everything fell into place by itself!
Then I left home at 21 and discovered that I had no idea how to manage my life and home. It came as quite a shock. Over the past 35 years I have slowly learned some organizational skills. It has been a difficult journey in many ways. For years I read all kinds of book and tried every system out there from Fly Lady to Side Tracked Home Executives.
Nothing worked. I longed to create the calm home of my childhood, but it always seemed just out of reach. Then I realized that running after the perfect system would never work for me. Something had to shift. It was time to follow my own heart and find my own way to the order and simplicity I craved.
It is Possible
Today I want to encourage those of you who are struggling to find some semblance of an organized life. I want to tell you that it is possible and it isn’t as hard as you might imagine. Over the next three weeks I will share three basic steps that helped me develop my own system of organization.
Step one is letting go
One of the biggest obstacles to an organized life is “too much.” We have too much stuff to coral, too many commitments to juggle, and a whole whack of mental clutter that weighs us down.
I found the best way to organize my life was to let go of the excess. Once I did that it was much easier to organize what was left.
Not sure what to let go first? Here are some ideas
- Newspaper or magazine subscription that you no longer read.
- Toys that don’t get used
- Duplicate toys (how many soft toys/cars/crayons do you need?)
- Books that have not been picked up in a year
- The e-mails cluttering up your in box
- Craft supplies that are collecting dust
- Clothes, shoes, jewellery that are not being worn
- Out-dated cosmetics and medical supplies
- Volunteer work that does not energize you
- Activities that no longer spark joy
- The good dishes that never get used
Where to Start?
Remember that letting go is a journey. Pick one or two areas in your life that need organization. Perhaps it is your closet, the toys, your e-mail inbox, or your overfull schedule. Do what you need to let go.
- Give away
- Gracefully withdraw
When you have finished letting go stop for a moment. Rejoice and enjoy the lightness. Notice how much easier it is to manage that small part of your life. Then pick another area, and press on. Every step forward (no matter how small) is a step closer to your goal and is cause for celebration.
Resources to help
Laura Spawn is a simplicity blogger and has created a five day decluttering course for you and it’s FREE! It includes reading material, downloadable worksheets and a suggested action item to help you with the process of decluttering. Sign up to receive it here.
If you are trying walk this journey with kids, mother of four minimalism with kids.offers practical advice to
Need some help taming the toy mess? Try getting rid of some of them and organize a simple toy rotation.
Looking to move from cluttered to clean? Robert Wall publishes all kinds of helpful decluttering articles that can help. I would particularly advise you to follow him on Twitter where he tweets about decluttering and organizing several times a day.
Do you crave an e-mail account with an empty inbox? Read this how to by Ellen Bard.
Finding it hard to let go with ease? Try this three-step process by Courtney Carver.
Now it’s Your Turn
What is one area of your life that you wished were more organized? What do you need to release in order to manage that part of your life better? What baby steps could you take to begin the process of letting go? Leave you thoughts in the comments below.
Want to read about the next two steps?
Step 2 is here
Step 3 is here