Minimalism: The Terror of Getting Organized.

It’s spring.  You’re determined to take a hold of your life and start cleaning out everything from your closets, to your car, to the garage, to your fridge.  Oh, what a relief it is!  Time to tackle a cluttered mess and re-organize everything into labeled boxes, drawer separators, and shoe racks.  You’ve put in days of work cleaning and organizing; you step back and admire the beauty that is your color-coded closet.

Fast-forward a few months, a few weeks, or maybe even a few days, and it’s all gone to shit.  Why?  Why has your effort to re-organize completely barfed on itself the moment you needed to retrieve something from those bins?  Why can’t you put things back where they belong?

The answer?

You fell victim to re-organizing. 

I am no stranger to this negative feedback loop.  I bought into every closet organizer, shelving system, and colorful box that promised to disguise the excess.  A few times a year I would have to implement the system again; it never stuck.  I couldn’t keep my things organized. I often wondered how other people kept their things so aesthetically pleasing.  I was drowning in clutter and collections.  Organizing created a false sense of control and when I couldn’t keep up, I felt failure.  The state of my bedroom was my largest source of stress.  I wasn’t entirely conscious of it, which made it worse.  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t keep things neat.  I lost sleep over it and I was an anxious wreck cleaning before I had company.  I was spending money on things to hide my things!

Re-organizing and re-arranging are synonymous.  Don’t be fooled; one is not more productive than the other.  Grouping your belongings and disguising them in pretty boxes will only bury stress deeper into your subconscious.  Sitting pretty on a shelf, that stuff is still there ready to explode when you go to retrieve something you need.

The answer?

Stop wasting your energy rearranging stuff you don’t use.  Get rid of it.  Donate it! Give it to a friend!  Recycle it! 

Minimize it.  Simply moving your belongings around won’t change anything.  You need to free up space to free yourself. 

Consider the following:

  • Which of my items make me happy?
  • Have I used this in the last year?
  • Does this have a function?
  • Could someone else use this?
  • Did I even know this was buried in this box?

It’s not going to happen in a day.  It may take months to see which of your belongings you use and love.  Be mindful.  Also, realize that what’s joyful and functional for you may not be for others and vice versa.  There is no set rule about how many things you should own to be considered a minimalist. People who have this idea are restricting themselves, and in the end, they’re still only obsessed with things, or lack thereof!  They’ve fallen for the fad, not the lifestyle.  It’s about finding meaning in your life through relationships, hobbies, and experience, not in material objects.  Minimize the excess and feel the weight lift off your shoulders.

Thanks for listening!

-Amanda Maria








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