Organizing doesn't work. You have to own less stuff.

I remember a time when my bedroom was the catch-all.  I had a career, kids and various volunteer efforts so anything I didn't have time to deal with got stuck on the end of a dresser or shoved in a closet.  (I closed the door when people came over.)

My space is so different now. 

At some point, I realized I was never going to do-that-craft, read-that-book, sew-up-those-jeans, iron-that-shirt or sort-those-papers.  Should I have done that stuff? Maybe. But it wasn't a priority. (Which is why it was never getting done.) By donating the things-that-must-be-ironed, half-read books, craft materials and shredding the papers, I gained what I really desperately needed which was breathing room.

Instead of stacks taunting me, there was the beauty of space.  And that was worth far more than the stuff I gave up.

The thing is before learning to purge I would try to organize. And while I would create beautiful spaces and perhaps even blog about it, it never lasted. The only way to diminish the decision fatigue of sorting through things (not to mention time spent organizing and re-organizing) is to intentionally choose to own less.

Purging what you don't use is emotionally harder than you might think, but there is an emotional cost to ownership too, and when you tackle the challenge of letting things go it frees up resources like space, time and money.

Some of the best advice I was given was from the Fly Lady, who recommends purging at just 15 minutes at a time. In 15 minutes, you can tackle a single drawer, a shelf, a dresser top. (Set a timer if you need to.)

I will say this.  Minimalism gets easier the more practice you get at it. And--best of all? You get to define what minimalism looks like in your life. (There are no minimalism police.)


Side note: With regard to the organizing blog post, eventually, I was only using two drawers in that dresser. I bought a couple of pretty boxes for my closet to hold those items and gave the dresser to John.  His got a new home after sitting out on the curb for a few hours.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall