Too Much Stuff? Choose Simplicity

In more than 30 years of working as a Professional Organizer, it is still apparent to me that most of us have too much stuff. Even when we take time to purge, there’s still too much. Recent travels through 12 western states and two Canadian provinces brought this to my attention more profoundly. We saw mini-storage facilities in nearly every town we went through (mostly on roads less traveled).  From my point of view, too many people are willing to pay way too much to store stuff they have no room for in their living quarters. This has prompted me to declare a theme for the coming year of SIMPLICITY! If this is something that calls to you, here’s a process that could help all of us let go and lighten up.


Select motivating words that help you decide what to let go of and what to keep. As you look at each item, for example, and you want Simplicity, Joy and Peace of Mind in your life, you might ask yourself, “Does keeping this support my desire for Simplicity, Joy & Peace?”


Imagine what each space will look like and how you will feel when you have simplified. For example, imagine more space in each shelf or drawer or room and how relieved you will be where nothing is overstuffed or crammed in. Order and simplicity have a calming affect.


Make a list of where you might give, donate or sell your extra stuff. It’s helpful to have destinations in mind (see “I” below). Then make a list of every space you want to simplify. Creating a to do list can help you chunk down a huge project into smaller tasks.


Prioritize the spaces on your list to create a step-by-step plan, one space at a time. You might choose to start with storage spaces (to make room for things you want to keep), or with an area like the entryway or master bedroom so those spaces are more inviting and calming.


Let go of anything that no longer serves you or makes you feel good. Pass on things to others that are too small, too big, that you have too many of or rarely if ever use. Let it go if it needs mending or repairing. Sometimes it helps to sort by definite Yes ((keep it for sure) and definite No (let it go), also allowing yourself to have a Maybe pile.


Inquire if others want your stuff—family, friends, household helpers, shelters, thrift shops, consignment stores. Knowing someone else can use and appreciate your stuff often makes it easier to let it go.


Carry your extra stuff out of your home. Put it in the car and deliver it to your chosen destination(s), or have someone else do it. Once you’ve decided to let something go, get it out of sight so you are not tempted to retrieve it. Also carry out trash & recycling on a regular basis.


Inspiring phrases can help move you along. I often encourage clients to repeat affirmations that resonate and inspire them to keep going, such as, “It is getting easier to let things go,” and, “I feel the satisfaction of creating order and simplicity around me.” Find words that work for you.


Take time to give thanks for all the ways you are learning to let things go. Be grateful that you have the things you need and love and bring you joy and are willing to pass on those that will bring joy to others. Give thanks for each orderly, simplified space you have created.


You did it! Every time you complete a shelf, a drawer, a closet, a room—another space—acknowledge what you have done to simplify and create more order. Patting yourself on the back is a magical habit to get into. It can inspire you to keep going to the next simplifying project on your to do list.

May your efforts to create more Simplicity bring you the Order, the Joy and the Peace of Mind you desire.

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