THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MINIMZING AND ORGANIZING
Welcome to 2021! I am happy to be here and hope you are, too.
I’m not sure where it ranks, but I would bet for many people, finally getting control of their belongings has to be high up on the list of resolutions. Why wouldn’t it be? So many of us live in abundance, with stuff coming out of our ears, especially after the gift giving holidays. And have you noticed how much we buy for ourselves while we are gift shopping? I’m sure there is a crazy statistic about that.
Anyway, let’s chat about a few things today to get us going in the right direction.
For some people, the terms minimizing and organizing can mean the same thing. I can see how that might happen. Both involve going through our stuff, making decisions about it, and having end results that make our lives easier. But let’s break them down to see what is what.
Minimizing is making deliberate choices about what stays, based on what is meaningful to us. There is purpose in what we keep. We don’t hang on to stuff that doesn’t serve us.
Organizing is making decisions on how to store the things we keep so we can get to them easy, be able to use them efficiently, and put them away without too much hassle.
Basically, after minimizing we have only the stuff we love and/or use. After organizing, we can find it.
It’s important to do both, and you absolutely want to minimize before you organize. Who wants to organize stuff you don’t want?
Let’s see how this could look.
Imagine a desk drawer. It’s a hot mess. So full of staplers, scissors, paperclips, and doodads that it makes you twitch when you need anything in there. You have to root around in it to find what you are after, and when it comes time to close the drawer, you have to shake it and smooth out the contents in order to slam it shut.
Have you been there?
You may wake one day needing a paperclip, knowing it’s in that drawer, but instead of cringing, you decide today is the day. No more will it take minutes to clip a few papers together. You are ready to take it on.
What could happen:
- As you make your way to the desk, fear grips you and you change your mind.
- You open the drawer, decide it really is as bad as you remember, close it, and back away slowly.
- You open the drawer and dump everything in the trash. Done. Of course you have no office supplies and start rebuying them, stashing them in the drawer.
- You open the drawer, start taking things out, piling them on top of the desk. You start strong but soon become discouraged by the mounds of stuff that was hiding in the drawer, and now it’s cluttery glory is giving you all the wrong vibes. You walk away and close the door to the office.
Does any of this sound familiar? Maybe it wasn’t a desk drawer, but your purse, the Christmas decorations, the photo boxes, or your child’s closet. We have all been there.
There is a better way!
- Turn on some good vibes music and fill up your water bottle. Make sure you are not hungry.
- You bring a trash can and a few boxes over. Make sure you have some space to work. So far so good.
- Open the drawer. Say hello. Get a feel for what you have stashed in there.
- On a first pass, toss out anything that is obviously trash. Go ahead and rifle around in there. Be strong.
- Tell yourself “I am the boss of this stuff!”
- And empty out the drawer. Just dump it on top of the desk or on the floor, wherever you are comfy. I know, this is a big step.
- Now that you can spread the stuff out and really see what you are working with, you can tell it all who’s boss. (It’s you.) Be confident that you don’t need 4 staplers, a warped ruler, 17 pencils with no erasers or sticky pads with just one crumpled sheet.
- Honestly ask yourself, do I need so many rubber bands? Would I buy this electric pencil sharpener again? These kinds of questions will help you to know what is worthy to live in the desk drawer.
- Let’s talk about the boxes you brought to the party. One is for donations. Put the surplus staplers in there if you don’t need them anywhere else. One is for things you want to keep that belong somewhere else. Maybe you want to put a stapler in the craft room, but instead of leaving the drawer and possibly getting distracted, you pop it in that box and keep working. The last box is for things you are not sure if you want to keep or not. You know it doesn’t belong in the desk drawer, but what to do with it? Give yourself permission to make that decision later. (When that box is full, tape it up and store it out of the way. If after 3-6 months you haven’t gone looking for something in there, you know you probably don’t need it.)
- At this point, you should have a much smaller pile of things you want to return to that desk drawer. You may also need a bathroom break or a snack. Go for it, and then come right back – It’s going to be great!
Whew – strong work! Stay tuned for Part 2 – The Organizing of a Desk Drawer.
Does this sound doable? Have you tried this before? If you haven’t, what do you want to try this on first? Let me know in the comments!