You have a nice home.
It is clean and organized. All of your things have their place, and your living room is ready to receive guests at minutes' notice.
Your pantry is well-stocked, and you have a matching label for your spice jars that you designed.
Inside your linen closet, everything is folded neatly and organized by size, color and material.
Your bedroom is airy but also cozy and is a great place to have a cup of coffee on a lazy weekend morning or to read and unwind before falling into sleep at the end a busy work day.
I can keep going. I'm just trying to illustrate how much you love living in an organized home, so you spend a lot of time and effort making sure your house is in order.
Only lately it seems like you're trapped in a never-ending organizing rut. No matter how much tidying up you do, there is more to do the next week.
Do you want to spend less time and energy organizing your home? Here is what you need to do.
Organizing is about rearranging things. You move dirty clothes from the bathroom floor to your laundry basket. You put away winter clothes at the end of the season and pull out spring/summer pieces from the storage.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time organizing, it usually means that you have too much stuff to handle.
Do you really need everything you have?
Is it possible to let go of some?
Fewer things you have means less organizing to do.
Pick a room where you spend the most time organizing and go through each item in that space.
Maybe you've figured out that decluttering is the key to reduced organizing. But you still seem to have roughly the same amount of things to organize after all that decluttering.
When you started decluttering, did you also reduce the amount of shopping you do?
It works like weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you'll need to reduce the calorie intake while burning more energy. It's great to get rid of clutter, but you must also prevent it from coming into your home.
You need to:
- Be a mindful shopper.
- Ask yourself if you need what you're about to buy or can you substitute it with what you already have at home.
- Stop using coupons.
- Buy only what you will be using next year and the year after.
- Buy only what you won't be decluttering in a few month.
- Stop buying anything to make you feel better (trust me, it won't.)
- Stop buying things on a whim.
- Stop buying things for your aspiring self. (My sister once bought a long lab coat when she was studying for a college entrance exam. At that time, she wanted to get into a med school. That never happened.)
If you can, stop buying anything other than essentials (food, medication, etc.) for a month. You'll be surprised how much money you'll have left in your bank account at the end of the month.
Say no to free stuff
You will need to reduce the absolute quantity of things that you bring into your house. Just because something is free, it shouldn't have a free ticket into your household.
Free t-shirts, pens, memo pads...people who gave you those want you to use it to advertise their products or services. Consequently, they look very much like advertising (and plain ugly if I'm being completely honest.)
Stop being someone else's billboard.
All the different design, fonts, color (they're usually loud to catch your attention) create instant visual clutter wherever they're placed.
Just say no.
Buy one get one deal
You go out shopping for a certain item. There is a cheerful salesperson promoting a buy one get one (or buy two get one) deal. They're handing out free samples.
Because this salesperson is friendly and talkative, you stop for a moment and listen to their pitch. And then you think to yourself, "Well, it seems like a good deal, and I can always use___."
Don't ever buy something to get an additional item for free. Guess what? Not buying anything is also free.
Another big chunk of free stuff comes to you in the form of gifts.
I'm pretty sure you've experienced receiving gifts that you had no use for or didn't suit your taste.
If it's not taken as a rude gesture, you can decline some gifts. For example, let's say a member of your extended family offered you an old sofa for your basement. You can thank them and tell them you don't want it.
Gifts bought especially for you, such as a birthday or holiday gifts are trickier to decline. You can start asking for specific gifts, or if that's not possible, start hinting at what kind of gifts you'd like to receive months before your birthday or holiday.
You can also start gifting clutter-free items and hope that everyone will catch on.
For some people, gifting is about them and not so much about you. They give you things that they think you should enjoy. Others buy things to let you know how much they understand you.
You can donate or sell these gifter-centric gifts without guilt. Remember, you're not obliged to keep them if they don't make you happy.
Once you reduced the amount of possessions you own, you will find yourself spending less time organizing. Because a home with just the right amount of things is a comfortable home.
So why don't you stop organizing and start decluttering?