I frequently read a blog called Zen Habits in hopes of getting some tips for living a more peaceful, simplified life. Yesterday, the author, with his post, “Toss Productivity Out,” gave me just the advice I needed.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I battle daily with organization, crap overload and the basic, unending chores that come with a house full with three young children. Most days, I can go with the flow. Some days, I freak out, and decide to undertake a project like 10 Things A Day for Thirty Days, which I only managed to barely follow through with, though, I am confident that I easily rid my house of three hundred utterly useless items.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.
The world is not static and just as things moved out, other things moved in. Add in all the rearranging that’s been going on around here, after our failed move, and I’m beginning to feel a little like one of those crazy people on Hoarders (no offense crazy people).
Remember that cabinet that I was in the midst of clearing out? Well, that didn’t quite happen, but what did happen is that we had movers come and move it upstairs to a more appropriate place than the dining room, where it had ended out of default, because it was too heavy for my husband and I to get up the stairs.
However, in order for the movers to move it, it had to be emptied out. Now, I have a dining room table covered with useless and important paperwork, which has to be sorted, not my favorite thing.
Then, there was the outdated hand-me-down furniture in the spare room, that is soon to become an exercise room. I had the movers put that furniture out to the curb. Where did all the contents of the drawers end up? On the floor, which means all that stuff also has to be sorted.
Then, there’s the always messy, organizationally challenged laundry/mud room, which is overrun with paperwork, shoes, laundry, and everything else that is dumped in there whenever someone walks through the door.
And finally, there’s the garage, a world unto its own. Half of the garage is filled with weights and workout benches and a cable crossover bar, and the other half is filled with bikes and boxes, sports equipment and Rubbermaid containers.
It’s all getting very out of hand.
Then, an epiphany, in the form of Zen Habits. The topic, “Toss Productivity Out” in which Leo, the author, discusses why people should take traditional productivity advice and toss it out the window. The first piece of advice he addresses is getting organized:
“Get Organized. Sounds good, but getting organized is just rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. It does nothing to stop the ship from sinking. Instead, simplify. If you have a desk with 5 things in it, you don’t need to organize. If you have a closet with only a handful of clothes, it doesn’t need a closet organizer. If your day has only one or two appointments, there’s no need for a detailed schedule organizer. Simplifying means making important choices about what’s important, rather than ignoring that question and just trying to cram everything into your day (and space) in a logical way.”
Pure genius. No superfluous stuff, no need to organize.
The timing of this blog couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Not only because I am in the middle of the perfect storm of disorganization, but last night, I was feeling bad about telling my dear friend that I could no longer take the clothes that she so kindly passes down to me from her daughters to mine (hence the rapidly multiplying Rubbermaid bins).
Leo (were not really on a first name basis) with his post, freed me from this guilt.
As much as I enjoy relishing in great finds, like the polo tank top or princess dress that little lady loves so much, taking in so many clothes, from her girls and my sister’s girls, plus the clothes I buy, has become overwhelming.
Little Lady’s closet is full to the brim each season and she only (like most of us) wears about 25% of the outfits. Then, when she’s done wearing them, I’m left trying to sort them out to return to their rightful owners. It’s enough to make a girl go crazy.
So, last night I emailed my friend and told her I could do it no more. It was a big step for me. She did me the greatest favor by not only telling me that she would hold onto the clothes until I was ready, but that I could donate the clothes she gives me when I am done with them. No more putting aside and storing until I see her again, which is not that frequently. I know this may seem insignificant, but it’s a huge load off my plate and one less obstacle to getting organized.
So, with my new found permission to throw out, and some friendly encouragement from Zen Habits, once again, I embark on another mission to pare down. I’ll let you know how I do.
Wish me luck and lots of allergy medicine, it’s dusty out there!