Monday, January 17, 2011

Ruthless Organizing: Getting Straight From the Inside Out

Getting organized can be pretty sweet...

As many of you know I/we've been on a quest to de-clutter and embrace our house. We were actually doing really well - our basement was clean, our garage functional, and then about mid-way through last year we were hit with the double explosion of both families coming to driving to us...with car loads FULL of stuff. Our stuff.

We got derailed.

So I went to a free-seminar on organization last week. Know what I learned? Nothing. I learned that I'm not disorganized. I have all the tools, all the systems I need in place. Not only that, I use the most effective systems. Funny enough, I'm actually really good at organization, that is, until there is too much stuff to be organized. Which was, and is, precisely the problem. But what was stopping us, what was wrong?

Conundrum. Grave, pressing, this has to stop, conundrum.

We cleaned out our bedroom closet. The simple process of cleaning out our closet went from boring, to scary disaster area, to "oh my goodness did we just move in?", to exhausting, to eye-opening enlightening.

We removed every single item from my dresser and the closet. We put it all on the bed and tossed things we no longer wanted along the way. Then, in an act of complete insanity we moved the entire dresser INTO the closet, essentially halving our storage space (but opening up our admittedly small master bedroom). This doesn't seem like a big deal until you come to realize that in order to move the dresser we had to move the bed, and everything that went with it. In the end we gutted the room while everything was still there.

It was exhausting. But then, midway through, holding a beautiful shift dress I knew I would never wear again, looking at my "stuff", it hit me: everything I was willing to get rid of, everything that made me feel frumpy: was all my "everyday" stuff. The only clothing I was willing to invest in were the clothes I would wear for work.

What I realized was that I was only investing in myself when I thought someone else was investing in me.


Double ouch when you consider that I now work for myself.

And that's when it got really dirty. That's when I got ruthless. No more. No longer would I do that to myself. No longer would I waste space and time on things that literally wasted mental and physical space and more time than necessary on cleaning/organizing/maintaining.

Tomorrow I'll give you my 5 major tips to innovate the way you organize.

You can go ahead and start by thinking about my first realization that got the ball rolling: Are you only investing when you think others have an interest or investment in you/your stuff (ie when they will be impressed by what you own, care what you look like, or would otherwise judge you by your possessions)?

Or here are a some articles/posts that really struck me for various reasons lately:

Before You Make a Big Decision, Clean House, A Bloggable Life (whoa! worthy)

Six Things I've Learned From Wearing Less, Little Eco Footprints (I love this blog)

The Zero-Waste Home, Sunset Magazine (This blew me a really good way)


Sandie {A Bloggable Life | 365} said...

I've come to this conclusion before, that the stuff I hate is my everyday wear. Made the promise last year to stop doing that to myself. Horrible habit! Also, saving stuff for a special occasion. What the heck? Every day you are alive & able is a special occasion---use it up! I feel a blog post coming on...

Livieland said...

There's nothing like as good episode of Hoarders to get me decluttering. Over Christmas break from work, I alternately watched Hoarders and dug through closets, cabinets, etc, attempting to purge both the horrible images of cats tunneled through mattresses and my own memories-as-objects.

It was cathartic. And lots of charities are going to make good money off of all of my useless stuff.

Tara said...

I'm almost ashamed to admit how excited I am to learn those 5 revolutionary tips to improve the way I organize. You make a good infomercial T. :o)

Brandi said...

Wow. What a revelation to come to. I think it all happens to us: we only dress up when someone's looking. But we're there looking too and we should be as important as everyone else. I decided to buy myself some more nice dresses. That's me investing in myself.

Tricia said...

Thank you for the link :-)

And i'm glad I have discovered your gorgeous blog. I'm looking forward to following.