A new year is upon us. A time of hope and change lies ahead. But did you know that sometimes your “stuff” – not the figurative stuff, but literally, STUFF – can steal your time and hope for change? That means it’s also time to get organized.
New Years is one of my favorite holidays because it invites me to look back at what I’ve accomplished over the last year and look ahead to new opportunities. It is an opportunity to start with a fresh slate and begin again. So we set forth to do better in the new year by getting healthy and more organized (the top 2 yearly resolutions). But what stands in our way?
You’ll need to speak to a nutritionist or personal trainer about what stands in your way of getting healthy, but I can tell you what’s getting you stuck in your quest for organization.
For much of our lives, we’ve been led to believe that having more (more food, more clothes, more house, more STUFF!) will somehow make us feel better, more secure, more content.
I call this the MORE mentality. We see this played out everywhere. A large Coke is no longer enough. We must have a Big Gulp. Supersize has become a household term. Large warehouse stores encourage us to buy everything in bulk. Commercials convince us that having the latest gadget will make our lives better. Sale gimmicks like “10/$10” or “Buy 3, Get One Free” entice us to purchase more than we need.
But think for a moment about the cost of having more. How do you feel when you walk into your overstuffed closet? What about driving into your overflowing garage? Do you feel satisfied or overwhelmed? What about your kids? Do they get excited about some day inheriting your belongings?
A high price tag comes with having more. It means feeling overwhelmed and stressed with too much clutter, too much to clean, too much to manage. More paralyzes us when it’s time to make choices.
Studies show that when you are presented with more choices our brain freezes up and making a decision is more difficult. Every time you walk in to your closet with all of those shirts or shoes, your brain gets overloaded. When you have to pick one pair of earrings out of 75 choices it causes stress. We all know what this feels like; think about the last time you went to Baskin Robins and faced that row of 31 flavors. Often we resort to picking a flavor we are familiar with because it is easier on the brain.
An acronym that helps me when I find myself getting pulled into the more mentality:
The more you own the more you will have to manage. And the more management required, the more energy you expend on things that don’t bring value to your life.
Once you recognize the freedom that comes from living with less, you are ready to begin the purging process. If the thought of going it alone feels too overwhelming, let a professional hold your hand through the process.
Editors Note: Visit the The Perfectly Placed Blog for great tips on getting the purge started and getting organized… and staying that way! If you live in the St. Louis area, consider letting Susan help you with the process.