To Toss or Not to Toss

If that’s your question, the short answer is yes.

It’s easier to organize less than more. Duh.

Unfortunately, the long answer as to whether you should chuck out that macrame plant holder is … long.  It’s also very individual to each person.  Consider this:

  1. Do I use it/wear it regularly?  Some people turn their hangers backward for a specific period of time and then get rid of items that haven’t been worn. While this is a proven method, it takes something I have little of – time and patience.  Something I prefer to do is to go into the closet and shop.  Seriously, go into your closet and act as if you were out shopping – would you buy your clothes now? If not, they go. For those of you who are saving things for someday – it ain’t coming.  Live for today not, someday.
  2. Can it be scanned? Don’t keep paper just to keep the paper.   If it can be scanned and stored on a flash drive or electronically like Google Drive or Dropbox, do it.
  3. Do you have more than one? I’ve lived overseas several times and had accumulated a lot of memorabilia.  At one point, I had about ten beer steins from Germany.  Now, I love Germany – and beer. But will I remember my time in Germany better by having ten steins or will two do the job?  Think about your items, do they each have a story or do they tell the same story?
  4. Does it fit? Not just clothing, but everything?  Does your stuff fit your life?
  5. Are you keeping it because of guilt?  This is a big one.  My family doesn’t understand that I don’t want things.  I still get Christmas presents or birthday presents. I get handed down things from older family members because they don’t want it anymore but they would feel guilty just throwing it out (and because they love me, of course).  Here is where you truly have to be honest with yourself and others.  Some people will tell you that the person who gave it to you won’t notice it’s gone.  Yes, they will.  Then you have to have a whole second conversation about why you couldn’t be honest in the first place.  Don’t keep anything in your life because you would feel guilty getting rid of it or you will resent it.

These are just a few things to ask yourself when deciding whether you should get rid of something.  When you do decide to rid yourself of unwanted items, DO NOT throw them away! Donate, recycle, repurpose!  Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean someone doesn’t need it or would appreciate it.

Now, go forth and ditch those unwanted possessions!!


Should vs Will

When talking about organization, and actually a lot of different things, I notice people struggle with the issue of should vs will.

The concept is simple. People think, I should: have this, do this, be this.  Well, I call bull#$%t.  Anything in your life that you refer to as “should” is probably not rooted in a need (or a love) for that thing.  Instead, ask yourself “Will”.  Will I: use this, be good at this, need this? Or better yet, ask “Will this make my life easier, happier, or better?”

You see examples of this every day.  There’s that person who owns a house way too big for her needs simply because she makes more money, so she SHOULD have a bigger house.  And there’s the person who can’t get rid of that crockpot because she SHOULD own one since everyone does. (I do not.)

Let’s look at it the other way.  The person who makes more money acknowledges that she don’t need more space and a bigger house BUT she will have some fabulous vacations!  The person with the crockpot acknowledges that she will never use the crockpot because leaving something on and cooking all day while she is at work is insane.  (Ahem, just my take.)

Apply this to being organized. If you know that you put everything down as soon as you come in the door and then worry about it later – PUT YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM AT THE FRONT DOOR.  A shelving unit, letter holder, or a meticulous coat closet organizational system should be right where you need it.  Be honest with yourself. What type of person are you?

I am the type of person who keeps every receipt for at least two months, no matter how useful it is.  I know this and I have a box, with a lid, that I just toss every receipt in, and then every few months I throw some of them out.

Look around your house or your office. Is everything convenient for you? Does everything come together to make your life easier? If  not, why not? Why are your things not working for you and your lifestyle?

Except crockpots, they’re just weird.

Things I lost in the fire

Most of the time when people ask how I stay organized, I usually refer to my childhood. I am a military brat, my father served in the Army.  We moved around and traveled a lot.

By the time I got to high school, the six of us lived in a small apartment in Darmstadt, Germany. Now, I love my family – – I really do. BUT. But, while some may have thought it was cozy, to me it felt cramped and tight. And then my mother joined the Navy. What!? Crazy.

But really, if I had to narrow down a specific event that affected my relationship with stuff, it would be the fire.

I was living in an apartment, in a not so great side of town, with my boyfriend.  He got a job offer in Chicago and moved there.  I was debating my options and slowly packing my things, when one Sunday morning I awoke to this whooshing sound.  I smelled something funny, ran to the front of the apartment and when I opened the front door I saw the apartment next to mine was on fire.  That fire was blocking the stairs.

At this point, I threw on some clothes, gathered up the dog, looked for the cat, and then just stood there.  I could hear fire trucks in the distance and people yelling but everything faded for just a minute. What about all my stuff?

There was a pounding on the door, I had to go, without my cat and without my stuff.  All of the tenants stood there in the parking lot, dazed and worried about our stuff.  The fire was put out but the damage was done.  Fire or water damage (or both in my case) to every apartment.  And we all had to evacuate quickly.

Walking back into the apartment, I am ashamed to say I was more worried about my stuff than the cat. (She was fine.) During the next two months, while living with my PARENTS, I began thinking of stuff differently.  And began to get rid of it, almost obsessively. Stuff is just that — stuff. It’s not pets or family or something else irreplaceable.

And I got renter’s insurance.





Today is new. A new day, new year, new … you?

It doesn’t need to be.

This could be the year that you accept your faults, celebrate your strengths, and generally just be. Or this could be the year you decide that you want to work on your faults, or your strengths could be stronger.  You could be like this blog, figuring out what you want to be, exploring your options, making some mistakes, and having a laugh.

Whatever we decide to do with this year, most people have the desire to be more organized.  Most people like to know their options. Everyone likes to know that they’re not the only people that make mistakes, and we all could use a laugh from time to time.

Getting organized isn’t that difficult (stop rolling your eyes).  Some people  have no organizational skills at all, some are organized in one area of their lives but that’s it, and some are overly organized. Yes, that is a thing.

The trick isn’t actually getting organized; it’s about deciding. The real trick is deciding what you want, or want to be, what’s really going to work for you, what to do with the things you don’t want, and how to get there. See? Easy (if you keep rolling your eyes, you’re going to get a headache).

Grab a glass of wine and have a laugh.