I was recently clutter clearing my home office in anticipation of moving. While going through the bookcases, I looked at all the care, time and energy I had put into organizing all the papers and information I collected over many years into separate, labeled notebooks and realized it had been a big waste of time and money! I almost never look at those notebooks. One reason I don’t use them, and could not have know what a waste of time it would be to create them, is because I didn’t anticipate the degree to which I would adopt new technology—both the use of online resources and the idea of going paperless. Of course, we won’t always know how things will change and therefore can’t blame ourselves for making “mistakes.” However, I also realized there were other reasons I ended up with this clutter that could have been prevented. I had created those notebooks for two reasons: 1) because of the belief that someday I maybe/might need all that information, and 2) due to the fear that I would not be able find the information when I needed it.
So I decided that going forward I would adopt three habits to lead to less clutter and save more time and energy:
1. Anytime I am going to organize, repair, care for, store or give my attention to any item, I ask myself if it is really worth it? For example, tailoring a dress I haven’t worn in year–will I really wear it again? Is it worth it to save a recipe or article about something that I may be able to just find online? These days it’s not really necessary to save magazines or clippings because most magazines are online and you can usually find what you need on the Internet when you need it.
2. I focus on the now. Be present and if you catch yourself thinking I may use it someday—stop right there. Unless I know I will use it, it probably isn’t worth keeping or investing my time and energy. Give it away, sell it, toss it, and free up your time, energy and both mental and physical space. In addition, know that by letting it go you’re letting someone else who may have a real need for it, benefit.
3. Trust that my needs will be met. Hand in hand with the above is to trust the universe and that your needs will be met on time and in time. I do not need to store all the research I may use someday. That information will present itself to me with ease and grace when and if I need it. I do not need to clip pages from catalogues or magazines in case one day I need the item. I can trust that it will come to me, or I will find it, when I need it. This is true security knowing that as I have a need, it will be met. This idea leads to a true simple abundance of a waste free exchange of giving and receiving. Living simply takes trust.
As my sister said while packing for her recent move: “I’ve realized I’d rather keep it simple than spend all that time keeping it organized.”
Final thought… moving is a great motivator for clearing clutter. After you have moved a few times and seen all the time and energy that it takes—you will be very discerning about what you will take with you when you think about moving again. When you look around your house ask yourself: if I were to move, would I take this with me? If not, let it go now…