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Experiment Living with Less

We are all consumers. We live in a society that values possessions. Our world economy relies on us spending our money on stuff. But does that stuff accumulate too fast and take on a life of its own? Do we end up with too much? Does the volume of things make organizing them stressful and difficult? Are you looking for way to get off the hamster wheel?

Experiment living with less. There are several ways we can accomplish this. Here are a few experiments to try.

  • Pack up half of your pots and pans. Date the box and put it in the basement for 3 months. Document how many times you retrieve something from it. Consider donating what doesn’t get retrieved. If you like this experiment do it with linens, toiletries, and kitchen gadgets.
  • Pack up all your CDs and DVDs and seal the box. Only take one out of the box when you really want to listen to it or watch it. After 6 months see how many are still in the box and decide whether you’d like to keep them. If you like this experiment do it with clothes, books, and serving dishes.
  • Establish a maximum number for certain possessions and reduce down to that number. You can find examples of a few numbers I suggest at Organizing with a Maximum Number. If you like this experiment do it with shoes, food storage containers, and coffee mugs.
  • Set up a temporary shopping ban for one month, or longer. Only purchase the absolute essentials, food, toilet paper, medications and the like. Keep a list of all the things you wanted to buy and the items that tempted you. At the end of the month share with me your insights.
  • Play the Minimalist Game. It’s interesting and challenging. When I played with my husband, we learned a lot about our relationship to stuff.stuff to donate

The less we have the less we have to organize and maintain. Try one or more of the experiments listed above and see what results you get. You may be pleasantly surprised and more organized.

©July 2021  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer,  All Rights Reserved

Borrow Stuff

Organizing tipBorrow instead of buy. The concept of borrowing doesn’t only apply to library books. I often borrow my sister’s sewing machine and my friend’s garden tools. This allows me use of these items without having to store, organize, or maintain them. This tip works best if it’s for something you use occasionally. If you use a small item more than four times a year it’s worth owning.  A larger item requires more usage before being worthy of purchase.

toys

Letting Go of Sentimental Items

Organizing tipWe all have sentimental items. Saying goodbye to those items can be difficult. A prolonged goodbye is not a bad thing. It may take more than one pass to be ready to let it go. Start with the least sentimental stuff and work your way towards the things that hold more memories.

A maybe box is a good option especially if you need some time to think about your decision to let go or not. While you’re deciding remove those maybe items from your every day living space.

Janine in tulip field

Earth Day & Containers

I love the colors of spring, the bright daffodils, tulips, and flowering trees. They make me smile. They also make me think about Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22nd. It’s a day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. You may not see the connection between organizing and environmental protection, but I’m reminded of it every time a client donates and recycles responsibly. Therefore, I’d like to share 3 simple ways we can show our support.

Container Store

Before your trip to the Container Store

Organizing tipI like the Container Store as much as you, but before making a trip I ask myself these questions.

 

  1. Is reducing a better option? Would the space function more efficiently if I get rid of stuff so I don’t need to purchase a new container?
  2. What are my best container options? Do I have something here at home that will serve my purpose?
  3. Where will the container go? Do I have a specific spot for the container? Do I need to take measurements before my C.S. visit?