by Kelvin Belfon
“If you need to buy stuff just to organize your existing stuff, maybe you own too much stuff.” ~ Courtney Carver
No one ever plans to be messy. But over time, clutter creeps in. It grows, overtakes our living spaces and then our lives. No one is clutter-proof.
It’s estimated that the average U.S. household has 300,000 things! That’s clothing, appliances, electronics, books, paper clips, and…you get the point. It’s mind-boggling how much we own, most of which we never use.
In our home, we’ve organized to keep the clutter at bay. It’s quick, easy, fun, makes the most efficient use of spaces, and the results are always aesthetically pleasing. Some organizational processes are just plain cool!
Perhaps the biggest benefit of them all – Organizing makes us feel good about our accomplishments. I like to see the fruits of my labor and organizing does just that.
In some cases organizing can be temporary. It gives the impression that you’ve resolved the issue, like organizing the clutter in the children’s bedroom. But the mess soon resurfaces, wasting time when you end up having to repeat the organizing process again and again.
On the other hand, de-cluttering or de-owning is initially tough and scary. It requires lots of time and intentionality. It asks the difficult questions about our stuff. When was the last time I used this item? Is it useful, beautiful or does it add value to my space?
In de-cluttering unwanted possessions are discarded, not kept and organized. This gives our efforts a more permanent result. There is less cleaning and organizing with fewer things. Room space has more of a grand, peaceful, and relaxing atmosphere.
When we giveaway or donate unused items in good condition, we help make a difference in the lives of other. This is a big motivation. Organized unwanted possessions might look great in the closet, attic or garage. But having the courage to gift your goods could do so much more good in putting a smile on someone else’s face.
I think the biggest payoff in all of this is that de-owning forces us to become conscious consumers. Shopping can be an expensive obsession. The satisfaction of making the purchase only lasts for a while until we think we need something else. When we regularly de-clutter, we are forced to rethink our values and most often to change our consumption pattern. A habit of de-cluttering engrains the habit of asking yourself when in a store, “Do I really need this?”
Lastly, de-cluttering can help with the family budget. Instead of investing in fancy organizational systems, turn some of your unused belongings into cash. We’ve done this so many times. The money can be used to pay bills or reduce debt depending on your situation.
We like organizing and still plan to continue this habit in our home. However, the default has changed. We now first discard as much as possible, then organize what’s left.
Organizing is good. Decluttering is better.
What do you think? Are you an organizer, a de-clutterer or both?