Getting Rid of
R = REDUCE
The IN ORDER™ system is a tool to help you through the organizing process. Over the past few months, I've discussed the first three steps:
I = Invest - your time, energy and money in the organizing process.
N = Need - determine the area of greatest need where disorganization affects your life the most.
O = Organize - organize every item in the space into categories, sorting like items with like.
This month, we come to what can often be the most difficult part of the process for many. Reducing the amount of stuff we decide to keep. While being organized does not always require getting rid of possessions, most of us have too much stuff for the spaces in which we live and work, which makes finding what we need when we need it more difficult. In addition, the more stuff we have, the more time and effort it takes to manage it. Reducing the amount of things we keep in our space makes getting organized and staying organized significantly easier.
As you sort through and organize each item in the space into categories, ask yourself a few questions:
When was the last time I used this item?
Does this item still have meaning or use in my life as I currently live it?
Would I be able to obtain this information again from another source?
What would be the worst thing that could happen if I let it go?
Are holding on to an item because you spent a lot of money on it? Or because it used to fit and you've been planning on losing that last ten pounds for several years now? Or because someone gave it to you as a gift, but you never really liked it or used it and feel guilty getting rid of it? The nineteenth century author and designer William Morris said, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." This enduring advice helps to establish the parameters of what you should keep in your home or office. If it's broken, outdated, outgrown, out of style, worn out, or just has no place in your life as you live it NOW, consider the physical and emotional space it occupies in your life and let it go.
Sentimental items are often the hardest things to let go. Sometimes we hold on to mementos of a past life or of loved ones because we fear that we may forget them. However, keep in mind that memories exist in our heads and hearts, not in a box. A few special mementos, kept and displayed with honor and respect, will bring more joy into your life than closets, attics, basements, and storage units filled to the brim with stuff that you never see or touch.
Once you have made the decision to reduce the stuff you keep in your space to only what is useful or beautiful, you will find that the next steps in the organizing process flow more swiftly. It will also be significantly easier to keep your spaces organized as time goes on.
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Next month: D = DESIGNATE