Welcome to the New Year! It’s a time well-known for getting started on new goals in our resolve for positive change. For those striving to get organized, working to downsize and minimalize that which fills life with unwanted clutter is an important step in the right direction.
Clutter can be physical, mental, emotional, digital, or anything else you feel is taking up your time, space, and energy.
Clothing, shoes, books, paperwork, toys, the dishes in the sink… it’s all part of the physical clutter that builds up when we don’t keep things at bay. Too much of it can literally hinder physical movement, and disrupt thoughts and emotions.
The email that fills your inbox, photos on your smartphone, a cluttered computer desktop screen with tons of shortcut icons and no filing system in sight, the amount of time you spend online shopping, time wasted on unproductive social media, and other things filling your digital space.
Mental and Emotional Clutter
Along with physical and digital clutter comes mental and emotional clutter. Thoughts, worries, frustrations about past, present, or future work, love, school, friendships, how much paperwork there is to sort through and organize, can be overwhelming and hinder progress in life. Therapy session aside, we’re here to tackle all these things which work hand in hand to clutter up our time, space, and energy.
Let’s get to writing and expressing thoughts and emotions
Grab a journal and pen, piece of paper, or open a Word document and save it to your laptop or desktop computer. This week we focus on expressing what’s on our mind and discover what and why we want to downsize and minimalize, so that we set a solid foundation for this exciting journey we are on together.
Bullet points keep thoughts succinct and organized
Write down all the WHATs and WHYs you want to downsize and minimalize in your life. With each bullet point, allow yourself a deeper answer to the question WHY? until you’re ready to move on to the next item. The following are examples:
What and Why to Downsize
I want to downsize the amount of unhealthy food in the refrigerator and pantry. Why?
- It takes up space and is a waste of money when I do not eat it all.
- I want to save money to spend on other things.
- The more unhealthy food around me, the more of it I eat.
- The more I eat, the more weight I gain. I don’t want to gain weight.
- I feel better about myself when not overweight, and my clothes fit better.
- I am concerned about preventing diabetes and heart disease, especially since they run in my family.
I want to downsize the amount of toys cluttering the house. Why?
- The house is always a mess at the end of the day.
- I don’t want to pick up after my children.
- I want a clean and comfortable home when I get off work, so I can relax.
- I need more time for myself. I am happier when I have more time for myself.
What and Why to Minimalize
I want to minimalize the amount of stress in my life. Why?
- because I don’t feel good when I’m stressed. I get angry or depressed, and am not happy.
- it causes communication problems with colleagues, and with my spouse when I get home from work.
- it doesn’t make me feel good about who I am and what my life is.
I want to minimalize the amount of money I spend online. Why?
- I’m going into debt.
- I buy stuff I don’t use, and it’s cluttering the house.
- I want to save money and pay off bills, because I want to save for a downpayment on a home.
I want to minimalize the amount of clothing and shoes in the closet. Why?
- There’s no room in the closet for everything I own
- It becomes a jumbled mess because there’s too much stuff
- I hate cleaning and organizing, and just want everything to be neat and easy to find
- If things are neat and easy to find, I’ll have more time for other things, and maybe get to work on time
Over the course of the week, add more to the list. During the work commute talk to yourself, with a trusted friend, or a stranger you’ll never see again about the things you want to Downsize and Minimalize in your life, and then write them down. It’s important to have your own words, thoughts, and emotions to look back on and mark progress. I will be checking in on this Facebook event throughout the week to answer questions and post next steps.
For those interested in reading two of my personal What and Whys…
I’m sharing the “What” and “Why” of two things I want to Downsize and Minimalize in my own life this year, which have to do with PHYSICAL and DIGITAL clutter. I have more than two items, but won’t bother you with them here. I will work on them on my own along the way.
Downsize & Minimalize – What and Why
I want to downsize the amount of shoes I own. Why?
• Despite regular purging, I still find I don’t wear most of what I have.
• I have a few pairs of shoes that cannot look any better when cleaned, and I don’t feel good when I wear them because of it (except for hiking or workout shoes, which are naturally worn-looking but still in good working condition.)
• They take up too much space in my closet (especially the boots) that I prefer to have clear.
• The housecleaner would be able to reach and clean that empty space.
• If I have fewer shoes, I would be forced to wear my best shoes more often.
• I want to look my best wherever I go, and if I’m always wearing good-looking shoes, I feel better about myself. And I always get compliments when I wear my best shoes!
I want to minimalize the amount of time I spend on my personal Facebook page. Why?
• It takes time away from being productive in lots of things. It’s a HUGE time waster. The biggest one I have. One time I spent two hours scrolling and came out of it with no new important knowledge or information!
• Although I enjoy communicating with long distance friends and family this way, need to use it for my business, and through it stay current on important world news and events, I’m tired of reading feed about awful things happening to people I don’t know, sinkholes, fatal car accidents, and other things not in my control that make me sad.
• I feel like I’m getting addicted to Facebook. I don’t like the feeling of addiction.
• It’s time I can better spend on my business or other work that needs to get done.
• I need to exercise my brain in better ways in preparation for getting older.
• I’d rather read a book in that amount of time and exercise my brain.
• My vocabulary improves the more I read a book or magazine article.
• The conversation has more substance when I talk with people about what I read in a book compared to what I read on Facebook.
• I’d rather spend that time having lunch or tea with a friend, calling someone on the phone, hiking with my dogs, or doing sit-ups in the living room.
• I notice that my wrist and hands feel pain and very warm in an unhealthy way the more I hold my phone in my hands when on Facebook (and the cell phone in general).
Isabella Guajardo, founder and owner of Bella Organizing, is a San Francisco Bay Area professional organizer offering home organizing, interior redesign, and residential move management services throughout the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Call (510) 229-7321 or email email@example.com for more information. Gift certificates are available.
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