September 15, 2011

Determining What’s Important in Your Life

Working with a new client last week, I was reminded once again how many people approach clutter and disorganization as a problem that can be solved by acquiring containers. Instead of helping, though, containers my client had purchased months earlier had only made matters worse since she had no idea how or where to store either the filled ones or the now clutter-creating empty ones that she had left over.

It’s a common mistake that people make, but thinking that buying containers to hold your stuff is the answer to decluttering and getting organized is a seriously misguided notion. Paradoxically, however, fixing a clutter problem doesn’t actually begin with the clutter. It begins with determining what’s important in your life. If you want to get - and stay organized - you first need to look past the clutter and determine the vision, purpose and goal(s) you have for each space in your home. Once you have done that, determining if your stuff contributes to those visions, purposes and goals or stands in the way of them is the next step. Until these two steps have been performed, randomly containerizing and moving your stuff around your space is a waste of time, money and energy. Conquering clutter and disorganization always starts and flows from your answers to the question: “What do I want from this space?”

Though it may not be simple or easy to determine what’s important to you, coming up with the answer is absolutely essential if you want to create order and calm in your home. To help you determine what’s important, ask yourself questions about how your space currently feels, looks and functions and how you would like it to feel, look and function. Think about what it would take to make your vision happen. Does your vision of your ideal master bedroom include your kids’ toys on the floor and dirty laundry on the chair in the corner? Does your vision of your ideal living room include a sofa with so many piles of stuff on it that you can’t sit down? Does your vision of your ideal eating area include a dining table covered with mail? If they don’t, the next step is to take a long, hard, honest look at the cluttered and disorganized spaces in your home and confront the way you actually live. Acknowledging how you really live can be difficult, emotionally, but it’s vital because you can’t change what you don’t first acknowledge. Start in one corner of each room, move methodically around the space and ask yourself if each and every item you see contributes to your vision for that space. If it doesn’t, what it’s doing in your home and in your life?

Defining a vision for your space and then changing the way you view your stuff and rethinking its value to you is a must to achieve organization. Change is possible, but only if it’s driven by focus, self-examination, honesty and a sincere desire to get to a better place. Removing items from your space that aren’t used or loved and prevent you from living your best life will help you to pursue a richer, fuller, less stressful life focused on what really matters the most to you.

If you're committed to making positive changes in your life, help (including a free phone consultation) is just a call -- (212) 228-8375 -- or an email away.



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