Tips and musings on organizing your way from chaos to calm

Archive for September, 2010

Claim your power and use it!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I recently came across this quote by Alice Walker: The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

I work with a lot of people who feel powerless when it comes to their stuff.  How many of you feel like the clutter has “won?”  Do you feel like it’s often a pointless effort to try to tackle your stuff since it seems to come back and multiply?  So the stuff wins and you lose.  What’s wrong with this equation?

It’s easy to understand how overwhelming our things can make us feel, and so we either avoid them,  hide them, , or leave them out in the open,  reminding us of our shortcomings.  At the end of the day, though, we’ve got to remember who’s in charge.

Every object that is in your home is a guest. Even invited guests can overstay their welcome.  Grab a pen and notebook and stand in the middle of each room in your home.  Look around and decide what items in the room you’re still really happy to see, which ones have worn out their welcome, and which ones are strangers and have no meaning for you, and donate/recycle accordingly.

Another good question to ask is not whether you paid “good money” for the item in the past, but whether you would buy it right now.  If not, let it go and don’t give it another thought.  If it’s not worth your money, it’s certainly not worth your time.

I like to think of things as tools that enhance my life.  If a tool isn’t working well or is rarely used, it’s not serving its purpose.  We organizers like to say that one should only keep things that are “loved, used, or admired.”    If you are holding on to objects because of who gave them to you, how much they cost, or how long you’ve had them, you’re letting feelings of guilt, obligation, and shame dictate your actions.  In other words, you’re holding yourself hostage to your stuff.

I encourage you to take a fresh look at your things and think about if/how they support you now and going forward in your life.  You’re in charge of your stuff, not the other way around.  So claim your power – and your freedom!