By Julie Samrick
Decluttering and cleaning also clears the mind. Yet organization has never been my strong suit and I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face if I had to say, “I am an organized person” or “I love cleaning.” I do know, though, that before I write something, I often need to clean out the pantry, or fold a few stacks of laundry before I can think clearly.
My most obvious clutter magnet and organization headache is the section on my kitchen counter that was supposed to hold the notes, pens, pictures and mail, basically the stuff that comes into the house each day that I just don’t know what to do with right then so I bought a cute, little organizer to hold it all, which is currently overflowing, spreading out onto my counter space like The Blob.
I’d been seriously thinking about hiring a professional organizer, but stumbled on a book that’s been just as effective- it’s called Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, written
by Tsh Oxenreider.
Reading Organized Simplicity has made me realize it’s not just about extra “stuff” we need to find a home for. Thinking of hoarders, the extreme case of people who can’t part with things, clutter is really just a symptom of something deeper. Oxenreider calls the underlying issue of clutter our misplaced priorities.
She gives clear, step-by-step instructions on how to clear the clutter, starting with the emotions behind it, with the goal of simple living, stripping down to the things that really matter as the goal.
Some of the tips in Organized Simplicity that I just love are:
*Keep firm commitments to a minimum, so we can say “yes” to being available for people who enter our lives casually. How often do we fill our calendars and then don’t have time for those spur-of-the moment coffee chats or relaxed phone calls with a good friend?
*Come up with a family purpose statement that will help make decisions. If my family values education and being together, for instance, does yet another pair of earrings for myself or a new pair of pajamas for my daughter (when she already has plenty) pass the litmus test?
* When buying new things or deciding what to purge, ask yourself: Is it useful and/or beautiful? Every time I don’t know whether to keep something or give it away from now on, I will hear those two qualities in my mind.
Tsh walks the walk with her readers. She goes through each room in a home and tells us exactly how to be discerning about what stays and what goes. She has systems in place for organizing food, clothing, toys, books, and more. She even provides non-toxic, homemade cleaning recipes.
Check out more about Tsh and simple living at simplemom.net. This is a must read for every domestic goddess!