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Stuff Gets in Your Way

Lives Full of Disorganized Things


I have previously written about the benefits of becoming organized, so here I am going to specifically discuss how keeping a disorganized household is a huge time-waster. It robs you of time: time to work on important and worthwhile projects, time with family or friends, time to regroup and decompress, and time to play. Disorganization also robs you of money: money spent on buying something you have several of somewhere but can’t locate, money lost on missed opportunities from not finding data you had placed … somewhere, and money lost in finance charges by not paying bills on time or missing a special sale price.

The majority of those I coach (and even those I don’t) have too much stuff! It seems to be a disease in our country – and I know it’s not just ours, but we do seem to take the lead in this area. I hear complaints from clients who get stressed out just walking in their front door because of the visual assault their “stuff” wields. When I coach a client to really take a look at what they have, they are astounded to realize how infrequently they use most of what they have been storing. They also realize how much is disposable.

Juli Shulem

And it doesn’t matter how much space a person has, because those with more space generally seem to fill it.

While traveling, I learned a lesson in possession-free living. Traveling to Bali, my family and I had the opportunity to have dinner and spend the evening with a wonderful family at their home. Allow me to describe this home. It consisted of a front lawn (their living room), a patio (their dining room), an outdoor hot plate and cement cabinet (their kitchen and pantry), two indoor rooms with cement walls without closets or cabinets (the bedrooms – one for the parents and the other for their son and daughter to share), and a room with a door containing a sink, toilet, and hose (their bathroom with “shower”). The most astounding thing was that the room shared by the two teenage children was void of anything that I see in children’s rooms in the states. They had a cot each to sleep on, a desk to share, and one wardrobe between the two of them. That’s it.

Not a toy, piece of paper, electronic gadget, closet full of clothes, old game, costume; no junk from amusement parks or parts from things long forgotten were found. Nothing more than the things they needed to live. And they are happy. They are gracious. They have time to spend with one another. They smile. They get their work done and relax afterwards. They enjoy their lives and their days. They have less stress than I am used to seeing.

They have time to spend on the things they choose because they don’t have c-r-a-p lying all over their homes tugging at them for attention and valuable time. They don’t have to spend evenings and weekends purging, or rummaging through closets of junk to find something they need. They don’t have to put off seeing friends because they have to organize a garage, or, worse, avoid having friends over because of the humiliation of having their disorganization seen. They simply don’t have such problems because they simply don’t have stuff.

So, I challenge you to look good and hard at your living and work space. What do you really need? What are you holding onto that is not providing any benefit anymore? What would be better gotten rid of than held onto? What is sucking time away from your life and giving little in return?

A life well spent is a life filled with experiences and relationships, which can’t very well happen when too much energy is focused on things. Have a wonderfully simple day.

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