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The Not-So-Elusive Key to an Organized 2013

21 Jan

This time of year, every venue offers you tips to organize your life, improve your situation, save money, save time, lose weight and be happier. Most advice involves buying more, doing more, or finding time and labor-intensive ways to do more with less. Let me offer another option … LESS.

Period. Own less. Do less. Be responsible for less. Enjoy life more. 

Collectors vs. Hoarders

Organizational fanatics usually collect lots of things, but they keep everything organized, so they fool themselves it’s somehow better than hoarding. I still struggle with organizational delusions. That stopped when I started to notice how much of my life was being absorbed by organizing, maintaining, and handling all my many “things.”

Now, I’m taking action.

Baby Steps

I’m creating a better 2013 for myself by eliminating things. I’ll always write long-hand in addition to my digital creations. I will always swoon at the smell of ink and paper, run my hand over sheaves of nice stationery, and want to take every writing utensil I see for a test drive. I know this about myself, so I’m learning to work with it instead of against it.

Being a writer and a tech geek means I collect more “stuff” than most. Paper, pens, pencils, desk supplies, cords, chargers, accessories and ways to carry, store, and organize it all thrills me! It is my biggest hurdle. Once I started paying attention, I realized I always reach for the rollerball in my purse when jotting notes and I always reach for my special fountain pen when I’m at my desk. All my other handwriting implements remain untouched.

When on the road, I reach for the best no-tangle charge cord for my phone/tablet and the small, most powerful charger block – so why do I sort through the dozen or so that collect in my computer bag and purse? I always grab one tech bag … so why do I own a slew of them? Some girls have shoe collections; mine are books, writing implements and tech gadgets. I own two laptops and a desktop, but always grab the same light-weight ultrabook, even when I’m working at home.

Rather than having a dozen notebooks and journals, I’ve trimmed it back to a small stock of excellent quality composition books and a luxury leather cover to make using these workhorse notebooks a pure visual and tactile delight.

The more things I have, the less I appreciate each individual thing.

Stuff = Time

Stuff requires time: YOUR time. First you must determine what you want, then locate it, make the money to buy it, mentally justify the purchase, deal with the packaging it comes in, find a place to store it, and begin feeling a grain of guilt when it sits there unused. It’s a huge responsibility. Pretty soon, the grains pile up and you find yourself in a buried. 

Purging Toward Freedom

The best part of an elimination purge is tossing projects that have been around, unfinished, for years. I realized the things I wanted to do in my 20s no longer really fit the “me” of today. Give yourself permission to change your mind about projects, hobbies, and pursuits. I don’t feel guilty for old unfinished projects now. I tossed them out. Instant relief.

I’ve discarded books (BOOKS for goodness sake!) in my “to read” pile. If I’ve not read those stacks in the last few years, it’s probably because I really prefer the ones I actually have read. More guilt gone.

Despite my love of the printed word and actual ink on paper, I read ebooks more often, especially those I will only read once. That eliminates physical clutter and I can keep a huge library of books on a variety of topics without dusting, storing, or organizing them. My physical library has been reduced to my leather-bound classics and reference books.

I’ve had art supplies for years that I want to use, but never did because I was busy managing all the other obligations in my life (many of them the result of juggling too much stuff). I’ve sorted and pruned my art implements and now have the time to use them. It’s nice!

Take the plunge!

Life is too short to spend all your time dealing with things that don’t matter, aren’t perfect, or you don’t enjoy. If you decide to take a purging approach to your new year, let me advise you to keep only the best quality of the things you really love. If that means tossing a dozen so-so items and buying one awesome one, do it!

It’s difficult to purge, but you will love the results! I promise. I’m living proof.

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Meet the Writer: Angela Allen has been creating online content for small business clients since 1999, when she had to use a painfully slow dial-up connection. Now, she specializes in real estate topics and organic content marketing for entrepreneurs on a gloriously high-speed connection. When she’s not writing for WickedWriter.com clients, she enjoys the discipline of living small in her high-tech cabin deep in the woods of Kentucky, blogging on WickedBlog, and enjoying the pure tactile titillation of going “old-school” and writing with a fountain pen on luxury paper.

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