“Don’t Just Declutter, De-own.”
– Joshua Becker
Many of us try to get control of our stuff by organizing. We buy brightly colored plastic bins or elegant baskets to contain our freshly sorted possessions.¹
It’s only later – after we’ve spent a lot of money on bins and baskets, and a lot of time sorting – that we realize organizing won’t solve the problem.
Too much stuff is too much stuff, no matter how neatly and beautifully it’s stored.
“At some point I realized that I wasn’t organizing my life; I was organizing my clutter.”
– Miss Minimalist
Of course, advertisements lead us to believe bins and baskets will solve all our problems. We’ll just buy these cute “storage and organization solutions,” toss our stuff in them, and be done with it.
Our homes will feel airy and light. Items won’t go missing. We’ll have more time for fun. Heck, we’ll probably even have more friends!
Of course, it’s not really that easy. Organized stuff takes up space and needs cleaning and maintenance – and regular reorganizing.
But, at least, our homes won’t look cluttered after we buy all these organizers, and that’s what really counts, right?²
“Whether our homes are strewn with wall-to-wall material possessions or we have a complex ordinal item-dispersal system, color-coded and alphabetized, we’re still not dealing with the real problem.”
– the Minimalists
The benefits of minimalism come not from sorting and hiding our clutter, but by eliminating it. By reducing our possessions to those we love and use regularly.
Once we’ve done so, most things will organize themselves, in that they’ll fit neatly in their designated spaces. You won’t need to fill your garage with Rubbermaid bins or keep buying new baskets to hide more stuff on top of your cupboards.
Instead, you can buy or make a few organizational items that serve not to hide your stuff, but to make it easier to find and access.
It’ll be much easier to shop mindfully and avoid re-cluttering your home, because you’ll recognize how much better your life is when you own less. Buying more storage bins (or a bigger house) to hold unwanted stuff will no longer feel like an option.
As Marie Kondo says, “Unbelievable as it may sound, you only have to experience a state of perfect order once to be able to maintain it.”
Have you ever organized your clutter?
¹ One market researcher predicts that demand for home-organization products in the US will increase to $10.5 billion in 2019).
² About Parenting, for instance, says, “We all have some degree of clutter in our homes. It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate it. Instead, ‘never let them see your clutter.’ Declutter your home with these four storage solutions.”