I’m now reading an interesting book entitled Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. There are a lot of useful tips there about how to declutter our life and better organize it. I especially like the fact that it takes the organizing issue from the inside out, which means that it creates a system that matches our personality rather than blindly takes one of the systems out there.
I haven’t finished the book, but a thought came to my mind: there is a way to make decluttering and organizing much easier and less complicated, and that is a step to be taken prior to decluttering. I believe it will make our life simpler and happier, and here it is:
Think twice before accepting new stuff into your life
Spend time to think and think again before accepting new stuff into your life. We may think that having more stuff is a sign of abundance, but having more stuff actually takes up more resources: money to buy it, storage space to store it, and especially mental energy to think or be distracted by it.
So you should have a filtering system not to let stuff easily comes into your life. It’s a prevention to cluttering problem. If you have this filter in place, you may eliminate the need of decluttering in the first place.
To apply it, here are some questions regarding new stuff you should ask yourself:
- Can I eliminate the need? What is the worst thing that could happen if I don’t get the stuff?
Often the “worst thing” is not as bad as we first think. Once we realize that we can eliminate the need, it will be much easier not to accept the stuff.
- Is there any other way to meet the need?
If you do need the functionalities, can you get them in another way, especially using your existing stuff?
- Will I use the stuff often?
If you can only meet the need using the new stuff, how often will you use it? If it’s only occasionally, there are usually better means to get the functionalities without acquiring the stuff. One obvious way is borrowing.
If the stuff passes all the three questions, then there is still one more step to go:
Wait 30 days and then ask the questions again.
After 30 days, what you initially think as absolute need may eventually become unnecessary. If for some reasons the need can’t wait for 30 days, just wait as long as you can.
Eventually, if the stuff passes all these tests, then get it. You definitely need it.
Photo by nilexuk