~Note: This week's post is by Merritt Chesson. Merritt is the professional organizer and founder of SIMPLY KEPT, based out of Durham, NC. She provides assistance in clutter management and organizational design in both homes and workplaces.~
We often talk about what fills our time, how we spend our time, etc. But what fills our space? And how does this affect how we use our space, how we feel in our space?
Too often, as with time, our space gets filled with happenstance objects like shoes we do not wear, furniture we do not like, unread magazines or unused appliances. These objects do not support our daily flow or values. They have a way of crowding out or distracting us from those things that do serve our interests – those things that we actually do use regularly, that inspire us, and that contribute to the kind of lives we want to live.
Instead of a clear, open, inviting space for eating, for example, a kitchen table gets piled with mail, books, and bags. Instead of a pleasing display of one’s clothes and accessories, a closet gets packed with old storage boxes and forgotten keepsakes. Instead of a productive, efficient, and inspiring workspace, an office becomes filled with piles of papers, supplies, machines, and cords.
Cluttered spaces can leave us feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and distracted from what we really care about, from those things that actually impact our lives in a positive way. Clutter winds up affecting not just our physical space by also our state of mind, how we think, feel, and function.
As a professional organizer, I encourage my clients’ awareness of their daily needs and rhythms to help them to sort through and clear out those items that clog space and distract from priorities and/or desired lifestyle or workflow. We consider together how they wish to function and feel in their space and explore ways to make that happen.
You can do this too by approaching one space at a time (kitchen, closet, office, living room, laundry room, basement, drawer, filing cabinet, pantry, etc.). Below are some helpful questions for self-assessment and direction. While my clients and I work on most of these together, I suggest you choose one or two to keep you focused and not overwhelmed:
- How do I feel in this space? How do I want to feel in this space?
- What are my priorities for this space? How do I want to use this space?
- How do I want this space to reflect and support my values?
- Are there some items in this space that I don’t use regularly? Could they be thrown away, recycled, given away, or stored somewhere out of the way? (This is one of my absolute favorite questions!!! Letting go of these items is a huge first step to making way for those things that contribute positively to your daily life.)
- Are those items that I do use regularly reasonably accessible?
- What do I need to feel more inspired, empowered, and at ease in this space?
When your space supports your values and priorities instead of distracting you from them, you are living well!
~Merritt has offered OTMB readers a great deal: email firstname.lastname@example.org, mention this post, and receive 25% off for a 6-hour package. Offer good through the end of January 2016. Thanks Merritt!