Organizing seems to be America’s new favorite pastime. There are a multitude of books, magazines and even stores devoted to it.
Trust me when I say I get it… I am a bit of an organizing freak myself. It’s a great relief to live in an ordered home where I can put my fingers on any requested object without breaking a sweat.
But I hear time and time again from people who are so overwhelmed with all their stuff, they don’t know how to begin to tame the mayhem. Maybe instead of re-arranging it all, they just need to get rid of some of it.
Here are three reasons why experts say discarding is better than organizing. In the words of Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”
1. Your discarded things will make someone else happy.
Joshua Becker, author of the best-selling book The More Of Less, so eloquently states, “Organizing our stuff better doesn’t benefit anybody else…. as opposed to an act of minimalism, an act of de-owning things, it allows opportunity to benefit other people… our excess becomes an opportunity to provide for someone in need.”
Courtney Carver of Be More With Less and creator of the highly acclaimed capsule closet challenge Project 333 suggests, “Send 5 care packages…Choose 5 books from your collection for 5 people you love. Write a nice note in the book and give the recipient permission to pass it on when they finish. Sign, seal, deliver. You’ll make a little room on your bookshelf and make 5 friends smile.”
2. Organizing has to be done over and over and over…
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalist Film (an excellent documentary by the way!) advise not to just rearrange and move stuff out of sight in order to feel better.
These masters of minimalism say the “easiest way to organize stuff is to get rid of most of it.”
Leo Babauta, creator and author of the insanely popular Zen Habits, takes this one step futher saying, “The problem with decluttering is that we can declutter our butts off (don’t actually try that — it’s painful) but it just comes back because we buy more stuff. So fight that tendency by nipping it in the bud: don’t buy the stuff in the first place.”
3. Discarding stuff releases your space, your time and your mind… organizing doesn’t.
“Breathing Space” is crucial to our well-being. We need space to thrive. Let’s face it, if you’re still surrounded by pretty bins full of stuff, you’re still surrounded by clutter.
All of those nicely arranged and organized things on the shelves and tables (and excess furniture) take up space, collect dust and have to be cleaned… what a time waster!
Tsh Oxenreider of The Art Of Simple expounds on the freedom of discarding… “Decluttering—or, just getting rid of stuff leaves your four walls, and immediately you have more visual and physical space. Your shoulders feel lighter, you know where everything is, and you truly love everything left. And you love your home just a little bit more…. Living with less trumps organizing because it truly begets freedom. Freedom to live with more clarity, freedom to pursue work and hobbies we truly love, freedom to spend more time with people instead of taking care of our things.”
What about you? Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed with your clutter? If so, maybe instead of thinking about organizing, you can focus on getting rid of some of your excess stuff. In doing so you’ll make others happy, save some time and find more freedom in your life.