You’re in charge, not your stuff! Let’s find the best way to organize.
First step: Meditate in order to relax your muscles and reduce your heart rate. This practice leads to increased clarity of thinking, deeper sleep and lower stress-hormone levels. Increased focus and memory result, as well as reduced inflammation in the body, which is a recognized cause of disease.
How to start meditating? Sit in a straight-back chair, with feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your thighs, with palms facing up, feeling your breath as it enters and exits your nostrils. Just focus on your breath and without annoyance dismiss any thoughts that try to intrude.
All right then. Time to sort the papers, placing related papers together in separate stacks. For example, make a stack related to taxes, another for manuals, one for proof of purchase with receipt attached to be tossed after the warranty is over, yet another for home projects you are currently working on.
If you’re doing a remodel, you might create a stack for budget; architect; bank loan; contractor; permits. Go ahead and shred paid bills that are not tax-deductible.
Finally, keep action files near you and your shredder or recycle bin as you open mail. Five action files could be labeled: asap, low priority, to read, to file and pending (which will eventually graduate to asap file after resolution!)
Now you’re well on your way to ordering your possessions, and experiencing the resulting inner calm. Outer order allows you to project a more positive identity to yourself and likewise, to the world. Your space then reflects your true identity and what is happening now in life, full of possibility, purpose and renewal. Your space needs to work for you, not you working for your space!
Simplification is the key. As Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh suggests: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently as if it’s the axis on which the earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
With focused breathing in meditation you trigger the relaxation response, taking charge of your thinking and disarming the power thoughts have over you. Once you clarify your core values, you have set boundaries around choice and actions so you need not worry. You don’t need to waste time on questioning your priorities since your self esteem and focused action have already been established.
Anxiety is then diminished since you feel a sense of autonomy.
You don’t need to strive for minimalism, just strive for an environment where you have purged the unnecessary items that are no longer needed or even liked.
Thanks to technology, many of us no longer need an alarm clock, dictionary or copier, for example. Donate to charity, and don’t even consider storing it in a closet or worse, a storage area!
Remember, you are becoming free of your stuff, and your stuff is now free of you! Time to move on and organize some things out of your collection.
For further reading see:
- “Declutter Your Mind,” by Barrie Davenport and Steve Scott, Old Town Publishing, 2016.
- “Outer Order, Inner Calm,” by Gretchen Rubin, Crown Publishing Group, 2019.