Read time: 3-4 min
So often in my seminars the following scenario takes place. I will show my audience a “before” picture of a cluttered office or an overstuffed kitchen cabinet, and someone will yell out from the audience, “Hey, that looks pretty good to me!” In other words my clients have lived with so much clutter for so long that, like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water, they can’t recognize true clutter when they see it.
Clutter, whether it be an item, a thought, or a habit, is anything that gets in the way of the life you want to live. I share in my seminars that it doesn’t matter how much stuff you keep, as long as it is organized, and you can find it and get to it in less than 15 seconds. If those parameters are met, then your stuff is serving you, and you can keep as much as you want.
But, if your stuff is blocking out light and air and costing you money because you had to buy a bigger basement or garage to store all of it, then it is a pretty sure bet that it is getting in the way of the life that you want to live. That’s when you will need to take a good hard look at what you are keeping and why.
Here is how I personally know that I have too much and it is getting in the way of the life that I want to live. Do all my cabinets, drawers, shelving, closets and rooms hold sufficiently what I own with a lot of room to grow? In other words, does my sweater drawer hold my basic sweaters with enough room to purchase another one, if I need to? Does my kitchen cabinet filled with pans hold the right amount of pans stacked no more than two deep, or are my pans crammed into every nook and cranny without the possibility of ever finding the one I need? Does my linen closet house just the right amount of linens with room to grow, or are the sheets and towels scrunched and stuffed to the point that when I reach for a sheet, everything falls out on top of me?
These are critical questions that you need to ask to decide if you have way too much stuff crammed into areas that are too small for the amount of items that you have. I have clients that are trying to get 17 sweaters into a small drawer or 98 shirts hanging in a small closet or 200 pairs of socks in a chest of drawers. Often clients think that they have too small a house or basement or pantry, when, in fact, they have too much clutter and stuff.
We are trying to house way more in our cabinets or drawers than they can hold. So ask yourself, do I have just the right amount of items in each area that allows me to quickly reach anything that I own with room in each cabinet or closet for growth?
Or am I swearing, stewing, and stumbling every time I need to access anything that I own? If you can reach anything in 15 seconds, then your stuff is sufficiently organized. If not, then change is needed. My hope is that your life will not be hindered by needless clutter for even one more day.