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Piles and piles of mail is what I came home to Tuesday night after 4 days in Florida. Really?!?! How could my husband and I possibly have so much mail? It’s simple…dreaded junk mail. The amount of time I waste sifting through what I need to read compared to what I throw out is ridiculous. To boot, I am buried under piles of laundry, a house to clean, work to catch up on and a list of errands a mile long. Since I’m a bit of a type A personality my serenity is found in organization, no clutter and schedules. Unfortunately, the past year and a half I have done a complete 180 from my organized life and I just can’t seem to catch up. I tend to get overwhelmed and grouchy when I have so much to do because I have no idea where to start. So, enough is enough! I am determined to figure out a way to simplify ME!

A couple of months ago I found this free e-book to download titled, Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. I read the first two chapters and knew the author, Tsh Oxenreider, was one smart chiquita banana. In my recent scatter brained self, I got sidetracked with other projects, work, errands, life and did not read past chapter two. Finally on vacay in Florida this past weekend I had  a chance to read another chapter…yes, I know I am a SLOW reader but at least I read. 🙂 The first chapter talked about how we live with so much “stuff”. Considering I am a no clutter kind of girl I could completely understand what Tsh was trying to explain. We do not need a gadget for everything, ginormous car for two kids, five bedroom house so each kid has their own room, kayak for the once a year kayak trip you take or random things that just take up space. For most people you have to work your tail off to have all that and most of the time that means you don’t even have time to enjoy it. Wonderful, huge house with tons of fancy things and you don’t even get to enjoy it. Where do I sign…uh yeah, no! What do we really need to live a comfy and happy lifestyle?

When my husband and I moved from San Diego to Connecticut for 6 months we lived in a townhouse that was larger than our townhouse in San Diego. We had plenty of room for all of our “necessities”, I had each and every closet organized and our house was clutter free. I absolutely loved the feeling of having a clutter free house that was always organized. Ah type A bliss! That zen feeling of organization was short-lived when we decided to move into an almost 100 year old condo. I guess the peeps back in the early 1900’s didn’t get the memo that closet space was a huge selling point for buyers…even it was for buyers 80 years down the road. My husband and I had our checklist of what was important to us in a house and as the #1 rule in real estate goes, location, location, location was our focus. We found a gorgeous condo, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, completely remodeled within walking distance of everything we wanted. Closet space, who needs closet space? Well, who the heck was I kidding? Closet space IS important and in my opinion cluttered closets equal a cluttered mind. The rest of our house is A-OK, but whatever you do please do not open a closet! I just can’t seem to get those miniature holes in the wall organized.

After reading the first chapter of Organized Simplicity I realized it wasn’t the miniature holes; it was me! There a things in every closet that we haven’t touched since the day we moved in. Do we really need something that hasn’t been used in almost 2 years? Unless it’s fine china, a family heirloom or your spouses plethora of military uniforms…I think you have the green light to chuck it. Ok, maybe not chuck it but donate it or sell it on ebay, craigslist or at a consignment store. I have only been home for two days since my declutter epiphany, so the mass exodus of closet junk is just beginning. We don’t need five extra pillows, ten extra blankets, a box full of random electrical cords or knick knacks that I hope to someday have a shelf that they will look nice on. Give it up! Live in the here and now…use what you need and lose what you don’t.

What about organizing my life? How do I get caught up on the clutter on my desk and on my calendar? As I was going through the ridiculously large pile of mail from only four days away I came across a reminder email from CatalogChoice.org. Divine intervention perhaps? I logged in and started adding my name to the do not mail list of every random catalog that arrived, credit card application and company promotional cards. Type, click and drop into the recycle basket. That was it and I felt better already! One whole pile gone and as the mail arrives daily I have promised myself to sit down, login to CatalogChoice.org and remove my name from the lists that I never wanted my name on in the first place. This is all free and they do offer a $20 per year membership that allows CatalogChoice.org to remove your name from data brokers and mailing lists that sell your name. $20 well spent in my book!

Of course, getting organized is great but I do not want to turn into this calendar toting freak that doesn’t make a move unless it’s on my schedule. I still would like to have a balance of spontaneity and organization. So, after reading a few more chapters in Organized Simplicity I started to feel like I was understanding how to simplify ME.

  1. Remove the closet clutter that has been hanging over my head since, oh, May of 2010.
  2. Focus on what is really a necessity in our home and do not buy unnecessary items aka random junk. (husband…shoes don’t count in this category)
  3. Stay on top of paper clutter everyday until the mail that arrives is only what you must have or would like to receive.
  4. Follow the daily cleaning routine from FunCheaporFree.com (I tend to wait until we have guests and spend 6 hours cleaning my entire house…must be why I hate cleaning)
  5. Since I work from home, schedule work hours and stick to them.
  6. Schedule family time and unplug from the tech world. Family time is family time.
  7. Schedule me time. I love to socialize, so meeting up with my girlfriends, going to the gym, writing, reading (slowly reading) a new book or whatever I feel like doing to relax for a bit.

A few months ago this would have overwhelmed me and I would have gone back to my old ways of running around like a mad woman. Eh, stuff got done but ask any of my friends or family…I’ve been quite scattered brained lately. The hectic, not so simple life just does not work for me. Others seem to thrive off the craziness and it’s all good if you can handle it. I, on the other hand miss that zen feeling of organization, being able to relax without a todo list running through my brain (yes this really sucks during a yoga class), easily accomplishing the day to day tasks and still having time to enjoy life. Thanks to stumbling upon an ebook I have learned that the simple things in life really do make life easier. Stuff, stuff and more stuff only clutters your life and your brain. Rome wasn’t built in a day (cliche I know, but my hubs says it and I love it) so simplifying YOU won’t happen in a day either. Just start somewhere, make yourself a realistic schedule and stick to it. The more you simplify the more you will find an inner peace within the crazy hectic world we live in. I’m taking it day by day, hour by hour and what doesn’t get done will be there tomorrow. Enjoy what today has to offer!

Cheers

Kate | Author | Quintessentially Kate Blog

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