Jan
16
2012

Get Organized: Principle #1

by Kimberlee Stokes Affiliate Link Disclosure B

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Get Organized and Live Life On Purpose.  
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This month I’m sharing the best tips and strategies that have helped me to get organized and to stay that way. Last week we talked about getting organized by making yourself a priority (You can read those posts here, here and here.).

This week I want to share some principles that I have found to be essential to living an organized life.

Principle #1: Eliminate, Eliminate, Eliminate!

As someone said,”You can’t organize clutter.” The best and easiest way to get organized is to cut the excess clutter by getting rid of those possessions, activities and time wasters that are overwhelming your life and weighing you down.

 

STUFF

Holding on to STUFF has a serious draining effect on your life. I can tell you from personal experience. A year ago, we sold 90% of our possessions and moved from a six bedroom, three story house to a small three bedroom condo. It took us several months to get rid of everything, but it was so worth it.

I didn’t have any idea how bogged down and overwhelmed I was by trying to maintain all of the things in our house. Of course, I had a good reason for keeping each and every thing that I owned: we need those shelves of books for homeschool; I may need that extra crock pot for a dinner party; we could use those foam sheets for a craft; my Grandmother gave me that crocheted pillow. The list went on and on.

While each of those statements may hold some truth, the cumulative effect of hanging on to so many possessions kept me from really living life. Now that we are rid of all of that junk and have downsized to the tiny condo, I have a new rule: If I don’t LOVE it or use it regularly, it’s OUTTA HERE! The sense of peace and freedom that I have is amazing.

 

You probably won’t eliminate as much as we did, but if you would like to get rid of some of your STUFF, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Do I NEED this? (not will I need it someday :) )

Do I LOVE this?

Do I WANT MY CHILDREN to have this later?

Can SOMEONE ELSE use this?

 

 

ACTIVITIES

Many times our schedules (rather than our true priorities) rule our lives. We say yes to people and activities because we want to be seen as nice, we truly want to help or we think that the busyness is benefiting us. The problem with saying yes to so many things is that you only have so much time in a day. If you are spending most of that time on other people’s priorities rather than your own, maybe you need to reevaluate.

Please do not think that I am telling you to be selfish and never help anyone. Of course we should serve others, we just need to choose wisely where we spend our limited time and resources, and we need to make sure that we are taking care of our family’s needs first.

Our family has chosen to limit outside activities to one per season (not one per child). During swim season, two of my daughters participated on the same swim team with the same schedule. Right now two of my children play music for our church’s youth band. They have practice one day a week. Limiting our activities helps us to have more family time and helps me to maintain my sanity!

 

You may have different priorities than our family, but before saying yes to another commitment, ask yourself:

Will this BENEFIT my family long term?

Does this align with my PRIORITIES?

Will this commitment prevent me from taking care of my PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES?

 

TECHNOLOGY

Technology has made our lives easier in some ways, but much more complicated in others. There are so many options: hundreds of television shows and millions of websites.

Our family has made a bold move in this area: we have a television-free home. We have a physical television with a dvd player hooked up, but no reception (no television shows including news, sports, kids programming, etc.).

Keeping the t.v. programs out of our home has improved our relationships (we talk more to each other), our productivity (a bored kid is an inventive kid!) and our budget (no cable or satellite bill). When we want to relax we read, play a game or watch a dvd from the library.

We also had a computer free day this past week. Our family enjoyed a delicious home made breakfast, listened to some music while we did an art project together, had a winter picnic in a nearby park and watched a movie together at night. It was a peaceful and enjoyable day and I can tell you we will be doing it again.

 

Again, you may not make the same choices that we have, but if you would like to evaluate the role of technology in your life ask yourself these questions:

How much time do you spend on the internet?

How much time do you spend watching television?

Are you neglecting other priorities because of the time you spend on technology?

 

 

 

If any of this struck a nerve with you but you don’t know where to start, check out my post: Help! Where Do I Start?

Choose one area that is really overwhelming right now: your schedule and outside responsibilities, your internet use, or your closet. Work this week to remove the clutter in that area. You will feel better almost immediately.

 

If you would like to, leave a comment saying what you want to work on eliminating this week. :)

 

Click here for Principle #2.

 

©2012 The Peaceful Mom-Please feel free to share this information as long as you link back and give credit to The Peaceful Mom.com. Please note that this post is not intended as professional advice, but simply the author’s personal opinion. You should seek professional advice if your circumstances require it.

  • Laura

    We have had a television free house for 2 years now and I love it. People don’t realize how much of their life gets sucked away in 30 minutes incriments.

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      So true Laura. I couldn’t believe the difference in my kid’s imaginative play once we got rid of it.

  • Melinda T

    One of my BIGGEST goals this year is to get organized! I’ve been around for 30 years and I’ve accumulated a ton of stuff! :D I’m currently working on my paper files-my daughter’s school work, reciepts, manuals…

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      You can do it Melinda–one step at a time. :)

  • http://www.homecookedhealthy.com homecookedhealthy

    LOVE this article! I’ve been working on ideas for organizing and getting rid of foods in your home that are unhealthy. Since I enjoy a good party I thought it would be fun to combine it with cleaning out: So it’s a Pantry Cleaning Party today!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Thanks Angela!

  • jacquelyn

    Love this article!!!!! We are trying to declutter our home and our life. I have a question: do you limit the amount of computer time for your kids and if so, how long do they get per day? I can’t decide whether to make them earn it or not by doing chores. We also have a Wii with only exercise games, but that’s it – no other video games.

    Thanks!!!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Yes, I limit computer time. We homeschool so the basic rule is no electronics until school is done unless it is school related (researching a topic or typing a paper). I try to limit the kids to one hour a day on the computer for fun activities, but sometimes I don’t pay attention and my 11 year old has been on longer than that. Now that my teenage girls have an iPod, it is difficult to monitor the time they spend on it. I confiscate it every night to make sure they are not using it after bedtime.

  • Dineen

    I purged an old electric meat slicer I picked up for free at a garage sale. I gave it a good cleaning to see if I could get it to work, one try, then out the door it went. One heavy burden gone. A bunch of shipping boxes that came in through the holidays are going out right now. I’ve been terrible about hanging on to boxes for possible crafting use and future shipping needs, but they’re always coming in; so I realize I don’t need to hang on to them.

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Good job Dineen! :)

  • http://www.marykay.com/tgarner1218 Tiffanie

    this week i will eliminate the boxes in my house. We just moved and unpacking is becoming a major chore… so I will finish the unpacking.

  • Corey

    Thanks! This may be a repost for you, but it was just the thing I needed today, at this moment. What’s more, I already know the rule: ELIMINATE. It’s just been hard for me to muster up the strength to take that big step and BEGIN. Today, I actually wandered around the house, coming up with a game plan in my head, and then…I sat down to read just one more blog post on my reader (avoiding, because the job is overwhelming). And this is the post that I saw! So, OKAY, I’m off my fanny to get it started for real this time!! Thanks again, and enjoy your few days of rest & recoup :)

  • http://myownsweethome.wordpress.com/ Sherri

    This week I will eliminate some clothes that we don’t use anymore. This is one of the best things that we can do since it is raining heavily for weeks and the more we eliminate things we don’t need, the more vacant space we have for things that we really use and have to keep.

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