Your home doesn’t have to be!
Organization can appear daunting, especially when our lives are lacking it. Its absence takes the form of an overflowing closet or that pile of paper perpetually lying on the desk. Amanda Sullivan recognizes the struggle of keeping a clean living area and explores the numerous ways organization can be achieved. Structured strategies and tips for making your space more livable are presented in her book, Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting — and Staying — Organized (Da Capo Press).
In a society driven by consumption, many are hesitant to get rid of things. However, rather than solely accumulating possessions, a home should maintain a constant flow of material. Items that go unused or unseen are taking up valuable space. Sullivan progresses through each space of the home, providing clutter-reducing methods along the way. From the kitchen cabinets to the bedroom, she depicts how the concept of FLOW can be used to improve your life. The acronym FLOW stands for, “Forgive yourself. Let stuff go. Organize what’s left. Weed constantly.” By adhering to these principles, a person can begin to overcome disorganization within their space. At first, getting organized may involve purging, which is due to all the time that was previously spent bringing items in without getting rid of any. For instance, it may not be necessary to hold onto every T-shirt since high school in order to maintain a functional wardrobe.
Along with organizing the things in your life, Sullivan highlights the benefits of developing habits for routine household activities. Rather than allowing the pantry to run entirely out of food, she suggests building grocery shopping into your weekly routine. This will give structure to the kitchen, allowing it to maintain a healthy input and output. Habits can be manifested in other aspects of life to help maintain organization within the home, such as having a designated laundry day. Adherence to the schedule allows you to own fewer clothes while always having something clean to wear.
Sullivan discusses the ways in which, once begun, organization can remain when life gets in the way. By creating good systems on the front end, such as having an order in which the mail is opened and bills are paid, you do not have to spend time thinking about what needs to be done. In the absence of this decision-making process, the amount of time spent completing household tasks is reduced. Structuring time each evening where 10 minutes is devoted to tidying up any clutter or piles that have been strewn across the living room can be a valuable habit in maintaining an organized environment. Being mindful of how you handle organization can benefit you in setting up schedules that work in your life.
The insight provided by Sullivan in Organized Enough can help turn a messy space into a home. By incorporating the concept of FLOW and building habits and systems into your life, the goal of becoming and staying organized is achievable.
Article by Eco Partners intern, Vic Roe.