The First Step in Organizing Mindfully is to…

Screen Shot 2012-10-07 at 2.54.34 PMThe first step in organizing mindfully is to connect your heart with your head. Step One: Let go. Simplify. Reduce the Flow in.

Ask yourself:

  • Why am I keeping this item?
  • Am I ready to let go?
  • Do I really need this?
  • Will I actually use it?
  • Do I still want to own this item — whether I actually need it or will use it — or do I feel obligated?

After you’ve answered those questions, ask yourself:

  • Do I love this?
  • Is this item relevant in my life, today, or does it represent a past version of me?
  • Does this item still feel good to me?
  • Could someone else use or enjoy this more than me?
  • Can I give myself permission to let go?

Organizing will probably fail if it only addresses the symptoms of the disorganization and doesn’t get to the root causes. It’s like mowing the dandelions from your yard; they’ll grow back. To make effective and lasting changes, you need to pull them out by the roots. In the same way, your physical surroundings are a reflection of your mental and emotional processes. 

When you’re ready, ask yourself:

  • Am I having trouble letting go because I’m carrying a resentment, guilt, grief or shame?
  • Do I need to mourn the loss of something?
  • Is there someone to whom I need to make amends or with whom I need to speak?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • How do I create that feeling for myself?

Television is a wonderful tool, and can have positive and negative effects. Programs about organizing may be helpful to you, or they may be misleading because they make it look like you wave a magic wand and everything around you is organized in an afternoon. It isn’t. Be kind to yourself. 

If you like my point of view, please check out my just released book: The Wilde Woman’s Guide to Organizing in Five Simple Steps: Using Mindfulness to Change Your Habits.

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