When we decide to make a major life change, we are forced to evaluate our thoughts and beliefs. Major changes – whether they are chosen or not – force us to pay attention to what is going on in our minds, and seeing our house messy can give us many clues of what we are doing not quite right.
Why do we keep our house messy?
Let’s look deeper to determine the truth of the myths.
And let’s face it: all of us have lies that we tell ourselves, even without realizing it. Most of these falsehoods are believed unintentionally (we rarely believe a lie on purpose). But regardless, these lies affect the way we live, the decisions we make, how we communicate with others, and yes, even the state of our home.
Six years ago, my family discovered the joy of owning less when we decided to remove 2,008 items in 2008. We liked it so much, we also removed 2,009 items in 2009, 2,010 items in 2010, and it has continued every year including this one (with 8 people in the house , things seem to slip through the cracks).
This change in our lives, removing the unnecessary so that we can focus more on what really matters, has led me to evaluate my own thoughts and beliefs. As I did, I began to recognize some of the specific lies that were keeping my home and life in disarray.
Sure, we each have our own versions, but here are six that are particularly common. See if any of these prevent you from experiencing greater simplicity in your life.
If I limit my closet, my clothes will be boring
Truth: Having fewer clothes allows us to invest in quality items that fit and coordinate well, so no matter what you wear, you look great. Your clothes don’t have to be boring.
A closet can include the items you want. It doesn’t have to be neutral.
People will notice how big and “well dressed” you look all the time. You can adorn dresses with different accessories to add variety and include your own special touch. If you like hats, a few different hats can be the pieces that make the difference. The same can be for belts, scarves, heels, or even boots.
If I leave the work for later, I will be more motivated to finish it
Truth: When we put off small projects around the house, a to-do list begins to form in the back of our minds. And this makes it difficult to truly enjoy other things. As a result, not only has the work not finished, but it has also become a nuisance for us.
To ease this tension, get into the habit of putting something away when you’re done using it. Most small jobs take less than 5 minutes. End it and then revel in your accomplishment. Put away the baking utensils when you’re done. Wash the dishes after eating. Fold and put away the load of laundry when it’s finished drying. Sort the mail as soon as you bring it home. Or set up the room before leaving. Your house will stay clear, and so will your mind.
If you accomplish little things throughout the day, you won’t have to set aside time to clean. You’re creating a habit of neatness instead of using all your energy to catch up on what you’ve been putting off.
If I get rid of something, I’ll regret it later
Truth: Most of the things we keep, we don’t really need. And a lot of times, when we do something around keeping “just in case” and we get to the point where we need it, and we can’t find it. So we end up borrowing one or buying a new one. So why keep it in the first place?
Or maybe we keep things for the sentimental, since we feel like we are betraying the person who gave it to us if we don’t keep it. We’re not getting rid of people or memory, we’re just getting rid of an element. If the item is stored in storage, it’s not serving its purpose anyway. Allow yourself to find freedom by releasing it. Or allow that item to serve a purpose by giving it a new home.
If I throw papers, I’m going to throw something important
Truth: We don’t need nearly as many physical records as we keep. Chances are if you decide to deal with your stack of papers and throw it all in a trash can, a total of 80% of it will be junk mail, receipts you don’t need, bills that have already been paid, or other. documents that are accessible online. The remaining 20% or less can fit in a small presentation box. Unless you own a business, get legal advice from your accountant on what you need to better maintain and organize papers and receipts.
If it needs to be done right, I have to do it myself.
Truth: When we fail to delegate, we harm ourselves through overwork and burnout. Even more, we steal the growth opportunity from others. Demanding perfectionism is often another form of procrastination. It doesn’t really matter how a job is done, as long as it is done.
The work may not be done exactly as you would, but delegation is important, especially as we teach our children the value of hard work and how to be an active member of society. Start with tasks that bother you least if you finish them ‘wrong’ and then work from there. Many children can break boxes, take out the trash, and choose 20 items from their toys that they want to donate. Your spouse can tackle one room while you do another.
If my closet and drawers are full, I need better organization tools
Truth: We cannot organize excess. Maybe the solution isn’t that you need a better organization tool, maybe the problem is that you own too much stuff. Courtney Carver says it this way: “If you need to buy more stuff to organize all your stuff, maybe you own too much stuff.”
The purchase of organization tools is only feeding the philosophy of consumerism. Organizing excess is spending even more time sorting and taking care of things, when we could get rid of them once and for all and spend more time doing the things that are really important to us.
Writing: Vida Lúcida team