Often we mistake organisation for simplicity.
The logic goes: in order to be living a truly simple life, you need to have a whole host of systems in place that will organise every aspect of your day.
And it’s true that you can schedule your hours, organise your wardrobe, catalogue your paperwork, arrange your kitchen utensils, reconfigure your garage to hold more stuff and roster your down-time. But creating a slow home means many of those systems are simply unnecessary. If you strip away what you don’t need, you’ll find that life doesn’t require nearly as much organising as the storage solution stores and home decor magazines will have you believe.
Many of us cling to organisation because we believe it helps us get through the day without losing our sanity. And this is true to a point.
But it’s also a way to procrastinate while still feeling productive. Organising means you avoid recognising:
- those uncomfortable heels were a waste of money
- your kids have more toys than they can possibly play with
- years worth of paperwork are largely unnecessary
- your gym clothes have remained unworn for months
- you’re no longer interested in knitting/fencing/snowboarding/oil painting
Organising means you avoid facing your fears and regrets.
Of course life is busy, and some organisation helps corral that busy-ness into a semblance of order. So I’m not telling you to do away with your diary, bill paying system or ironing baskets. If they really help you in creating a less stressful day, then that is wonderful.
But at some point “organising” and “simplifying” become different sides of the same coin.
- Do you need to organise your filing cabinet - or simply declutter it?
- Do you need to organise your wardrobe – or simply remove what you don’t wear?
- Do you need to have a complicated schedule of extra activities for the family – or simplify your schedule?
- Do you need to roster in appointments – or assess which ones are essential?
- Do you need that new storage solution – or do you just need less stuff?
You need to leave space for life to happen. And life is messy. Life is uncertain. Life is spontaneous. Life is not organised.
You are reading this because you want to create a slow home and a simpler way of life. And while being organised – to a point – means you have time and space for life to unfold peacefully, over-doing it means you run the very real risk of sucking the joy from your days.
And that’s our end goal isn’t it? To rediscover the joy. The zing of doing something spontaneous. The flash of excitement when you realise, “Why the hell not? I’d love to go to the beach/play in the sun/have a nap.”
If you over-do the organising, if you schedule the guts out of your days, weeks, months and school terms, you risk losing one of the biggest joys in life – spontaneity.
So my tip:
Be as organised as you need to be. No more.
Organise what you really need. But don’t turn to organisation simply to store more junk in your space or cram more into your days. The key is to take away what isn’t necessary and good. There you will find your simpler life.