November: A Time to Give Thanks for What You Love in Your Life and to Learn to Live with Less
As Thanksgiving approaches, we are presented with an opportunity to take stock of the abundance in our lives. It’s wonderful to take this time to feel grateful for our blessings that bring us joy and fulfillment and to spend time with our families and friends, but it is also important to notice areas of our lives where there is excess. Abundance in terms of possessions can lead to clutter. There is no better time to eliminate clutter and get organized than before the holidays are in full swing for two reasons. First, the holidays are so busy for most that it’s easy to push ridding and organizing to the wayside when we are hosting and attending parties, cooking, volunteering, skiing, or whatever else might come up this time of year. Secondly, many holidays come with gifts, and that means more stuff. So let’s use the last couple of weeks in November to be thankful for what we have, identify what we no longer need, and create what space we want for the end of this year that we can take with us into 2016.
November 30 Day Minimalist Challenge
If you are signed up to receive the monthly newsletter or follow Create Space Organizing on Instagram, then you are well aware that CSO has been doing a 30 Day Minimalist Challenge this month, suggesting one category to purge each day and encouraging followers to learn to live with less. If you aren’t signed up or following, it’s not too late! There will be a daily challenge for the rest of the month, so scroll down and enter your email or click on the Instagram icon on the bottom of this page. I have been following this challenge myself and am feeling lighter each day, and my house is looking better too. I’ve purged art supplies, extra bedding, kitchen gadgets, books and magazines and so much more. It is a great way to push yourself to really evaluate what is in your home, and you can also feel good about donating items that someone else could really use. Also having one thing to tackle per day feels much more manageable than doing it all at once. I challenge you to follow along for the rest of the month, or do your own challenge and try to donate one thing per day until December!
Process of Elimination
As you challenge yourself to get rid of things for the rest of the month, think about the true value of the items that you are deciding whether or not to keep. Professional organizer Rick Woods’ book Make Room for Clarity: Getting Rid of the Clutter that Gets in Your Way suggests not getting caught up in how much you originally paid for the item, but instead thinking about what it is worth now. Follow his method:
- Place each item on a surface where you can really take a look at it. The bed works well for clothing, countertops work well for kitchen items, and a tabletop works well for other items like books and decorative pieces. Really examine each thing and notice if it is in good condition, if it needs any repair or cleaning, and most importantly if you still like or use it.
- Then ask yourself if you would rebuy this item today. If you would not buy it even if it were on sale or worse yet would not want it even if it were given to you as a gift, then it no longer holds any value to you. The item should be donated or sold, if this is the case. Remember that even though this item no longer holds value to you, that doesn’t mean it won’t hold value to someone else.
- Alternatively, if you would buy it again in a heartbeat, or would even pay more for it than you originally did, it deserves a place in your life because you still deem it to be worth something to you. I don’t mean worth just money, but it deserves the space it takes up. The goal is to only have items you value in your home, for usefulness or aesthetics.
Living with Less
By taking the time to eliminate excess at the end of this year, you are setting yourself up to start off 2016 on the right foot. This holiday season, see if you can shift your focus from consuming to simplifying. Use Thanksgiving to recognize how much you already have, and maybe even where you have too much. Anything you can do without, can do good for someone else. Check for local coat and food drives, and other donation drives that are going on this time of year. It’s a great time to feel the abundance in your own life, and then to share the wealth. Living with less will not make you feel deprived, but quite the opposite. As I have participated in this 30 day minimalist challenge, each day I feel lighter, but also more clear about only wanting things in my life that add value. I know you’ll feel the same, as you choose to keep only the things that you love.