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Tidying up may seem like a chore. Depending on how much you have to declutter, it could either be a walk in the park or take several rounds. What if decluttering was more than just getting organized? How would you perceive things if you knew that the stuff in your home you’re not using can actually help someone?
I am very excited to have Evan Zislis share his perspective on how decluttering can make a difference. Evan is a professional organizer, social entrepreneur and bestselling author. He helps people to simplify so they can focus on what matters most, and that is: who we love, what we do, how, and why we live — because everything else is just stuff. His focus is in 5 areas: organization, operational systems, time & task management, content creation, and professional networking.
Guest post by Evan Zislis.
There is an elusive connection between our stuff and the impact those things have on a global scale. As a professional organizer, I’ve seen how our clutter can have a positive impact on hyper-local communities. The good news is our clutter becomes part of the solution – it becomes a way to help real people. To really get organized requires prioritizing what we need most – and purging the rest. But when we get stuck deciding what stays and what goes, sometimes connecting the dots between our stuff and real people – makes all the difference in the world.
When my clients struggle to let their old stuff go – I tell them a little story and the instant I’m finished talking – almost always, they can’t give me their stuff fast enough!
Meet Pam.* Monday through Friday, Pam’s alarm goes off at 5:30AM. Still half asleep, she turns off her alarm, takes a deep breath, and slides her feet into the worn pink slippers next to her bed. Pam’s first thought of the day is always the same, “I’m okay. I’m okay.” She always says it twice. That’s her ritual. It’s not fancy, but it gets her up.
Monday through Friday, Pam gets out of bed, makes breakfast, packs school lunches, gets the kids up and fed, and then drops them off at school. Next, she drives an hour across town to her job as an insurance adjuster at a large downtown firm and is busy at her desk by 8:30AM.
At 5:00PM sharp, Pam tidies her desk, leaves the office, drives an hour across town, picks up her kids at a neighbor’s house, makes dinner, and spends a little time with them. After homework is checked, teeth are brushed, and everyone is tucked in, it’s 9:00PM – and Pam is exhausted.
After tidying the house, returning a few phone calls, checking the mail, and paying a few bills, its 10:00PM. Pam is reading in bed before turning off the light. Her alarm clock goes off seven hours later – and she does it all over again.
For now, this is their life. Every day, a great big deep breath – and the same, steadfast mantra: “I’m okay. I’m okay.”
Pam makes a living, but there’s nothing left over after paying her bills. Struggling to make ends meet, and keeping her kids engaged in school – and in life – is a full time job. When there’s not much money at the end of the month, Pam relies on whatever she can afford at local thrift and consignment shops for just about everything they need.
Pam hasn’t told anyone she knows, but more than once, she has swallowed her pride to grab a few items at the local food pantry, just to get through the week. When someone gets sick, when the car breaks down, or if the kids need money for extracurricular activities – there’s simply nothing leftover. And that hangs over Pam like a dark, angry cloud.
We tend to take our stuff for granted. We tend to see our clutter as a nuisance, a persistent barrier to the life we seek. And yet, we forget that there are those in our own neighborhoods who desperately struggle to clothe and feed their families.
We tend to mindlessly accumulate things we don’t need in the first place, perpetuating an endless cycle of more stuff – that leads to more clutter.
If you’re serious about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, do these 3 simple things (that might just help save the world):
1. Need less. Stop accumulating things you don’t need in the first place. Save your hard-earned money for quality items made to last – things you actually love, need, and will use a long time.
2. Regularly purge items you no longer love, need or use. Build in scheduled times and practical systems that promote getting rid of stuff on a regular basis. (Examples: Fill a laundry basket every week of items you can thrift or consign. Thrift or consign at least three to four items for every new item you bring home. Save money by using the income from your consignment accounts to fund your next purchase.)
3. Support local thrift shops, consignment stores, and community agencies that assist local families. Supporting second-hand economies helps small business owners to employ a local staff, provides an inventory for stores, and makes valuable items available to families who can’t afford full-retail. Moving your stuff along also keeps viable goods in circulation and diminishes the need for new items to be manufactured at the factory level. Not only does this make good sense for the global environment and your local community, it will also keep your space clean and clutter-free.
Jane Goodall was right. “You can’t get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Evan Zislis is a professional organizer based in Aspen, Colorado and author of the Amazon bestseller ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World. Learn more at www.ClutterFreeRevolution.com and join the revolution on Facebook.
© 2016. ClutterFreeRevolution. Evan Michael Zislis.
* Pam is fictional.