Organization's Three Most Important Questions

The following post is from Joshua of Becoming Minimalist:

source: walter rodriguez

Two and a half years ago, my wife and I (and two small children) decided to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Since then, our lives have changed drastically for the better. By removing the clutter and nonessentials from our home and lives, we have found extra time, extra finances, and less stress. Our newly organized lives have allowed us to pursue our passions and invest our energy into the things that are most valuable to us.

As a result, I have become a HUGE fan of organization. I have seen its benefits and experienced them firsthand. I have applied the core principles of organization into nearly all facets of my life. And I love inspiring others to do the same.

It is safe to say that over the past two years, we have learned a lot about organization. We have asked ourselves many hard questions… and the answers have been enlightening. But regardless of the particular decluttering project, there were three questions that became our most important and most central. Every item in our home and life that needed to be organized required us to ask them.

They are Organization’s Three Most Important Questions. And with them, you can organize nearly anything in your home and life.

Question #1: Is this necessary for me to keep?

The first question is the most important and the most often overlooked. It is the question that we never stopped to ask years ago… and as a result, organization always alluded us. “More is better” is a lie that we had bought into our entire lives. And thus, drawers, closets, and rooms became full and cluttered.

The reality of life is that we need far fewer things to thrive than we think. We have no realization about the mental energy that is being wasted by cleaning, sorting, and maintaining all the “stuff” in our lives. And the sooner we remove it, the sooner we find clarity of thought and organization.

The next time you set out to organize a drawer, closet, or room, examine each item individually and start with this most important question: “Do I really need to keep this?” If the answer is no, discard it. If the answer is yes, proceed to question #2.

Question #2: Is this its proper home?

In our house, everything gets a home. And if it doesn’t have a home, we find one. As much as possible, even our children understand this concept (which makes cleaning with them much easier, by the way).

One of the greatest contributors to disorganization are items that do not find their way into their proper home. When things don’t get placed or returned to their home, junk mail clutters the kitchen counter, batteries lay in junk drawers, and toys end up all over the house. Every decluttering/organizing project must include this important question. If an item is found away from its home, return it. If it doesn’t have a home, create one. And if it is home already, proceed to question #3.

Question #3: How often do I use this?

After unnecessary items have been discarded and misplaced items returned, organize the remaining items based on their usage. As much as possible, frequently used items should be in the front or top where access is easier. Less frequently used items should be stored in the back or bottom. This will help keep disorganization to a minimum. And if the space is too small, purge from the back.

Organization. It brings fresh energy, breath, and freedom. Embrace it today with these three simple questions and begin to invest your energy elsewhere.

Are these questions new to you, or have you been asking them already? Which is the hardest for you?

Joshua Becker inspires and encourages others to live with less on his blog, Becoming Minimalist. He has also authored two e-books, Simplify and Inside-Out Simplicity. But more importantly, he loves his wife and two small children.

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