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Friday, May 25, 2012

What is the REASON Why You Want to Organize Your Life (or Achieve Any Goal, For That Matter?)

You must have a very powerful force driving you to get organized, if you've been living in chaos, not just a short-term goal, but something that says, "I need to get organized for good." A bit of tunnel vision is needed here, because it requires (just like working out, for example) that you focus on yourself & your stuff. The need to change may be as simple as having the experience of a parent passing away, having to go through all of their stuff (which they never de-cluttered & therefore left you with a huge mess to deal with), and saying to yourself, "I will NOT do this to my own kids." Or it may be something intangible- you can't quite put your finger on it, but you just know that by becoming a minimalist, developing an organized lifestyle & simplifying things, you're beginning a journey which you really want to start on. Either way, it can't be a passing fancy. Usually, unless one is brought up to be organized & have a minimalist philosophy, it takes a certain catastrophe or series of events to make you wake up & have this desire. Western society is very good at keeping minimalist tendencies from surfacing, and drowning them if they do attempt to surface. When you feel the urge to get organized, and it won't go away, when you're no longer happy with your old life, no matter what, you know it's time. It can also be a vague dissatisfaction with a job or marriage that starts the desire, a lingering thought that if you got organized, you'd be able to deal with the problems better that arise in your life. However, I'm here to advise you that organizing can make the problems you have become glaringly clear. The repercussions can be harsh, depending upon the severity of the previous lifestyle you were living in. If you used your clutter or chaos to hide behind, getting rid of it can be downright traumatic. If you're looking for organization or becoming a minimalist as a quest to help you forget about your problems, you've come to the wrong place. It's not a good escapist tool, not for long, anyway. No doubt, the lifestyle can create euphoric moments at times, especially the first time you accomplish a particular step along the way. But euphoria always dies down eventually, and this lifestyle is no different, in that respect. 

Some would say I'm very changeable. Others would say I have an almost obsessive passion for the few things that I do really have an opinion on, and go on in far too much detail when I'm expressing myself. Both parties would be right, at least to a degree. I am passionate- but I am also always willing to change courses in mid-stream, should the need arise. I believe it's a fairly unique characteristic. What some might view as a character flaw- vacillation- I've come to realize is simply a strong willingness on my point to let my opinions evolve on a subject as I gather new info. So you don't have to ever take my opinion as the gospel truth. But before I set anything in stone by writing here, I've already given it careful consideration. I look back at my own experience before I talk to you about any subject I broach. Minimalism is not necessarily for everyone. Be careful towards the tendency most of the zealous get- believing that everyone should live the way that they do. I really have to catch myself in my judgments towards others who haven't done the purging, or have learned the same skills, as I have. Some people need to learn how to organized in a different way & at a different time than we do. Occasionally, they just plain never learn. In many ways, if you're on the right path, your concern about organizing, simplifying & minimizing should be on your own stuff & life. Period. Don't preach to people who don't want the sermon, in other words. In attempting to force your spouse, kids, parents or siblings along for the ride, you may be preventing them from reaching their own Ground Zero, or the point they NEED to reach to get their own powerful reason for change. You have to be willing to accept that they may not change, too. Believe me, getting & keeping your own life organized is typically a full-time job. You can, of course, help those who want to be helped, which will take a little more of your time up.

Keeping in mind the perspective of why you wanted to change, not why you think others need to change, will keep you on the right path in the organizing journey. There is so much to learn about this lifestyle that your primary focus should be on the personal & professional aspects of your own world being right on, anyway. Don't judge others by your standards. I know it'll be hard. Once we get organized, people who live in the same old haphazard, disorganized way will seem even more aggravating- especially when their ways affect us. You may be tempted to give out ultimatums, like "it's my way or the highway!" This is a last-resort tactic, though, which rarely results in a happy, win-win situation. Give up the war, as the battles usually leave too many casualties & no clear winners. Focus on what you need to clear out, organize & simplfy. Clarify your own reasons for changing. Leave the rest up to the Universe.

-Liz

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