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Okay, first things first.
Several months ago, I wrote a post about my big plans for a garage makeover, saying I wanted to finish it by the end of summer.
As is so often the case when it comes to construction projects, it took longer than I thought it would. But we did wrap it up before the end of summer. I think it turned out really well! Take a peek!
For reference, this is the “before.”
Don’t judge. I know it’s was a mess!
And now for the pretty part.
That is a well-oiled organization machine right there.
Notice the mounted bike racks, the colorful (and cleanable!) acrylic flooring, and the storage bin system.
And when have lawn tools looked so inviting? Seriously, it may have never happened before. The wall-mounted tool racks help me find what I’m looking for and avoid wrestling through a tangle of them on the floor.
Big improvement, don’t you think? It just looks so fresh and tidy. And I kind of love the flecks of color on the floor. It has a lot more personality now. But, beyond looks, this newly remodeled and organized garage is a space that works.
That got me to thinking.
Why Physical Space isn’t Just Physical Space
If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you already know I am a huge fan of the Living Well Planner. I‘ve used a lot of planners over the years but this one is the best by a long shot.
But I’ve wondered about one of the questions that appear in the monthly planning section. It asks, “What are you going to do to improve your physical space this month?”
There among all those prompts and questions about things I want to accomplish in terms of my profession, or finances, or fitness, or relationships is a question about my house?
I’ve been reading that question every month for more than a year and every month, I leave it blank. It just didn’t seem important to me.
I think I was wrong.
Your Nest is a Reflection of You
Some of you may remember a post I wrote quite some time back about the KonMari method of tidying up. Organizing one drawer inspired me to organize my whole closet and, over time, my whole house.
Well, organization isn’t just one thing or one project. You need to invest a little time to maintain it. But over the last few months, I’ve failed to do so.
There have been really good reasons for that. I’ve had writing deadlines, spent hours and hours in triathlon training, written three blogs a week, traveled with my husband for his medical treatments, and a son’s wedding to plan. It’s not like I’ve been sitting around doing nothing.
But no matter how valid the excuses, the fact remains. My closet, my office, my desk, and my house is a big, disorganized mess.
(Well, except for the garage. That is pristine.)
But the remainder of my physical space is a wreck. And it’s making me a wreck. I can’t find what I need when I need it. I can’t seem to set my priorities. I just keep moving the piles from one flat surface to the next. It is not a good feeling.
I’m on a trip right now and am writing this post on an eastbound airplane. I’ll be gone for almost two weeks. When I return, I’ll be no less busy than I was when I left. In fact, I’ll probably be even busier. Lots of pressing matters will have piled up in my absence.
Even so, I’ve made my mind. When I get back, I’m going to spend some significant time on reorganization.
I simply can’t afford not to.
ORGANIZATION PAYS OFF
We’re all busy. So busy. Too busy.
I get it. It just seems like there are never enough hours in the day, does it? Time is the most precious, most finite commodity we have. Think about it. You can always make more money (at least in theory). But no amount of money in the world will buy you one more minute on this earth.
So why spend those precious minutes cleaning the closet or clearing off the desk? Because the time you invest doing so will pay big dividends.
Spending Time to Make Time.
You’ve heard the saying – you’ve got to spend money to make money. The same is true when it comes to time. The hours you spend organizing your physical space now will pay for itself exponentially later.
Know where everything is in my home and being able to lay hands on it quickly saves me lots of time on a daily basis. Consider a few of the ways that investing in organization can save time and reduce anxiety.
Tax deadline is looming? No worries, I’ve got the receipts here in this file.
Running late for a meeting or lunch date? At least I won’t be even later because I can’t find my favorite sweater.
An Organized Home is Happier Home.
A lot of governments keep track of the GDP – Gross Domestic Product. But did you know that the government of Bhutan measures the GDH – Gross Domestic Happiness?
I love that. It makes so much sense, in so many ways.
Like many people, I spent a lot of my younger years accumulating stuff. Don’t get me wrong, some of it was really good stuff. Our piano, artwork, much of our furniture, nearly all of our books, and even some of my clothes bring pleasure to my life in various ways.
But a lot of the stuff we accumulate is just…stuff.
It takes up space and sucks up physical and mental energy that might be better spent elsewhere. In some sense, everything we own actually owns us. We have to clean it, fix it, insure it, store it…
You see where I’m going here, right? Do you really want to spend any more of your precious, finite time on stuff?
Sorting through, paring down, and cleaning out will save you time and hassle in the long run. More importantly, it will help ensure that the stuff you have is stuff you love, stuff that brings you joy.
That, my friend, is an excellent investment in GDH.
So pencil in some time this weekend to evaluate what’s taking up space in your home. Target the scary, messy corners, the “miscellaneous drawers,” the box at the top of your closet just labeled “stuff.” Get rid of the things you don’t need. Optimize all of your working spaces so that you can find whatever you need at a moment’s notice. That way, you spend time doing the things you love and not scrambling around trying to find something that you hid from yourself.
Your future self will thank you.
Happy organizing and good luck!