Freedom From Want

Susan Stone, Susan Stone Organizing

I took a moment out of my Independence Day celebrations to reflect on one of our great four freedoms – freedom from want.

I suspect our Founding Fathers had in mind a country where no one went hungry, went without shelter, went without good health, meaningful work, and a sense of belonging. These are essential to living a full and free life. But it got me thinking – might the Founding Mothers have had some additional thoughts – like freedom from want of more time, less stress, more space, less clutter? read more

Less is more

Because I am an organizer many people think I hate stuff, that I despise things and belongings.  When working with a client one-on-one I am able to dismiss this assumption pretty fast.  I don’t hate stuff and I do not disregard other people’s precious items.  What I try to help people see is that relationships and quality of life are so much more important than anything we own.  Organizing is often not about the physical stuff so much as it is about our perception of those things.

If disorganization, clutter or a lack of systems negatively affects you and those around you, you are being held captive by what you own and allowing it to control you.  This will cause stress in your life and ultimately your relationships.  Sometimes people have simply acquired more than their space can comfortably contain, but the belongings are relatively current.  Other times clients are drowning in an avalanche of memorabilia or things associated with memories.  This habit will hold you in the past, keep your present from being enjoyable and even your future from moving forward. read more

The One Month Cardboard Box Test from Peter Walsh’s book It’s All Too Much

In his book, It’s All Too Much, Peter Walsh offers a simple test to determine what kitchen utensils you are using and what can go:

Not sure what you use and what you don’t?  Here is a tried and true way to find out.  Empty the contents of your kitchen utensil drawers into a cardboard box.  For one month, only put a utensil back into the drawer if you take it out of the box to use it.  At the end of the month seriously consider discarding everything that’s still in the cardboard box.  Face it: If it’s still in the box after four weeks, you don’t need it! read more

Book Preview: The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

At the end of our last organizing session together, a dear client gave me a parting gift.  It was the book The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communtities, and Our Health – And a Vision for Change by Annie Leonard.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m really excited to find a book that addresses the environmental issues that lurk behind the organization/consumption issues that so many of my clients struggle with.  I’m especially looking forward to the “vision for change” that the author incorporates into the book. read more

Book Preview: The Story of Stuff by Annie Leondard

At the end of our last organizing session together, a dear client gave me a parting gift.  It was the book The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communtities, and Our Health – And a Vision for Change by Annie Leonard.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m really excited to find a book that addresses the environmental issues that lurk behind the organization/consumption issues that so many of my clients struggle with.  I’m especially looking forward to the “vision for change” that the author incorporates into the book. read more

Measuring Success

We all have a way of defining for ourselves what success means.  For some, it’s winning a competition, acing a test, getting a promotion, buying a house, performing for an audience.  For others, it may be going all day without a cigarette, being able to actually take a nap while baby sleeps, cleaning the house from top to bottom.

For many, success is measured in the acquisition of stuff.

If this resonates somewhere within you, ask yourself this:  how do you measure success?

Is it the amount of stuff you have? read more