All posts filed under: Blog

Sort—but not too much!

A while ago, I heard a woman on a podcast describe her plan for organizing her five-year-old’s Lego blocks: sorting them into bins by color. She was going to buy a bunch of new bins to make her system work. She found the process of sorting meditative, she said, and thought it would be easier for her son to find what he needed if the blocks were organized by color. I don’t know how it worked for her, but I wouldn’t recommend this kind of plan to my clients or friends. Why not? For one thing, that mother’s system emphasized making it easy to retrieve items. In general, I think it’s more important to make putting stuff away easier. I wonder what happened after multiple sessions of dividing all those little pieces by color. Did the process start to feel less meditative, and more tiresome? How long did her child continue that detailed sorting? For most people—and especially for most kids—sorting to that degree is just too much trouble. The solution? Don’t oversort. Make it …

Six things you can do now to make holiday gift giving easier

There are people who love the holidays, and people who don’t. I’m in the second group. I find the holiday season overwhelming, and I dislike the pressure of finding gifts for so many people. If it were up to me, we’d have a very simple Christmas with minimal gift giving. But others in my extended family don’t share my views. So I must accept that our Christmas celebrations are more elaborate, expensive, and time consuming than I’d choose. Fortunately, I’ve found ways to approach the season that make it less stressful. Here are a few strategies that have helped me. I hope they help you too, whatever holiday you celebrate. 1. Be grateful. This is the most important one! When I feel grumpy about the season’s demands, I try to remember how lucky I am to have so many loving and generous relatives. 2. Start early. Even if you don’t make decisions or shop till later, those processes will be much easier and smoother if you do some prep work now. See items 3 and …

Less is liberating

The idea of paring down makes many people very, very nervous. I’m not talking only about the process of culling your things. I’m talking about what happens next: actually living in your streamlined home, with fewer possessions than you’re used to. Even people who are feeling overwhelmed by their things, who yearn for simpler spaces, worry about this, imagining cold, stark environments. They worry that they’ll miss their stuff. But paring down doesn’t have to mean privation. It makes your life easier! This is true for a lot of reasons. But here is one example that I often use: If you limit the amount of clothing you own, laundry becomes much easier. When you have fewer clothes, your laundry, clean or dirty, will stop piling up. That’s because it can’t pile up—if you don’t deal with it, you’ll have nothing to wear! Fortunately, dealing with it won’t be too daunting, since you’ll have manageable loads that don’t take a lot of time or effort to handle. Wouldn’t it be a relief to “limit” yourself this …