“. . . most clutter enters our lives through the ‘more is better’ door. It comes from the disease of materialism, of looking for inner fulfillment in outer possessions.” ~ Joe Dominquez
In the book Your Money Or Your Life, Joe Dominguez introduces the concept of the “gazingus pin”. A gazingus pin is that thing you can’t pass by in a store without buying. It can be anything, “from pocket calculators and tiny screwdrivers to shoes, pens and chocolate kisses”. [Robin & Dominguez, p. 25]
When you see your gazingus pin, your eyes glaze over, your mind goes on auto pilot, and you forget that you already have 10 or 100 or 1000 gazingus pins at home that you never use. All your attention is focused on this fresh, clean, lovely, new and improved gazingus pin. And “before you know it, an alien arm (attached to your body) has reached out and picked up the gazingus pin, and off you go to the checkout, still functioning like a windup zombie.” [Robin & Dominguez, 25 – 26] When you finally come to your senses, you find yourself adding a new gazingus pin to your drawer that is already full of other gazingus pins.
Release, Reduce, Simplify
Do you ever feel that your life is so crowded you don’t have any time or energy to focus on the things that you really want to do? Maybe you are interested in paring down to the basics to get to your true purpose. Or maybe you just want to simplify your routine, your calendar, or your schedule to make life a little easier.
Clutter can be a real energy drainer. It consists of things you must clean and maintain or those things that nag you to do something about them. Either way, you are expending energy that you could put to better use.
Dominate Your Life
“As within, so without.” This principle says that our external world is a reflection of our internal world. If your external world is peaceful and ordered, then your inner life is peaceful and ordered. If your inner life is chaotic, your external world is likely to be a mess.
The interesting thing is this – when you change one, the other changes. If you “clean up your act”, you will see your environment becoming more orderly and organized. If you get busy straightening out your environment, your thoughts and emotions become less chaotic and disorganized.
Why is this important?
Listen to what Stewart Wilde says in his book, Infinite Self: “Another discipline I have found particularly important is to establish order in your life. Messy surroundings and an untidy life reflect a weakened metaphysical and psychological state. If you are powerful, you will dominate your life, you will find time to clean up and order things, and you will want to do that as a part of your personal discipline. Mess is the external manifestation of the ego’s disquiet and laziness. Through mess, the ego exercises control over you. . .
“Make your life as immaculate as possible, and keep things zen and neat. Order helps you feel confident. Life becomes a prayer rather than the chaotic manifesto of an immature mind. The effort it takes to establish order is recouped in several ways. As an affirmation of control, it helps you feel more secure. It allows for a better flow of ideas and, most importantly, you don’t waste energy hunting for things, stepping over a dead horse in the hallway every time the doorbell goes.” [Wilde]
A PLACE For Everything
When my daughter, Rachel, was in elementary school, she loved to collect things, usually things with many, many small pieces. I often thought she had too many things and not enough space to keep them all. Stuff frequently spilled out of her room into other areas of the house.
One morning, when I was feeling particularly exasperated by the mess, I left this note for her on the table: “Let all your things have their places. ~ Ben Franklin”. That evening, when I sat down at the table, I found her reply. She had cut out the words of my note and rearranged them: “Let all your places have things. Rachel Huskey”
Never the less, I still follow the maxim, a place for everything and everything in its place. I developed the PLACE acronym to make it easier to remember the steps for organizing.
P = Purge. When you start a decluttering project, first get rid of everything that is obviously trash. Recycle old magazines, catalogs and newspapers. Toss anything you haven’t used in a year or more (except for legal documents and tax records).
L = Like with like. Know where each object lives and keep it in it’s house when you aren’t using it. Keep like things together. Before you bring something new home, decide where it will live. If it has brothers and sisters, it can reside with them.
A = Access. Keep items you use frequently close at hand. You can store items you use only occasionally further away or in those difficult to reach areas. If you use tools or supplies (pens, scissors, notepads, recycle bins, cleaning supplies, etc.) in multiple locations, keep one of each tool or item at each location.
C = Contain. Find ways to store items that make them easy to see and identify. This could include using a clear storage bin to corral items, hanging file folders that are clearly labeled, and drawer dividers that keep small items in place. A word of caution: When a collection outgrows its container, weed the collection – don’t get another container.
E = Evaluate. Before you begin organizing a room, take time to plan the space. Evaluate the different activities you do in the room or space you are organizing and set up “centers” for the activities. Keep the supplies and equipment you’ll need for the activity stored in the appropriate Center. The purpose for organizing is to give space to the objects you use most and to clear out the clutter. Without a plan, you’ll end up merely re-arranging the clutter (at best).
A simple, elegant life is your aim. Clutter of any sort – physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual baggage – hampers you and uses up energy unnecessarily. If you don’t allow clutter to accumulate, you don’t have to deal with it. If you need to clean up your act in one or more areas, don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged. You can do this!
The Organizing Excelerator is a tool that can help you become “well enough” organized. The Organizing Excelerator consists of ten areas where organization is beneficial: Home, Office, Personal, Financial, Paper, Time, Clutter, Storage Areas, Computer, and General. Each area has ten principles, strategies, and actions to help you become better organized in that area. The goal is to become “well enough organized” so that you can find what you need when you need it and bring more order into your life.
This is an action that you can (and should) break down into many small steps to be done over a period of time. Take one small step toward organization and clutter-freedom. Then take another. And another.
Open The Flow
In the concept of abundance, we are – or should be – like conduits or pipes. Things flow into our lives and things should flow out of our lives. If your pipe is clogged, guess what? Eventually it’ll be full and there is no room for anything else. Not even another gazingus pin.
In order to keep the flow going, you must keep things clear. Many people find that new ideas, new wealth, or new relationships come into their lives after they’ve completed some major clutter clearing, either physically or mentally.
“Rare goods are merely weights that slow you down.” So says Lao Tzu in the Tao. If rare things slow you down in your journey through this life, how much more so do the common things, like gazingus pins? What are some things you have that you no longer use? Could it be that they are exactly what someone else needs at just this time? Let them go to be used where they are needed and open up your conduit to receive the things you need right now. That is embracing the Excelerated Life™!
Excelerated organization — being clutter-free and well-enough organized — able to find what you need when you need it — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
Robin, Vicki and Joe Dominguez. Your Money Or Your Life. New York: Penquin Books, 1992, 2008
Wilde, Stewart. Infinite Self: 33 Steps to Reclaiming Your Inner Power. New York: Hay House, 1996