Organizing Tip of the Week

February 2014

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Intention - Action = Clutter

"One of these days, I'll take up knitting again, and when I do, I'll be glad to have all that yarn." 

"I know those clothes aren't my size (and, um, haven't been for a while), but I want to lose weight so I can fit in them again."

"Those tools in the garage are worth good money. I'm not using them, but I'm planning to sell them, so I'm holding on to them."

"That stack of magazines? I'm going to go through it and tear out the articles I want to keep."

Do any of these sound familiar? They're a few of many, many (many!) variations on the "But I might need it someday!" theme that's, in my experience, far and away the main cause of clutter. 

In each case, there's an intention, but what's missing is the action to back up that intention. And without that action, even the best intention won't do anything to prevent unneeded stuff from cluttering up your life.

It can be extra-difficult to let go of stuff that carries with it ideas, goals, and (vague) plans, because bidding those things adieu also means saying goodbye to what's behind them: the hope that you'll start knitting again, or the plan to earn a few extra bucks by selling stuff online, or the desire to learn more about a certain subject.

But the flip side is that when you do clear out intention-related clutter, you're also taking a weight off your mind. No longer will you feel guilty each time you look at those bags of yarn and realize you're not in a knitting mood. No longer will you stress about the fact that you should be trying to sell those tools. No longer will those too-small clothes taunt you for being the size you are.

Here's my challenge to you this month: identify something you've been keeping because you've intended to do something with it and either take action on it or get it out of your life for good. Want an extra dose of accountability? Share your thing and what you're going to do with it (act on it or let it go) on The Organized Life's Facebook page so your fellow Tip readers and I can cheer you on and give you a nudge.

The famous saying has it that good intentions pave the way to hell. That may be, but more immediately, they often pave the way to clutter. Here's to taking the first step in the opposite direction.

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