Monday, October 6, 2014

day 6: limit what you bring in...

Welcome to my 31 day series to more order.  To view all the posts in the entire series go here.

Today I'd like to talk with you about being mindful of and intentional about what we bring into our homes.  This is just as important as purging what we already own and clearing the clutter to create more peaceful spaces.  In fact, in many ways, once you have a more ordered space keeping the clutter out should become a priority.  Remember, we are in charge of what we let into our homes so we have the right to be protective of our space and selective about what we surround ourselves with.

Before kids, I worked as a project manager for a software development firm.  It was a job that suited my talents and my love of creating lists.  As project manager, I was tasked with getting all the parties involved in the project to agree to what the project was going to entail (the scope) and the time involved in completing all the tasks.  I would then create the project plan for everyone to agree to and finalize or sign.  No matter how thorough we were on the front end, every project had a little gremlin who wanted to be invited to the party after it started, scope creep.  Essentially scope creep refers to anything added to the project after the project plan is agreed upon and finalized.  This could be something small but essential to the success of the project that was missed or something big and useless guaranteed to derail the timeline and cost extra money.  Scope creep is a project managers nightmare.  But how we approached it can teach us a few valuable lessons when we are looking to limit what we bring into our homes.

1. Is this essential?  Do I have a purpose for this item?  Will it fill a need in my home or life?  I would have to determine if the requested change was essential to success of the project I was in charge of implementing.  Or if it was something that could wait to be implemented at another time, or in all reality if it was a waste of time and shouldn't be done at all. 

One day last year, my son got into the van after school and said, 'Mom, my peanut butter & jelly sandwich shaped like a heart is a need and that new amazing spiderman toy is a want.'  Just like that without preamble or introduction, he told me they were learning about needs versus wants in school.  He also broke down our daily struggle with the need for more stuff.  As we are out shopping, we need to ask ourselves if we need the item we are thinking about buying.  Is this something we can't live without?   As we think about our ordered spaces, will this add peace or clutter?  If you find something on the clearance rack and think I have no idea where to put this or how to use it in my house, but at that price I can't pass it up.  Please put it back and don't buy it.  It'll just end up in your purge pile the next time you purge.

2. If I buy this ___________, what can I then give away?  Often times, when managing a project I would have to try to meet everyone's needs.  One way to do so, is to ask them what they are willing to give up if we added x,y,z to the project plan.  When faced with giving something up to gain something else, it caused the person to really evaluated how invested they were in what they were asking for. 

My mom has a friend who has a self imposed rule that for every piece of new clothing she buys, she has to give away one.  She never puts anything new in her closet without getting rid of something.  I'm totally impressed with this and would love to embrace it, but I'm not there regarding buying clothes.  However, I do have this rule for buying stuff for my house.  If I am thinking about buying something new, say a new decorative item or kitchen item, I think about what it will replace that I currently own.  I also make sure that I then take that next step and actually give the item away.

3. Will I still love this tomorrow?  That sounds like the title of a love song.  However, it is the basic question behind the waiting 24-48 hours rule.  I would often recommend that we all take a break from the project and the new items and talk again the next day.  That would give me time to evaluate how much the requested item would change our project and timeline.  It would also give the asker a chance to sleep on his or her request. 

If you still feel the same way about that decoration, picture, purse, kitchen tool, sweater, boots, or whatever after 1-2 days, then buy it.  Just make sure that you've answered questions 1 and 2 first.

Keeping the clutter out of our homes is an essential step in keeping them ordered or balanced.  If you are constantly having to purge or clear out clutter, this may the step you are missing.  Remembering to evaluate everything you bring into your house can help you avoid the need for big purges once you have your space the way you want it.

Do you have a rule or way of keeping the clutter out of your space?   What questions do you ask before purchasing something new?  How has limiting what you bring into your home helped you?


1 comment:

LLMom said...

I am trying to bring in less or if I do, get rid of something else.