less is more . . . and breathing is good


Liz Jenkins


I work with a lot of clients who have trouble remembering things, or misplace their stuff. I always tell them that it is pretty normal to do this – even us <professionals have had this happen. But the longer I do this, and the more I streamline my life, the more I realize that the main problem for many of us isn’t finding the ‘right’ planner or the ‘right’ bins or the ‘right’ closet system but instead it’s the overload people place in their lives in the form of commitments and stuff.

It’s just like when I purged my daughter’s room and got rid of over half of her toys and furniture. She ended up playing with her things way more than she ever did, and played in HER room instead of strewing things around the house. It’s the same with me. We’ve moved into our smaller house (less than 1100 square feet); I’ve pared down my closet, my cupboards, my files, my staging supplies; I’ve reduced commitments and really give thought to what I wanted to do instead of what I thought I should do. I mean, is life as we know it going to end if we don’t go to the school spirit night at CiCi’s pizza? or if I choose not to volunteer for a committee or scrub the tub whether it needs it or not? While it is good to do some charity work or help out at the schools, I’ve realized that I don’t have to be the one who has to do everything.

And I feel that I can breathe.

I don’t feel like shopping much, because, honestly, I have no place to put anything. Everything that is around me is something that I either love, or use. And it’s awfully nice when those two things combine. I know I’ve written about this before but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Our economy having this downturn is not a good thing for many people but our family, at least, has used it as a way to re-evaluate our lives and what we want out of things. We’d started this downsizing of our life well before the economy and real estate market tanked – and now I’m glad that we did. Check out my closet – I just don’t feel like adding anything to it

So it’s not that hard for me to put my hands on the things I need because there’s not that much space in which to look, nor is there much for me to look for. It’s not that hard to keep track of my commitments because there aren’t that many extraneous ones – and the ones I have are all on my calendar.

Sometimes I find this awkward when working with a client because who wants to hear that they’ve got too much stuff to do or things around them? Some people are open to it but many are resistant because change is hard. That’s not to say my way is the only way, by any means. But I’ve always wondered about people who say, I wish I could . . . . And then never do anything about it.