What should have been week 36

Last week we had an epiphany about our de-cluttering and organizing mission.

We recently read Simplicity Parenting and learned about the problems with too many choices. (I kind of knew this already, but forgot. Oops.) We mentioned the concept to a friend, and he told us about a related idea: decision fatigue. Basically decision fatigue is what happens when you make too many decisions. Either you end up being reckless in your decision-making or you avoid making a decision at all. Then I thought about Laura’s recent thought of setting boundaries and limits. It all jumbled together in my mind, and led to this:

Our method of gathering all of whatever we wanted to purge (books, clothes etc) and then trying to decide what to part with was not working. We would go over and over the piles and end up doing nothing. Instead of trying to compare everything and pick out the things we are willing to part with, from now on we will set a limit ahead of time and then pick out our favorites. Fewer decisions and preset limits. Easy-peasy.

I tried the concept out last week (continuing with my wardrobe) by making a list of the types of shoes I want to keep:

  1. comfortable sandals
  2. dress sandals
  3. hiking shoes
  4. boots
  5. walking shoes
  6. ballet flats
  7. heels

Then I tried picking my favorite pair from each type of shoe on the list. I realized shoes were probably the worst place to start this method. For example, I have three pairs of boots. One is so cute, warm and comfortable that I wear them most of the fall and winter, but they aren’t waterproof. Then I have rain boots for the spring and the really heavy snow boots that are hideous and I only wear a few times per year, but every time I need them I’m so glad I haven’t purged them. So, I gave up. Now I’m thinking it’s okay to have a little more than 7 pairs of shoes, especially since we’re city dwellers and I walk a lot. I just need to re-evaluate my limit on shoes and try again.

We had much better luck this week applying the concept to our DVD collection. I’ll tell you all about it on Friday, for week 37 of the 52 Weeks of Organizing.