O is for Organised Enough: A-Z of Simple Living

simple living
{via Charlotte’s Fancy}

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?


So often simplifying is mentioned in the same breath as organising.


The logic goes: in order to be living a truly simple life, you must have a host of systems in place that will organise every aspect of your day.

You can schedule your hours, systematise your housework, organise your wardrobe, catalogue your paperwork, arrange your kitchen utensils, reconfigure your garage to hold more stuff and roster your down-time.

But true simplicity means many of those systems are unnecessary.

  • I do have a calendar but much of my weekly schedule is in my head, because it’s really not that complicated.
  • I don’t need a special shoe rack to organise my shoes – I don’t own that many.
  • Filing cabinet? It has one drawer.
  • Toys? They all have a place in the play room.

Living a simple life means that being organised for the sake of being organised is largely unnecessary. If you strip away what you do not need, you will find that life doesn’t need nearly much organising at all.

But Being Organised Helps Me!

To a point, yes.

Life is busy. And some organisation helps corral the busy-ness of life into a semblance of order. So I’m not telling you to do away with your diary, bill paying system or ironing baskets. If they help you in creating a less stressful day, wonderful.

But at some point we start to organise instead of simplify.

Life Is Not Organised.

You need to leave space for life to happen.

And life is messy. Life is uncertain. Life is spontaneous. Life is not organised.

You are reading this because you want a simpler, slower life. And while being organised – to a point – means you have time and space for life to unfold peacefully, over doing it means you run the very real risk of sucking the joy from your days.

And that’s our end goal isn’t it? To rediscover the joy. The zing of doing something spontaneous. The flash of excitement when you realise, “Why the hell not? I’d love to go to the beach/play in the sun/have a nap.”

If you over-do the organising, if you schedule the guts out of your days, weeks, months, school terms, you risk losing one of the biggest joys in life – spontaneity.

So my tip:

Be as organised as you need to be. No more.

Organise what you really need. But don’t turn to organisation simply to store more stuff in your space or cram more committments in your days. The key is to take away what isn’t necessary and good. There you will find your simpler life.

8 Responses to O is for Organised Enough: A-Z of Simple Living

  1. I tend to be disorganized by nature. I’m a spontaneous person, but it costs me in the long run. I agree – organizing can free us to a point. I’ve recently started using Evernote to organize all of my notes, memos, journal entries, and even web clips. No more hunting through scraps of paper or notebooks lying around my desk. Much better.

    Dan @ ZenPresence.com

  2. Love the post! I had this experience this weekend. I decided to clear out a garage storage space, and my plan was to buy a set of shelves to organize our stuff. Well, once I got rid of the stuff we don’t use, and put the shed stuff in the shed, I realized that we didn’t need shelves at all!

  3. Just found your blog and have really enjoyed reading through. I love your perspective and today’s post is just perfect! Organizing for simplicity is the piece I used to miss b/c I used to organize to be organized. Now I am more toward organized for the end result of simplicity and joy. :)

  4. We’ve been wrestling with some similar questions. We’ve begun planning weekly meals and keeping a grocery shopping list–because a lack of organization there was creating chaos in the form of bad diet and too many trips to the store–but now we’re needing some systems keep track of those plans. Glad for the reminder to keep it simple.

  5. Thats funny I only just opened your email today! I put a post up on my blog about organising, I actually got a bit anxious in the first week of January as I was swamped with ideas for organising! I literally had a day of overwhelmed feelings of what to do with all the information I had and in the end all I really want to do is remember to get things done!
    So once again thank you for making it so much simpler!

  6. Brooke you are right on point with this post. While I am personally organized, my fiancé is not. I was continually working to get us “organized”. Finally I said enough! I did not want to spend my time organizing “stuff” so I started to toss out the excess. His closets are full, if he brings in a new pair of pants, an old pair goes. Same goes for me…I want time to do the exciting and fulfilling things in my life.

  7. This is fantastic advise! I am not always the most organized person (ha!), but I found that once I started cutting out disposable plastic from my life, my home began to declutter itself. Suddenly we didn’t need that assortment of boxes and bins under the sink, because there was just less stuff. Simplicity helps so much!