Organised (Enough) – Slow Home Essentials

Organised (Enough) - Slow Home Essentials

Often we mistake organisation for simplicity.

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

And it’s true that you can schedule your hours, organise your wardrobe, catalogue your paperwork, arrange your kitchen utensils, reconfigure your garage to hold more stuff and roster your down-time. But creating a slow home means many of those systems are simply unnecessary. If you strip away what you don’t need, you’ll find that life doesn’t require nearly as much organising as the storage solution stores and home decor magazines will have you believe.

Many of us cling to organisation because we believe it helps us get through the day without losing our sanity. And this is true to a point.

But it’s also a way to procrastinate while still feeling productive. Organising means you avoid recognising:

  • those uncomfortable heels were a waste of money
  • your kids have more toys than they can possibly play with
  • years worth of paperwork are largely unnecessary
  • your gym clothes have remained unworn for months
  • you’re no longer interested in knitting/fencing/snowboarding/oil painting

Organising means you avoid facing your fears and regrets.

Of course life is busy, and some organisation helps corral that busy-ness 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 really help you in creating a less stressful day, then that is wonderful.

But at some point “organising” and “simplifying” become different sides of the same coin.

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 to create a slow home and a simpler way of 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 and 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 junk in your space or cram more into your days. The key is to take away what isn’t necessary and good. There you will find your simpler life.


19 Responses to Organised (Enough) – Slow Home Essentials

  1. Thanks Brooke,
    What a great perspective. I’ve never thought of de-cluttering as “facing my fears” but yes, it really is confronting!

    Loved this.

  2. Timely for me! I have effectively ran my head into the wall trying to box up my things & my days. Today I didn’t write a single thing ‘to do’ & I could feel the fingers itching to compartmentalize the afternoon but I ignored it. My baby is down & out with teething & I can’t put her down long enough to pee! And if time doesn’t blink by in babyhood then I’m a liar… So yes to taking away rather than tidying up!

  3. I really need to do something with my old ice hockey gear. I’m pretty sure I won’t be using it again! Love this post Brooke.

  4. Anyone who’s read my blog knows I’m a big organiser but my projects always begin with simplifying first. I’ve recently kicked it up a notch though: I’m now focussing on eliminating commitments rather than improving my productivity and have made myself take a good hard look at everything that’s on my schedule and in my home. Yes I enjoy organising but I would much rather have less stuff to organise.

  5. My thought is that I’d rather declutter so much that organizing becomes almost unnecessary, or at least becomes really easy.

    Years of paperwork used to be a big one for me. We had a small filing cabinet stuffed with old receipts, instruction manuals, and various other paperwork. We got rid of it completely and now keep just the most important of papers and they take up very little space.

  6. Facing the fears and de-cluttering: have a look at my books…
    I fully agree with Eric West: decluttering can make organization unnecessary – wonderful. (I have got a german organization blog :-))

    Pretty good post! Sabine

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  8. As much as I love organizing and systems, I don’t carry through with them and just end up frustrated with more “stuff”. The bottom line is that I have way too many things, and I am now attacking them with a vengeance. I am tired of my things owning me, rather than me owning them. I will be happily following your blog. – Fawn

  9. I’m a new reader to your blog and I really like it! Your perspective embodies a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately. Regarding this post, I’ve never thought about organization in this way before. I love this perspective. Time to re-think my approach …

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