simplify2I recently decided it was time to bite the bullet and put down some new carpet in my home. I had three full size rooms, plus a large walk-in closet that I wanted to carpet. Keith, “the Carpet Man”, was quick to respond to my phone call to come by and give me an estimate. The estimate unexpectedly turned into a real project, and suddenly the ball was rolling! Keith called me just a few days after our meeting saying that he could be there on Monday if I was ready. I said that would be fine, hung up the phone, looked around – and faced the reality of the situation.

The large “family room” in the back of the house was the first room he was going to carpet. Please note: the family room has turned into a catch all room! You name it – it lives there… the computer desk, filing cabinet, exercise bike, cabinets full of crafts, my granddaughter’s toys, endless amounts of books, a futon … You get the picture! How was I going to successfully (and literally) tackle this mountain of stuff? Well, I just went to work – and before I knew it I was making progress.

I started boxing up and cleaning out all of the smaller items I could move by myself. This left just the big furniture for me and Lance to tackle together. By the time we had moved the furniture out of the room, and had temporarily relocated it throughout the first floor, the house looked like a disaster area! I didn’t panic though; instead, I reminded myself, “Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better!” The good news was, the family room was finally ready for carpet, and my adrenaline was pumping. My sense of accomplishment with the family room motivated me to keep going. I cleaned out the other two rooms AND the huge walk-in closet, again only using Lance to help me with moving the furniture.

As I moved each item – each box – each basket – my efforts became more than just simply relocating my stuff, and became an opportunity to confront the truth of how much I had come to collect over the years. I began to ask myself: Do I really need this? Do I LOVE this? I have a book that I’ve found helpful as I work on simplifying and organizing my life, “Organizing Plain & Simple” by Donna Smallin. I’d like to share two tips from the book:

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  1. Simplify your life with the 80/20 rule. Most people use only about 20 percent of what they own. The other 80 percent is just taking up valuable space, getting in the way, and causing more work than is necessary
  2. Buy less. Think twice before buying something new. Before you buy it, ask yourself a few questions: Do I really need this, and do I have a spot for it? If I had to move, would I want to go through the effort and expense of packing it up, carrying it out to the moving van, and unpacking it at the new place? If not, don’t buy it. And if you apply this test to something you already have and find you no longer need it, give it a new home.

I have yet to finish putting the rooms completely back together, but I can tell you now that I have already parted with some things (like that huge, heavy craft cabinet) and that makes me very happy. As I simplify and organize, I am making a conscious decision to surround myself only with the things I love, and making time to do the things that really matter in life. Who would have thought that by making the conscious decision to simplify, I’d actually end up with more?