Tip of the Month: Stop the Clutter From Entering Your Home (or Office)
The simplest way to eliminate clutter problems is by being selective about what enters your space to begin with. I'm not talking about being a minimalist; anyone who's seen my home would know that! But it's good to take some time to ponder a purchasing decision, and make sure it's one that isn't going to create unnecessary clutter.
I recently bought a new water bottle; here are some questions I pondered before I did that.
Question: Does this meet the minimum standard of being either useful or beautful?
Answer: Yes - it's definitely useful. (As a bonus, it's quite attractive as water bottles go.)
Question: Do I really want this? Will it seems like a good idea in a week or a month, not just today?
Answer: Yes! I tried out this brand at a friend's home a couple months ago and thought it was great. I've been thinking about buying one ever since then - I still have water bottle envy.
Question: Will this replace something I own, and will I get rid of that something else?
Answer: Yes, it replaces one I was given by a business associate - but I found I just don't like that style of bottle, so I don't use it much. I can offer the old one up on Freecycle or take it to my local thrift shop.
Question: Does buying this support my goals and values?
Answer: Definitely! I have a goal to improve my health, and I'm doing well - but I still don't drink as much water as I should. And if I drink more water and buy less Diet Vernors, I'll save money and be making a better choice environmentally. I also have a personal policy that tools I use every day should be tools I really love using (within reason, considering budget constraints) - and this fits.
Question: Do I know where this will be stored - where its "home" will be?
Answer: Yes; it will be on my desk when I'm working, and on my nightstand when I'm in bed. If I'm out of the house, it will be on the kitchen counter - because it will just need to get refilled and will then follow me around the house when I return. (I already have a different brand that I like for use in the car.)
So I have a new water bottle, and I'm enjoying it immensely. What I don't have is:
- That nice piece of cat furniture I stumbled upon - and have no room for.
- An organizing-related book that sounded good - but the library had it, so I borrowed it. And guess what - it wasn't as good as it sounded.
- Any of the darling stuffed animals I've seen lately (here and here and here) - because I have no place for them and there's no compelling reason to buy them. If I bought everything that appealed to my sense of cute I'd be swimming in stuff and would be considerably poorer!
Gift of the Month (That Won't Become Clutter)
One of my old gift suggestions is a charitable donation made in someone's name - assuming we're talking about someone who would appreciate such a gesture. And many people like giving gift cards, so people can get a gift they really want.
Well, now you can combine those two ideas and give the Charity Navigator Gift Card - where the recipient gets to pick what charity will get the funds. As with all gift cards, be sure you understand the terms; for example, this one expires in 12 months.
Organizing Quote of the Month
Getting organized is unquestionably good for both mind and body — reducing risks for falls, helping eliminate germs and making it easier to find things like medicine and exercise gear. “If you can’t find your sneakers, you aren’t taking a walk,” said Dr. Pamela Peeke, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Univesity of Maryland and the author of “Fit to Live” (Rodale, 2007).
- New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope
Product of the Month: Wheelbarrow Caddy