floor planning         For those of us who need to donate items to the needy because we have too much stuff and not enough space, it’s not uncommon to feel like we are making a sacrifice, especially if we “paid good money” for those items. Perhaps that sacrifice feels virtuous, like eating your vegetables, but if it’s making you uncomfortable, it’s time to focus on your GAIN PLAN.

I could speak at length about how good it feels to put an item you no longer value in the hands of someone who really needs it, but I’ll save that for another newsletter. This month’s topic is all about the purely selfish luxury of less and how YOU gain from it.

Less stuff means less to clean, less to maintain, less to forget about, less to worry about, and less to lose. Less stuff means fewer obstacles to what matters most. Less stuff looks and feels calmer. Less stuff gives you peace, clarity, and freedom.

OK, these are all good things, but that cluttered room is not going to get cleared by virtue of LESS alone. You need a clear goal.

In my experience, the most cluttered rooms tend to be multi-purpose rooms.  “Well, we used to let guests sleep here AND we wanted a room for the kids to hang out with their friends AND I used to do my crafts here AND that rack has my ‘fat clothes’ on it AND those boxes are our second set of china—” Uh oh!  Multi-purpose has become NO-purpose.

To put that in perspective, if you have a no-purpose room in a 10 room house and a monthly mortgage payment of $3,000, you’re paying $3,600 a year to shelter stuff that no longer serves you. In fact, now YOU are serving IT!

If you want to get that room clear, then you need to get clear on what purpose for it you would value the most. In other words, what would you be GAINING by giving up the clutter that is getting in your way?

Let’s say the makeshift home office in the kitchen isn’t cutting it anymore. If you get rid of that dusty treadmill you use for hanging laundry on in the no-purpose room, you can fit a small desk in there.

Or let’s say you no longer have the time or money for gym membership and you would LIKE room for a second-hand tread mill in your no-purpose room. Being clear on what you could be gaining will make it easier to get rid of that old dresser with the sticky drawers.

It can be harder to see the gain with smaller items, but bear in mind they add up to an army of space thieves. Of course, not all the clutter is appropriate to give away, but by focusing on what you are gaining from this clear room, it is easier to decide on which room or person to bring a “keep” item to.

I’m not saying you can’t have two or three purposes for the same room, but for you to make that gain, you need to be prepared to give up even MORE stuff. Otherwise you will struggle to enjoy the space.

If you stay focused on what you are gaining, it is easier to let go of items that may still be “perfectly good” but are no longer serving you.

TODAY’S KEY TO UNLOCKING CLUTTER: Focus on your gain plan and give yourself the gift of LESS stuff and MORE opportunity.