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Day 3 - Setting Limits

"I found this new technique to folding clothes and have redone my drawers as well as a few of yours!" This was one of the strangest sentences ever uttered from my husbands mouth. "What do you mean you reorganized my drawers, I know where everything is!" Which was a total lie. I knew where nothing was but am change adverse and have to be forced out of my comfort zone for anything great to happen. "You also need to get rid of more socks and underwear, and you have too many shoes." This conversation went on and on until I walked out of the room mad that my messy personal space had been invaded. Looking back I should have been overjoyed and thankful for the change. Because Brandon is an efficient person, he lives by the motto "anything worth doing is worth doing right" and he's always on the look out for more efficient ways to do things around the house. So naturally, when he watched a youtube video claiming to save space and actually see what you have in your drawers, he jumped right to it!

Why am I telling you this story (other than it's a fabulous way to fold and organize your clothing... I'll tell you about this next time)? Because for a change to happen you have to do the uncomfortable. You have to make a change, and you have to force yourself to look at things like you've never before. Otherwise, you'll always live with this frustration and anxiety about the messy situation. You have to think outside the box, or, in this case, you're going to think "inside the box".

Live within your limits. Start by thinking about your home. Your home (or living space), can only hold so many pieces of furniture before you could no longer walk through it comfortably. Its furniture can only hold so many items before it becomes impossible to put things away, since there's literally no place to put things anymore. If you think of your home as a series of containers: your home, the rooms within you home, the closets and cabinets in the rooms, the furniture in the rooms, the drawers in the furniture, the compartments within the drawers, the shelves within the closets, etc., you can begin to apply limits to each of these containers to govern how and when items come in and out of your home.

If you live in a tiny cape cod house like I do, with rooms sized for the needs of the typical 1940s family, then you probably don't want to cram an oversized couch and loveseat into your tiny family room. It violates the constraints of the container that you have and makes the room feel small and stifling. Similarly, If your bedroom only has room for two dressers, but you need three to fit all of your clothing, then you should consider discarding/donating enough items so you can comfortably fit everything into the two you have. Adding a third dresser would let you finally put all you clothes away, but it would encumber the overall space.

This concept breaks down to a smaller scale throughout all the containers in your living space. You should be able to open a drawer and easily identify everything in it without having to move things around or dig to find it. If you have a jar that holds all your pens, you should never own more pens than can fit in that container. If new pens are given or bought and they cause the container to overflow, then old pens need to be donated or thrown out. If you got new socks for Christmas and they cause your sock drawer to overflow, then the same number of old socks need to be removed as new socks coming in. This maintains comfortable limits.

Live by the rule that if you can't see, reach or use everything in a space (drawer, bin or cabinet for example) then it's cluttered and unusable. You'll need to choose either to eliminate or reorganize. I wish I could say I have this mastered, but I don't. I'm still a work in progress like most people!

So what limits do you need to set for yourself? Does the rule need to be "new shoes in old shoes out?" I know I kick into this mode of opperation when new toys come into my house. We are at our comfortable limit with toys, so if more come in then more need to be donated or go out. So maybe it's toys, maybe craft supplies, books, glassware, hobbies, the list could go on! Tell us in the comments what you think about living within these limits and what limits you would say you have to work on the most! Join our community and journey through our Facebook group to log your process!

Remember less mess equals less stress!

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