Clutter is what happens when you over fill your space.
Have you ever spilled milk? I mean just lost track or been distracted so that as you are pouring, the glass fills up and you don’t catch it right away. The glass overflows all over the counter and onto the floor. The moment you realize what has happened, you jerk the carton to stop and cause one last splash.
It is the same thing that happens to all of my clients that make the claim that they used to be organized but things got away from them and are currently out of control. They think they just need to spend a bunch of time stuffing everything back into drawers and bins. At a certain point the cabinets and baskets fill up, overflow with abundance, spill onto the counter and onto the floor, just like the milk.
Now you know there is use crying over spilled milk, so what are the legitimate options fro dealing with the situation? We are talking about overflowing stuff here – I assume you took a sip off the top and mopped up the rest of the milk already.
When confronted with a full space, there are really just 3 options.
1. Use some stuff up. Use the last of the old milk in your coffee or a quick bowl of cereal so the new one fits in the refrigerator. Note to yourself that you don’t need to buy more Post-It pads until you use up the ones you already have in the drawer. Light some candles before you bring new ones home.
Line up the product and use it up, in order, before adding additional stock. Think of the money and space you will save as you work through actually using things for the purpose they were purchased for.
2. Eliminate some. When you go to put one more bottle of lotion away and the last bottle you bought falls off the shelf as you open the door and 3 tubes are already on the vanity, and there is the one on the nightstand too, take a minute to consolidate and toss what you can.
Did you open a new bottle before the old one was used up because it was easier to get out or because you didn’t like the older product? Is the thing in the way all dried up or missing pieces? Those are clues that it can go in the trash. Make room for your favorites and eliminate the rest.
3. Return it. Return it to the store if it turns out you didn’t have room for it, trash it if its past it’s usefulness, donate it if someone else can use it. Use the new thing to replace what is leaving.
When you can’t find a hanger for the new outfit, that is the time to decide if the new thing coming in is a better use of space than the 1970’s pantsuit gathering dust in the back corner. Is the new baseball glove really going to replace the one that took 3 years to soften just so?
There is always room for just what you need. The trick is to evaluate it at the time of the spill. Too often, not taking the time to do one of these easy things, leads to a huge abundance avalanche, the stuff spilling out everywhere. Hopefully this simple strategy will help you keep the stuff in it’s space.
I don’t want to get too gross here, but if you don’t wipe up the milk, it will turn. It’s best to take care of it right now, real quick.