The Answer To Simplicity Is Not A Better Basket Or Storage Vessel


When a client calls me for their initial consultation they typically ask me two questions. The first question is how much can we accomplish in the three hours we work together. The second question is wondering what they should purchase to prepare for our session.

The answer to the first question is easy, it all depends on their level of motivation. Some clients have a hard time going through a stack of birthday cards. While others can plow through a kitchen in three hours. I match their level of speed and try to increase it. Paper clutter is some of the most time consuming clutter we conquer. It is important to be gentle with yourself when sorting paper, as it is very tedious.

I can usually tell during a conversation how motivated my clients are. I will be honest with them and if I go to their house and all they want is for me is to swirl their clutter, I will leave. I don’t want to take money from someone who is not motivated.

The second question is easy as well. About 99% of my clients do not need to purchase anything after we have an organizing session. This may surprise you and you may be saying to yourself that your stuff needs to be put in containers and look all pretty. Let me tell you a secret, you already own everything you need.

Most of my clients are organizers at heart. They see a bin or a pretty basket and they buy it. When we are cleaning out their clutter and I am left with what remains, I ask them if they have a certain bin or basket. Almost 100% of the time they leave and come back with the perfect container. I see a glint in their eye and they dash out of the room and return with a sense of finishing a marathon with a basket held high above their head. I want to play some music to celebrate their accomplishment, like the theme from “Rocky” when he climbs those famous steps. The words that follow are almost always the same, “I had this laying around waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it.”

A friend reminded me today of a message I had written about but had forgotten, that the answer to simplicity is not a better basket or storage vessel. That keeping your stuff in better stuff just means that you have more stuff. While good and practical storage containers can be useful, going on a buying binge in IKEA isn’t going to free you of the clutter.

I think I surprise each of my clients when we work together that I do not pressure them to buy more stuff. I am there to get rid of clutter, not force them to buy more things. Once their clutter is cleared suddenly they have extra hangers, drawer and counter space. There is a sense of freedom with the new found open areas.

So this week I challenge you to start clearing clutter and see if you need more boxes or if you already have them in your possession. The first step to organizing is clearing the clutter, not shopping.


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!