The Happiness Project Experience - March
As a professional organizer, I've been looking forward to March, the month focusing on outer order, from the beginning. I’m obsessed with decluttering, color-coding, and finding peace through my surroundings. I love that I get to help other people with these things too! However, even professional organizers often have things to work on when it comes to outer order!
Some of the resolutions for this month jumped right out at me - I’ve been thinking about them for months. Others were things I didn't think of initially, but I soon realized how perfectly they fit in with this theme. Once I worked my way through the videos for this month and talked through some ideas with a friend, I knew what I wanted to do.
Read Outer Order Inner Calm
Clean out closet
Get packing cubes
Pack away unused items/duplicates
As the month progressed, I was able to check these off all of these items very early on. So, I decided to conquer a couple more things. My expanded list included the following:
Organize DVD collection
I kind of already gave it away by saying I checked everything off of my list, but here’s how I did:
First, read Outer Order Inner Calm. My full review of this book is in the Books of March 2019 blog post. But the bottom line is that I LOVED IT (of course). This book gave me the motivation to springboard into everything else. It also reminded me why I do what I do and how passionate I am about it.
Second, clean out my closet. You might think that a professional organizer would have no excess items in their home or their wardrobe but I am here to bust that myth - it. is. not. true. It may be a dream, and something that I work towards, but I don’t think that I (or any of the other organizers that I know) would ever say that they are 100% there. I’d had some items weighing on my mind for awhile - ones that I felt that I should wear or that I wish I felt more comfortable in. The time had come for these items. I instituted one of the principles from Outer Order Inner Calm - If you think about getting rid of something three times, you should already have done it. So out those items went. But I didn’t stop there. When I was done, I had two trash bags full of clothes, shoes, and accessories to go to a local donation center. There are people who will love and use these items much more than I did, so I let them go and moved on.
Next, I got packing cubes. It’s confession time again, I am a super organized person in general, but when I travel, my suitcase is often an absolute nightmare. I’ve tried rolling and file folding and shoving things in wherever they will fit - none of it has helped me to keep my stuff looking neat or my emotions calm. I’ve been wanting packing cubes for a while. Countless people I know have used them and rave about them. I was willing to try anything to get my gear under control while on the road. Since I went to Texas this month too, it was the perfect month to make the purchase and try it out. I did and I have to say - I am an absolute convert. I will be using these from now on. The only downside is that the set of 5 I purchased from Target (the largest set they had), didn’t have all of the exact sizes I probably would have wanted. None of the other sets were right for me either though, so I’m glad I made the choice I did. However, you may want to take this into account if you want to try out packing cubes. Regardless, I consider this goal a success.
My final pre-planned goal for the month was to pack away unused items/duplicates. On the surface, this sounds like something I would strongly discourage as a professional organizer. If people have duplicates or items that they don’t use, I encourage them to let them go so that they no longer take up space or mental energy. But since I live with a roommate, we each moved in with some of the same items. Since we won’t live together forever, it wouldn’t work to merely toss our duplicates because then one of us would have to buy the items again later! And that definitely wouldn’t be ideal. Even though we’ve lived together for 6 months, we never really got around to repacking those things we don’t use or need once we unpacked. So I took some time this month to put those items of mine in a storage closet. These items had been weighing on my mind for months but it wasn’t until I assessed my home again through the lens of creating outer order that I knew I needed to get them out of sight. And once I tackled the project, it only took 30 minutes!
As I shared, after I had checked all of this off the list, I decided to tackle two more things. Both tasks were quick and easy but brought me bursts of happiness!
When I moved into my apartment, a friend of mine had given me a plant. I am awful at keeping plants alive, but I’ve done pretty well with this one thus far. I thought I might have better luck keeping it alive if it a better home. So, last time I was at IKEA, I bought a terra cotta pot to plant it in… and proceeded to not plant it. I had set the plant into the pot but left it in the temporary plastic pot. I’m glad I tackled this because it really was much easier than I was expecting and our dining table looks much better now!
The final thing I decided to do was organize our DVD collection - by color of course. You can see the before and after on my business Instagram - @masterpeaceorganizing. All the books in my apartment are organized by color, so I’m surprised I didn’t have this idea sooner. Some people have argued that arranging everything by color is a very inefficient system and things like books (or even movies, I guess) should be arranged by topic. For them, that might work great. For me, the rainbow of color brings me joy every time I look at it and I can easily find things because I know what color they are. Organizing is fun because you can establish personalized systems and sometimes, like organizing our DVD collection, it only takes a couple of moments of work to gain an endless supply of happiness.
Of course, I liked the March topic, and I’m not too surprised that I accomplished everything I set out to. It also struck me this month how much I am enjoying working on The Happiness Project Experience. I love thinking about the topics each month, coming up with ideas, working on them, and anticipating what I’m going to accomplish in months ahead. As Gretchen says, anticipation is a major contributor to happiness!
I’m so glad I’ve taken part in this wonderful course, and I can’t want to see what the next nine months will bring. I’m not sure how much more my happiness can grow, but I guess we will see!
Until next time,