Cleaning & Organizing

The Jedi Philosophy on Organization

Galaxy Smile | The Jedi Philosophy of Organization
Photo: ESA/Hubble & NASA

"This is a new day, a new beginning." – Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: Rebels)
There is more than one philosophy on organization. Getting organized is one of the most common goals made for the New Year. It's a daunting task and it can become overwhelming fairly quickly, especially when facing tough decisions on what to keep or get rid of. Many people simply give up, believing organization to be an impossible goal, when it's really far from that. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, get organized defeat your home's dark side!

"Your focus determines your reality." – Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
Sometimes, life can feel like it's moving too quickly and there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. From working to caring for loved ones and children, there are so many things that need to get done, and organization can fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Too many people think that organization is a giant push which takes a lot of effort all at once and there just isn't time for it. In reality, it just takes a focus on doing something small every day.

Instead of looking at the clutter like it all has to be cleared away at once, take it on day by day. Sort one small pile, drawer, or shelf at a time, or dedicate yourself to not bringing any more mess into the house today. Being focused on little goals will make the task much more manageable, and eventually, your reality will be shaped by it.

"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." – Yoda (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
One reason that many people accumulate clutter around their homes is because they can't let go of things. It's hard to part with items which have sentimental value, especially if they're from someone who's no longer in your life. When we face organizing emotionally sensitive items, it's important to appreciate what they have meant to us but to also know that the memories aren't dependent on the item being around. Consider donating items which you no longer use to a thrift store or handing them down to someone else. Giving pieces away instead of throwing them out gives another person a chance to enjoy them as much as you did.

Remember, not everything has to go. If you're not ready to let go of something yet but aren't sure what to do with it, placing it in a storage unit instead, can be a great alternative. Small, valuable items can also be placed in a safety deposit box at a bank. For papers like letters, photographs, or children's artwork, consider scanning them into a computer and creating a digital archive. You can keep the scanned files on an external hard drive or cloud storage service so they stay safe from computer crashes.

Philosophy-on-Organization-starburst-galaxy
Photo: ESA/Hubble & NASA

“Who’s the more foolish, the fool? Or the fool who follows him?” – Obi- Wan Kenobi (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)
Often, our parent's habits become ours too. If you grew up in a messy home, you may have never learned how to be organized because your parents didn't teach or demonstrate it to you. Fortunately, the past doesn't dictate your future. Just because no one taught you to be neat as a child doesn't mean you can't learn. There is an abundance of resources to teach tidying skills available online through blogs, as well as in books. If you're not confident in your abilities yet, consider hiring a professional organizer. Not only can they teach you how to tackle clutter, they can also assess your individual situation and help create a system to take care of it now and in the future.

"Judge me by my size, do you?" – Yoda (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
Not all of us have giant closets and spacious attics, but just like how Yoda packs a load of wisdom into a tiny body, the small spaces in your home can be powerful when you're looking to get organized. After all, many of the things which create clutter are small items which pile up over time. Try organizing drawers with plastic containers or small boxes to fit more items without anything getting jumbled. If you're in the market for new furniture, look for pieces which have built-in storage, like under-bed drawers or a hollow ottoman. Even unusual nooks and crannies can have shelves or storage totes fit into them for extra room.

“I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side.” – Luke (Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
Dedicating yourself to getting into tip-top tidiness isn't an individual task. Children, spouses, and other relatives can make it tough to organize when they're not on board. If your goal is a truly clean space, spend time getting the other members of your household to contribute. Children are easy to get involved by making tidying up into a game. Award points based on how many items of a certain color or type they can put in a bin, or encourage make-believe where they pretend to be in an infomercial about the product they're using to clean.

Teenagers and adults can be more difficult to encourage, but it can be done. Make sure cleaning up doesn't seem daunting by breaking the process into small tasks, and lead by example. If you make a habit of putting things away when you're done with them, or not leaving clothes on the floor, other members of your household will be more likely to catch on. A little gentle nudging doesn't hurt either.

Let go of your fear and tackle the mess around your house with a renewed sense of purpose. It doesn't take a lightsaber to get organized – just go for it! As Yoda says…

"Do. Or do not. There is no try." (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

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