How Much Is Too Much?


Most of us acknowledge that we have too much “stuff” but how much is too much? How do we pin down that number?

I am a strong believer that “less is more” but I am not a minimalist.

I love coffee. I need a coffee cup or mug. My husband likes coffee. He needs a coffee cup. Sometimes we have coffee cups that are dirty and in the dishwasher. I have friends that visit, sometimes in groups, that like tea or coffee. So now I figure I am up to 8 – 10 cups. Some days I prefer the cup from Paris. Some days only the really big mug will do. My friends have favorite cups. I have about 25 mugs are cups. Yeah, that is too many. I figure I could get it down to 15 the next time I work in my kitchen zone.

The thing is, I have room for the 25 so there is no real pressure. But still, I will feel better if I let some go.

How many pens do I need? I use a black one daily and I like to have a red one and a blue one at times. I like a pen by my bed and a couple in the living room (for crossword puzzles). I like a pen in the kitchen for grocery lists and to label food for the freezer. I have a couple in my briefcase and one in my purse. I like to use a Sharpie fine point pen gut sometimes I need a ballpoint. I certainly want a few backups because they do eventually fail. So what does that add up to? I also know I have a container of pens in my desk drawer and I often dig through the lot to find one I like. So why are the others even there?

Still, there is room for all of them in the container so no real pressure. But when I clean out my office zone, I know quite a few of those will go.

It seems like most areas of my home have some abundance – clothes, shoes, linens, books, etc. I am good about applying the “container rule.” If I have a designated container for items and the items easily fit into that container and the container has a good home, I’m good.

But a little more breathing space would be a good thing. So this year, as I go through each of my zones, I will ask myself, “How much is too much?” as I make my sorts and purge.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer