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

The Minimalists

The keynote speakers at our NAPO conference were the Minimalists. (http://www.theminimalists.com/) I had been looking forward to their presentation and I was not disappointed.

They told their life stories and the lessons they learned. Both men had great six-figure jobs, nice cars, big houses, all the latest electronics, and lots of stuff. It dawned on them that they were really caught up in gathering stuff and status. They were actually spending more than they were making. And they were not happy or contented. In fact, they felt stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and worry over growing debt. What was worse was that they didn’t have control of their time and thus didn’t control their own lives.

So in 2010 they took back control using the principles of minimalism to focus on what was important to each of them.

They reminded us that minimalists don’t focus on having less, rather they focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, and more contentment. Clearing out clutter made that room.

A few bites from their talk that I loved were:

  • You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.
  • Love people and use things – it doesn’t work well the other way around.
  • Feel comfortable getting rid of anything that is under $20 and less than 20 minutes away.

The final take away was that getting started is as simple as asking ourselves one question: how might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Less Stuff = More Money


Money, Honey! It’s that simple.

How does less stuff equate to more money?

First, know that every time you buy something you do not need or love, you are throwing away your money. Getting control of impulse buying can certainly save you money.

Next, if you have bought things you no longer need or love, don’t pay money to store them just to keep them out of your space. One in ten U.S. households rents a storage unit. It’s the fastest growing real estate segment over the last 35 years.

Last, you may be able to retrieve some money by consigning or selling items. The average woman has 27 pairs of shoes; the average man has 12. Men and women have on average 88 articles of clothing each. Of these clothing items, 25% are typically unworn. Clark Howard in today’s AJC talks about getting rid of stuff that you no longer use and making a profit. For clothing he suggests consignment stores, for furniture he suggests Craig’s list, and for antiques he suggests eBay.

There is an estimated $15 billion in unused tech gadgets in junk drawers worldwide according to IKEA. Clark Howard suggests the following sites for getting rid of electronics.

  • Glyde.com for gadgets and games
  • Gazelle.com for Apple products, plus Android, Blackberry and other phones
  • Gizmogul.com for selling old phones for cash and donating to charity at the same time
  • NewtonsHead.com for Apple products, even damaged iPhones
  • BuyBackWorld.com or BuyMyTronics.com for all electronics
  • NextWorth.com for phones, camera, tablets, and games
  • Swappa.com for Android devices

If you don’t want to go to the bother of selling your items, you can also donate and get a tax write off.

Not only will you make money by getting rid of your excess “stuff”, you will also feel so much lighter. Enjoy that extra space!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer