According to The Harris Poll, Thanksgiving is Americans’ second favorite holiday (Christmas is #1). Thanksgiving’s popularity may be due in part to the fact that it’s one of the few holidays we celebrate that involves no gifts, not even candy. No gifts equals no wrapping paper to throw out, and no abundance of new stuff to incorporate into the house like at birthdays and Christmas.
Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude for what you already have. That’s a sentiment a Professional Organizer can get behind!
In fact, cultivating a feeling of thankfulness for what you have will help keep you organized by changing the negative ways you relate to your possessions, allowing you to let go of what’s cluttering your life and enjoy what you have right now.
Thankful for Who You Are
A big reason we hold on to things from our past is that they represent who we used to be. They remind us of our hopes and dreams for who we would become. Did you fulfill these dreams? Did your dreams change? Do you miss the person you used to be?
When we remember to be thankful for who we are now, we can take a more detached, distant look at these objects from the past, letting go of any self-criticism and negative emotions they contain.
I love to sew and do other crafts, but a couple of years ago, I took a hard look at the backlog of partially-completed projects that had accumulated in my sewing room. I allowed myself to let go of the ones that were no longer my style or interested me. I also let go of those “fatally flawed” projects that would never work out to my satisfaction because of some little error I had made in the early stages of creation.
Most of all, I admitted to myself that I’m not the constant crafter I used to be. I still enjoy popping into my studio to make things every now and then, but much of my time is taken up with other things that I enjoy doing. I’m thankful for who I am at this stage in life.
Thankful for What You Have
We are awash in websites, magazines, and catalogs pushing the latest fashions and home decor! The truth is, most of our homes, our figures, our wardrobes, and our wallets don’t match what we see in magazines and on websites.
These curated images are designed to sell us stuff, not to paint a picture of real life. After looking at these images of sleekly-presented lifestyles, it can be easy to look at our own things and feel dissatisfied.
[Click here to read more tips about clearing out catalog and magazine clutter.]
At the opposite end of the “newer is always better” spectrum, a wise old New England adage says, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Instead of always being on the hunt for something new, try to see what you already own through new eyes.
Here are some tips and tricks to help:
Thankful for Where You Live
Do you sometimes look around at your home or neighborhood and think that all your problems would be solved if only you lived somewhere else.
If only I had a house with more space/storage/rooms...
If only I lived in the suburbs/city/country…
If only I had a smaller/bigger house...
It’s easy to fall into a “grass is greener” mentality instead of being grateful for where you live.
Try some “forward and backward thinking” to help you develop thankfulness for your current home. Look backward: Remember the good times you’ve had there and be grateful for the way this particular house, neighborhood, or location contributed to those times. Then look forward: Picture yourself achieving your future goals with this home as your launching pad.
Guaranteed, your home is not perfect. Maybe it needs a few small tweaks to make it more functional: add a shelf to the cupboard, put bins in the closet, or move the desk to another room.
Maybe you need to make an emotional adjustment. For example, Instead of seeing lots of stairs as a hindrance, see them as an opportunity to get extra daily exercise.
Whatever the issues, this home is where you live, have fun, work, get creative, and do all the things that make your life uniquely yours. Train your eyes not to dwell on the elements you dislike.
It’s not bad to want things; it’s bad when the wanting hinders your ability to see the good in what you already have.
Look around and see the beauty in who you are, what you have, and where you live for which you are so very thankful.