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How Much is Enough?

Posted by Sue on May 14, 2008  

This is definitely a question that comes up often in my work.
A while back a sweet young Mom asked me HOW MUCH STUFF was the
right amount for her daughter.

At that time her daughter (I’ll call her Sara) was 4. Toys,craft
materials, and children’s books were taking over the kitchen and
living room as well as Sara’s bedroom and it was making the whole
family miserable. These young parents wanted to provide as much
opportunity as possible but knew that something wasn’t working.

We talked about it for a while and I finally asked,”How much can
she (Sara – not the Mom! ) manage well. What I meant was — what can SHE cope with/use and then put away so it isn’t all over the place and what does she REALLY love?”

The answer to that was simpler than either of us expected and working with that as our measuring stick we were able to figure out how much should be available for daily use, what should be tucked away, and what was way too much for any little girl (and her parents) to have to manage.

The question of manageability has continued to be one of the key concepts in helping folks make their spaces work for them.

***

Then last week a long time friend and I stayed at a lovely monastery for a
brief retreat. During lunch one of the monks asked what I do and we
were instantly into a discussion about clutter – yes, even monks!

Asked for my most important piece of advice, I said, ” If you are
doing what you want to do and clutter isn’t causing problems, then
don’t worry about it. After a few seconds I added, “and less is more.”

There are so MANY helpful strategies. I keep a running list of them to
share with you over time, but bottom line, you have my most crucial
advice right here:

1)If you are doing what you want to do and clutter isn’t causing
problems, then don’t worry about it
and

2)Ask yourself: How much (of _______ ) can I manage well?

Give it a try… and let me know what you discover.

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