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Organizer Amanda Sullivan has a message for you: She’s done with perfection, and you should be, too.

Her consultations don’t include decluttering your entire house in a single session. Or downsizing everything you own into a 10-piece capsule wardrobe. And, have no fear – your kitchen counter can have something on it.

Are you exhaling already?

In the August series, Traveling Light, we’re taking life back to basics. That’s what Sullivan advocates in her book, “Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting – And Staying – Organized“. Her concept is straightforward – what matters to you, matters. So keep whatever you want. Just keep it together!

When the whole house is constantly overwhelmed, you’re essentially saying, “What I’d like to do today is waste time looking for my shoes. I want to trip over the kids’ stuff, because I never make them put things away. And I’d also like to have petty arguments with my wife, because I know a kitchen table that looks like a landing strip drives her crazy.”

Who wants a day like that?

Organizers will tell you that custom closets on their own aren’t the answer. The real solution is changing your mind. That means a house of success happens when you get the “how” part right. How you approach editing is as important as what you keep.

For Fumio Sasaki, there’s more to life than stuff. Focusing only on the essentials had an interesting ripple effect. His world didn’t get better in a single way; he had a list. Here are the improvements he experienced in “12 Ways I’ve Changed Since I Said Goodbye To My Things”:

  1. I have more time.
  2. I enjoy life more.
  3. I have more freedom
  4. I no longer compare myself with others.
  5. I stopped worrying about how others see me.
  6. I’m more engaged with the world around me.
  7. I can focus better and concentrate on being me.
  8. I save money and care more about the environment.
  9. I’m healthier and safer.
  10. My interpersonal relationships are deeper.
  11. I can savor the present moment.
  12. I feel true gratitude.

Sasaki was freed up to have fun with the people he cared about once he stopped using precious time to manage possessions. Of course relationships are going to deepen. When you’re really listening and present, enjoying the pleasure of someone’s company, there’s only one word for that.

Love.

And having love beats having an organized file cabinet. All. Day.

This week, challenge yourself to travel light in your environment. It could be something simple like organizing school clothes. But you might decide to release something more profound. When you bring unrealistic expectations back to earth, you might also lose the feeling that you’re constantly failing.

Are you unsure about where to start? Anchor yourself with Catherine Ponder’s beautiful affirmation: “I now let go of worn-out things, worn-out conditions, and worn-out relationships. Divine Order is now established and maintained in me and my world.”