Mindfulness. The key to shopping, organizing and life.

Organizing, as I learned long ago, is a lifelong process of adapting to one’s changing needs and lifestyle. An organized kitchen for my lifestyle at 25, 50, and 75 yrs old looks remarkably different for many reasons, most of which revolve around how often I cook and how accessible the objects I use to cook are in my space - as I age. At 75, I may not have the capacity or desire to lift a cast iron pan up from under the counter, but for now it works quite well for me.

I have been thinking about this and about my steadfast rule of shopping. The rule is that for any object you purchase and bring into your home you should donate or otherwise remove an object in the same category. Adopting this rule helps us in several ways. 1) It makes us shop mindfully and with intention as opposed to shopping purely for sport/entertainment. 2) It is autopilot for clutter control. One in-one out keeps us from over-stocking our closets, cupboards and shelves with objects we do not need. 3) By making a donation each time you acquire something new you are paying it forward in a good and meaningful way. If I must say good-bye to a dress that I am not ready to part with in order to buy a new one, I will likely not buy the new one. Not for lack of desire, a new dress would be nice, but because I simply do not need it. If I do buy the new dress and donate a similar one from my closet , both I and someone else reap the benefits. While for some among us this way of thinking may be sacrilege I can assure your it is the most freeing and exhilarating feeling to make better, more mindful choices.

So why am I thinking about this?

Well you may be shocked to learn that I like to shop, and I like new things! Who knew? So, this week Aldi (yes Aldi- a story for another day) has a Nation-wide sale on enamel lined cast iron pots, Yay!! However I already own two of these in different sizes that I use very regularly. So what is a girl to do? I must ask myself, do I need a new one? Would I use all three? Can I keep all three and still follow my rule?

Yes! Yes!! And Yes!!!! Here’s how and why….

I was interested in the new one for several reasons. 1) It is a different size and shape from the current ones that I own. 2) I know I will use it. 3) It was $24.00, which is a spectacular price. 4) I recently purchased one of those cabinet door racks for pot lids, so a pot and pan reorganization project was already about to be in the works. 5) My current small enamel lined cast iron pot is beginning to lose its enamel. Since I was not yet ready to let either cast iron pot go, I agreed with myself to let go of the two large spaghetti-cooking pots that I never use to make way for my new cast iron kitchen friend. This my friends is mindful shopping and for me it was a huge win because one thing came in and two things were leaving.

So, this morning I pulled everything out of the cabinet. I had been using a basket to corral lids in there and overall it was a horrible system that required an upgrade so I was very excited about the acquisition of the lid caddy. As I got ready to install the caddy I discovered it would not fit the cabinet door so I attached it to the inside wall of the cabinet and it works like a dream!

I also discovered that I have two extremely old, very disgusting Pyrex casserole dishes that I have not used in ages and no longer have a need for. Once upon a time these were my go to dishes for roasting chickens, or veggies but as my kitchen has evolved over time these old friends have become so obsolete I had completely forgotten about them. Needless to say I let them go. Bonus! I was feeling very proud because now four outdated items were leaving and being replaced by one very useful item coming in.

In addition to making a well thought out replacement purchase I was able to purge items that no longer fit my lifestyle. Things that I had long ago forgotten about were hanging out in my cabinets in spite of the fact that I organize other people’s spaces every day.

So why am I telling you all of this? Simple. I want you to understand and embrace several truths about living an organized life in an organized home.

  1. Even an organizer’s kitchen needs a “facelift” every now and again.

  2. No one is perfect, nor should they be. Life is a journey- so is organizing.

  3. I can never ever stress enough the importance of one in- one out. If you enjoy organizational life changing magic a-la Ms. Marie Kondo, incorporate this rule and realize magic that requires less tidying.

  4. Mindfulness is the key to shopping, organizing and life.

Before and after cabinet:

Wouldn't fit.

Let them go!

These too! Buh bye!

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