These Minimal Quest Meetings Are Working! and Holiday Reflections

These Minimal Quest Meetings Are Working! and Holiday Reflections

Happy New Year organizing community!

Since the spring of last year, the FOCUS Organizers (three professional organizers including myself) have held six Minimal Quest Discussion Group meetings. Topics have included organized holidays, the cost of clutter, growing up disorganized and retailer tricks to make us buy more. I am happy to report it is having quite a positive impact! I have observed a few things from attendee feedback and myself:

  • It is easy to ignore clutter if it is organized and it fits the space.
  • Organizing is fast, it is being neat that slows down the process.
  • Once decision fatigue sets in stop decluttering. Resume the next day.
  • Clutter drains the energy. Even small organizing spurts makes us feels better immediately.

As we talk about themes at each monthly meeting, I find I am looking at my stuff with a minimalist eye. I found clutter in the smallest of places: a wad of promo pens, house warming cards from five years ago, dried up shoe polish. I lightened my keychain, gym bag and pocketbook. I paid special attention to how I felt about an item. Gone is the border line stuff like those never made puzzles and the curtain rods from the old house. The result was a car load full of consignment, donation and dump items that are now out of the house.

I carefully looked at the knickknack situation. There are lots of smalls: little things gathered and given along the way. Now I would rather have less items that make a bigger impact. It creates a simpler and more spacious look. Nothing new was purchased for this redesigning moment, but instead purged and rearranged. The new look brings fresh energy to the space.

As I packed up my Christmas ornaments, anything that did not make it on the tree this year went in the donation bag. On the tree are my favorites collected over a life time of travels, shopping and gifts from friends current and past. Gone is the ornament purchased on the only bad vacation I ever had and the one that broke two years ago but it was too bothersome to glue back together. In prior homes I was able to have bigger trees then this house so there were just too many ornaments. Ornament collecting has long since stopped and the smaller trees are here to stay.

This year I asked my hard-to-find-gifts-for-folks what they wanted. As they opened their presents, I felt their delight was genuine because they got what they asked for (and because I was meticulous with gift receipts). I was also gently vocal about what was on my wish list. This year there were no returns! No exchanges! And no gift certificates from places I don’t shop! This asking and suggesting for birthdays and other gift giving events will continue throughout the year.

My goal is not to be a minimalist but instead to minimize. Buzz words are less, simpler, easier, and spacious. Net result is more time, less stress, less on the to-do list. Instead the plan is to spend the time with family, friends, personal interests, volunteering, trying new things.

I wanted to start the New Year with two clean slates:

  1. Get to the bottom of the reading pile. Though it was not huge, it did contain “sinkers.” Stuff that stayed on the bottom of the pile which I knew was there but never seem to read. Some was read, others filed for reference, the rest recycled. The new reading pile is right around the corner of course, but each item will have this year’s date.
  2. I wanted to start the year with a clean e-mail in-box. This one is still a work in progress. There are 18 items from last year. Each requires a bit of work or a decision. My plan is to deal with the new emails each day and chip away at the 18 oldies.

As we begin this new year filled with possibilities there are so many options to make life a little better by making the smallest change:

  • Work to do one thing differently: Open mail near a recycle container.
  • Make small adjustments: Drink one less cup of coffee a day (vs. giving up caffeine).
  • Seek improvement: If you don’t want to give up coffee, then drink more water (balance).
  • Have one new focus: Like better skin care or taking vitamins.
  • Have a one-word theme: Simplicity, less, ease.
  • Focus on forward motion: Every movement must advance the task or project.
  • If you don’t want to change your behavior then change your attitude. Let it be ok for now, don’t use negative self-talk, no self-judgement, no self-criticizing.

We hope you will join us as we start a new year of topics for our Minimal Quest Discussion Group. All are welcome! Please call or email if you have any questions.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 – Minimalist Resolutions

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – When Empty is Golden

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 – Minimalist Paperwork

Our lively discussions give us all ideas on how to get
more organized and move closer to a life without excess stuff.

Recap last month’s goals
Discussion topic: Minimalist Resolutions
Goal setting

Meeting includes:
1. A drink and snacks
2. A chance to hear professional organizers give
guidance and facilitate discussion on minimalism
3. The opportunity to share your own concerns
with the group and gain tactical ideas
4. Access to a group who will hold you
accountable to reach monthly goals

Date & Time:
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019
5:30 to 6:30 PM

The Goose Restaurant
972 Boston Post Road
Darien, CT 06820
Plenty of free parking in the back.

Come to a meet-up with other folks who share your frustration with
too much stuff and not enough time to enjoy what matters most.

FOCUS organizers will be facilitating discussion of
cutting edge concepts in the minimalist movement.

Sign up info:
Registration is $25
Sign up at today!
Includes one beverage and a light snack.
Nonrefundable. If unable to attend your payment
will be credited toward a future meeting. 

Future meetings & topics:
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – When Empty is Golden
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 – Minimalist Paperwork

A professional organizer for more than 18 years, Susan Lovallo, CPA, CPO, works with individuals and businesses to help them declutter, simplify and establish or streamline systems. Whether you are organizing your home, business, or financials, the result is greater productivity with less effort, providing more time to enjoy life. Clients appreciate Susan’s easy and effective solutions and financial expertise, as well as her patience, compassion and sense of humor.