Reining in the Spread

I have written in the past about the Organizing Goddess corollary to Parkinson’s Law. Remember Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion? The Organizing Goddess’s corollary is: Stuff expands to fill the space available for its storage.

I saw that very principle in action recently in my own home. Since we have remodeling being done, my husband and I have moved out of our bedroom and are living in what we still call our daughter’s room, even though she doesn’t live here anymore. Among the items that I moved to the other bedroom are my jewelry box. I bought this wooden jewelry box over 30 years ago at a crafts fair. I love it for its beauty, craftsmanship, and practicality.

But this wasn’t my only jewelry box. Over the years, my jewelry has spread out into additional boxes. I didn’t want to move them into the other bedroom, since they contained stuff I hardly ever wore. That was a clue for me that I didn’t really need them, nor most of the stuff inside them.

One thing that I don’t like about my beautiful jewelry box is that it has stacking trays, not drawers. There are four levels, which means that I have to remove three trays in order to get to the bottom level. Just like cream rising to the top, my most frequently-worn jewelry (my earrings) are at the highest level. The deeper levels contain the stuff I wear the least.

To get rid of the smaller jewelry boxes, I reviewed everything inside them. I relocated some stuff that wasn’t even jewelry, and then donated or tossed other stuff. I was left with just a few items that I wanted to keep. I relocated those to the bottom levels of my wooden jewelry box, which were mostly empty anyway since they are hard to access. My daughter was happy to receive one of those unwanted jewelry boxes, as she had not yet devised a good jewelry solution in her new home.

So how you can combat Lowenheim’s Corollary and rein in the spread of stuff? By limiting the amount of space you allocate to it. You can see specific strategies in an earlier post called “Don’t Let Your Stuff Crowd You Out“.

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