Leave Room to Grow

In buying a new laptop in 2008, my fiancé implored me to not just get “something that will do, but something that will grow with you.”

Wise words indeed.

My tiny little pretty white laptop had finally burned out.  A few of the letter keys didn’t work (kind of important in my line of work), it was getting that clunky slowness when you know the end is near and a host of other problems cropped up.

But as I use it every day, pretty much all day, my fella took me by the hand to a neighbourhood of computer stores.  I of course, didn’t want to spend the money on a new one – I’ll just keep using the clunker, I told my fella.  But he pushed and prodded and made me get something bigger (so I don’t hunch over that tiny little screen.  And besides, who was I kidding?  I never took it anywhere), better (64-bit, something, something), and more than I wanted to spend.

The point?  It is 2010 and it is still cutting edge for PCs (Macs are of course are a whole other category).  It has grown with me and I won’t have to replace it until it wears out like the old one.  While I was set on getting a tiny little laptop for $500, he saw the potential of having something bigger, faster, stronger.

I realize that this super logical and smart thinking (thank you, honey) applies to organizing principles for around the house and at the office.

Here are some examples:

Filing Cabinet

Many people I know cram their files into the drawer, pushing and shoving them in there.  No wonder they hate filing.  When you leave room for new files, it is easy to slip them in and out when you need them.  No stress, no wasted energy, just pure and simple ease.

Now that tax season is upon us, you’re going to be going through your files anyway.  Why not declutter those drawers out now?

Clothes Closet

This tiny little apartment has one closet for clothes and one hall closet for coats and such.  When you’re 2 people with 2 sets of clothes, it can be challenging to keep it neat and tidy.  When items start falling off the hangers and I have to squeeze my arm in to pull out a top, I know it’s time to clear it out.

Although it looked like a multiple hour job, it took only 1 to completely organize and also remove items that I hadn’t worn for the last season or two.  Last week, our closet was a disaster zone.  Now I have an empty shelf for breathing space (and you know, any new purses that might come my way) and I moved my dresses to the hall closet so that it’s not so jammed in there.


Shelves , Cupboards & More

Whether you’ve got stacks of CDs, DVDs, books, magazines or piles of papers strewn about, put them all together on shelves, weeding out the old while making sure there’s room for new stuff.

Don’t forget your kitchen cupboards (do you really need a cherry pitter, a strawberry huller and a papaya slicer?) and pantry.  There’s nothing worse than going grocery shopping and not having anywhere to put those cans of tomatoes!

Is your bathroom cabinet bulging and overflowing?  Are the vanity drawers filled to capacity?  Clear ‘em out and leave some room.

That goes for the basement too.  Many people I know use their basement as a “I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-this-so-I’ll-just-put-it-in-the-basement “(or spare room) kind of place. Then one day you go down there and you’ve got to spend the next couple of weekends going through stuff.  Ugh.

Now that spring is on its way, you’re going to want to swap your wardrobe as well as your tires.  Leave room for not only new items but for moving things around as your needs – and the seasons – change.

It actually won’t take as long as you think to clear out and make some room.    And living with room to breathe and space to put things is one of the best feelings in the world.

Stephanie Dickison is the author of the recent book, The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working From Home, which covers her career as book, music and restaurant critic.  She has been a journalist for over a decade and now spends much of her time writing about travel, food, beauty, style and celebrities for various publications and websites.

When she’s not writing, she’s eating, cooking, organizing, filing, making lists in sumptuous notebooks (you must use your beautiful journals) and colour-coding her ever evolving calendar.

She is one of the few writers still using technology AND paper.  But at least her paper is organized into pretty file folders…