There exist numerous individual perceptions as to how these are individually defined. For myself they became the title of a process which encompassed an increase in organizational essentialism (quality vs quantity) which in and of itself beget minimalist characteristics of elimination of the unnecessary.
To aid in this adventure, four fabric 10×10 boxes were recycled, each labelled with their singular purposes’, as listed below:
a. Donate items still fit for use- though excess for myself.
b. Keep items still required.
c. Shred and Burn redundant papers.
d. Convert necessary papers into electronic media, and then move to box c.
The original intent was to generate a series of boxes, which were small enough to allow for easy daily use. Though my home-office was not one which could be considered needlessly cluttered, the true scope of the under-taking was one which opened my eyes- generating the before-mentioned epiphany and paradigm shift.
As each box was filled, it was noted that regardless of how quickly I filled the box, the first 33 gallon garbage-bin filled faster. When each box had been filled, three 33 gallon garbage-bins were equally filled, and the scene before me appeared almost untouched. Sitting with a nice cup of coffee, the scene before me was studied. In this moment of reflection, a sudden epiphany spawned.
The old saying “it is the small things” could never have rang more true, than in that moment.
The garbage-bins were filled with the smallest of items, each belonging to a previous item, no longer in the inventory, and thus of no use to anyone. How they came to be in their current position was one of either procrastination and-or expedience. They were tossed into their previous locations due to being too busy at that time, or the more prevalent “I will get back to it later,” which of course few of us ever really do; the item having been removed from memory by an over-load of other information required for that period of time.
This generated the before mentioned paradigm-shift, of taking care of the smallest things inside their individual key moments, vs. putting them off until a forgotten later.
Each of us is guilty of putting off the small-things for later- usually to be erased from memory.
The lesson in the garbage-bins was of taking care of the littlest thing now. Of paying attention to the smallest detail- regardless of its’ position within the larger picture. They say it is always the minutest of details which causes the issues, and in this they are correct. They pile up, small enough to not be noticed until much later, when they grow large enough to fill multiple garbage-bins, meant for much larger items.
After the first month on this journey, I looked around at the results, and found an oddly satisfying internal fulfillment and freedom; though the battle against the ever present “small-things” continues. The boxes are more readily filled, with only that of necessity and worth maintaining a prized place in the office. This experience has beget, what is quickly becoming an innate behavior of valuing items based upon their necessity vs. desire or want, and one of instant requirement vs. that of waiting for that which is needed. In this my logistical planning background bore fruition in that there should be no unfulfilled need, with rotatable and expendables being accurately forecasted, to insure a continual supply, but never a gross overabundance- especially of smaller items.
In the above, the majority will look around at that which surrounds them, or hides in the furthest recesses of their office-desk drawers. Many will see something of their own, and a few will reach a point of decision, and begin their own individual versions of organizational minimalism. In this I would only ask that they share their experiences, and when enough have done-so, thrift shops should have an abundance to give, to those who have nothing, and the landfills will eventually have less, as we consume only that which is required vs. lust of the moment.