Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tammy Strobel of RowdyKittens.com.
My husband, Logan, and I live in a very tiny house. We also share a super small closet. It’s about six feet tall and two feet wide. Theoretically, there is plenty of space in the closet for our stuff. But over the last few months, I felt annoyed by the lack of room in our closet.
Logan has more clothes than I do and I felt like his stuff was starting to take over our shared space. I tried to mitigate this problem by placing some of our winter clothes on the top closet shelf, but Logan felt that the space looked cluttered. Plus, he could never find his hats. In short, we both felt like our closet was exploding with stuff.
Communication is essential in a partnership, especially when you are sharing a small dwelling. So on a hot summer afternoon, we stood in front of the closet and talked about how we should reorganize our belongings.
I suggested, “Why don’t we put our winter clothes, that we aren’t using, in the empty kitchen cabinet?”
Logan exclaimed, “That’s a great idea! We should have done that before!”
As we sorted through our clothes we created a donation pile for the items we no longer wore and put our winter clothing out of sight in the cabinet. As we organized, I thought about Barry Schwartz’s happiness research.
In “The Paradox of Choice,” Schwartz argues that “a bewildering array of choices floods our exhausted brains, ultimately restricting instead of freeing us.” This can be applied to buying a new dress, picking out new college classes, or even trying to decide what to wear in the morning. Schwartz also notes that too many choices “erodes our psychological well-being” and does not make us happier.
I found this to be true, especially in the case of my closet. After it was neatly organized, I took a step back and smiled. The space felt uncluttered and it was easy to see what my clothing options consisted of. Now I don’t have to sort through my merino wool sweaters in the morning, as I’m looking for my new summer dress. As Schwartz said, “I believe that we make the most of our freedoms by learning to make good choices about the things that matter, while at the same time unburdening ourselves from too much concern about the things that don’t.”
If you have a closet that’s overfilled and cramped, take a few hours and start organizing the space. Reducing clutter will give you the clarity to focus on the things that matter, like your family and doing work you love.
Tammy Strobel is a writer, photographer, and tiny house enthusiast. She created her blog, RowdyKittens.com, to share her story of embracing simplicity. Since then, her story has been featured in the New York Times, The Today Show, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, and in a variety of other media outlets. Tammy’s new book is called, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too.