By Amy Hackworth. Poster by Simon Evans.

Have you noticed all the talk of getting organized this month? I think it might be a natural response to the aftermath of Christmastime, a sort of decompression from the busy-ness of the holidays that makes us crave some order.

I’m feeling especially drawn to a simpler, more orderly life that allows me to honor the things I really value, instead of spending so much time managing clutter and dashing around at the last minute. For years I’ve listened as friends and experts have talked about the value of paring down our stuff. The more stuff you have, they warn, the more stuff you have to take care of. Since I’m not an outright hoarder, I didn’t really see the application in my life, but lately, I’m beginning to wonder if they were on to something… maybe I have too much stuff, and maybe that stuff is getting in the way of the more deliberate life I’d love to live.

So I’m tackling closets, boxes, basement rooms, and filing cabinets in an effort to lighten my load. I’m intrigued by (but not ready to commit to) the 100 Thing Challenge, an experiment in living with less—just 100 personal items. Founder Dave Bruno’s recent post about our modern longing for simplicity intrigues me, too, and offers an interesting motivation for simplifying. Modern people seek simplicity, he argues, because we want to experience life without so many modern distractions. The essentials of life have been the same for centuries, and modernity doesn’t change the value of laughter or the weight of grief. We crave simplicity because we crave life.

I’ve always loved the idea that clearing away the old makes room for the new, but I especially love the idea that by saying goodbye to some clutter, I’m making more room for real life. Who knows what surprises are waiting for me once those closets are clean?

P.S. Another favorite motivator is Clearing Your Clutter with Feng Shui, a fun and motivating look at lite Feng Shui and chock full of great advice. Also, Gabrielle posted about that amazing poster a few years ago and I’ve thought about it many times — it’s pretty perfect for this post.