By Evan Zislis
We are naturally wired to help each other. It’s just part of our DNA. It may be the most exceptional trait of our species. Our collective history is defined by a shared ancestral memory of cooperation, collaboration, empathy, and assistance. Things fall apart when we forget. But in times of crisis, we remember – all at once, like suddenly we’re all hearing the same inspiring song – and we re-engage in step to the music. Suddenly, we’re one. And together, we evolve.
I’m a professional organizer. In my professional practice, I help people to simplify so they can focus on the things that matter most: who we love, what we do, how, and why we live… because everything else is just stuff. I help my clients de-clutter and get organized, but all that work is really just a guise for saving the world.
Over the last hundred years or so, things have fallen apart, and we’ve forgotten that what we do makes a difference. We’re in the midst of a clutter crisis. We’re literally drowning in cheap, toxic junk – and it’s killing us. Self-serving corporate interests have claimed everything and everyone as a means to profit, at any cost. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all at once, we are remembering that we are strongest when we work together. And there is a revolution stirring.
I think our stuff is the key to saving the world. Because we are so tied to our things through globalized economies, how we choose to engage in the material world has huge implications on everything else, including the health of our planet and the sustainability of our species. When we mindlessly consume junk, we support industries that do harm. When we buy what I call the toxic, the cheap, and the too much, we inadvertently support those who don’t mind putting corporate interests above sustainable life on this planet. My daughter is six years old, and that future is simply unacceptable.
When I’m working with clients, it’s my job to inspire families to connect the dots between their clutter and the impact that stuff has on a global scale. Sometimes it’s difficult to see. Behind closed doors, it’s easy to feel isolated – and we forget the impact we have on the world. Part of my work is helping people to move their clutter along to those in the community who need basic household goods – just to get by. When I remind my clients about local families – single mommies, working two and three jobs, struggling to make ends meet, trying so hard to be good parents and contributing members of the community – something changes and suddenly, there’s a shift that elevates our collective purpose. They can’t give me their stuff fast enough. Suddenly, they’re driven by a singular motivation: “How can I help?”
Jane Goodall says, “You cannot get through a single day without making a difference in the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” When we bring a new level of consciousness to our consumerism, and we ask ourselves what we really need – it changes the impact we have on the world. It reminds us what matters most, and it’s easier to simplify and re-focus on that.
Every day is an opportunity to need less and love more. When we thoughtfully consider what we really need, where that stuff comes from, what toxic chemicals went into the manufacturing of those things, what slave wage conditions some teenager in Malaysia had to endure for us to get bigger discounts at big box supermarkets – we have a daily opportunity to contribute to the global solution.
When we support local second-hand economies, we contribute a viable inventory to small business owners and help make valuable items inexpensively available to those who can’t afford to pay full retail. Thrift stores, food pantries, faith-based charities, local agencies, and organizations are eager to share your excess stuff with those struggling to survive the day – for both local families in your community and those far away you will likely never know.
We can simplify our stuff, get organized and save the world when we bring a little more intention to how we engage with the stuff in our lives. What we do makes a difference, and what we do today has the potential to create lasting positive change, for all of us. Need less. Love More. That’s the ClutterFree Revolution.
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Evan Michael Zislis is a professional organizer, social entrepreneur, and author of the Amazon bestseller, ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World. Based out of Aspen, Colorado, his professional practice is focused in five areas: organization, operational solutions, time and task management, content creation, and professional networking. The philanthropic division of Evan’s company donates organizational consulting services to public school teachers across the country for free. Evan works with households and businesses locally, nationally, and abroad. Learn more at ClutterFreeRevolution.com.