If you won the lottery, or made enough to retire tomorrow, what’s the first thing you would do?

Some common answers include, buy a flashy car, or buy a giant mansion. Personally, I wouldn’t do the first because I’m a terrible driver with no appreciation for cars, and I wouldn’t do the second because I don’t think it would make me that much happier, and then I would have to buy more things to fill it up.

If freed from time constraints, I’m certain that the first thing I would do is clean my garage. Then I would purge all of my belongings of things I no longer really want or need, and then organize what’s left to the best of my ability. My intuition says, that the less junky possessions I own, the easier it will be for me to organize them, and the happier I will be. I have even gotten to the point where discarding and donating items make me feel as good or better than acquiring them. Of course, I sometimes still buy and appreciate pretty things, but generally speaking, the less unused excess I have, the better I feel. I’m not naturally organized, so I compensate by scheduling errands in my calendar and having it send me text messages. If I don’t, I will definitely forget to do them. To keep myself in line, I also made some online invitations complete with automatic summaries and party planning checklists for my kids birthdays. At first, I thought this might be pretty odd, but then I considered the rise of minimalism, organization blogs, The Container Store, and books like the "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."

What is going on?

We live in an age where one-click purchasing and free shipping has made it mind-numbingly easy to accumulate mountains and mountains of inexpensive stuff. We have an endless array of options when it comes to wasting time; it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of distractions. All of these bright and shiny objects make it harder to figure out what we truly want, and then lure us away from taking the steps to achieve it.

Maybe my brain has had enough of processing mental stuff, and therefore wants to reject an excess of physical stuff and organize whatever is left. After purging, cleaning, and organizing all of my stuff, I’m pretty sure I would feel better. I would beam proudly at my labeled, color coded containers and feel virtuous and have clarity of mind. I would spend more time with my children and feel less guilty for being a frazzled, forgetful mom, and then keep working towards my personal goals, without having to grit my teeth and ignore my cluttered surroundings.

A calm, organized environment would contribute to my sense of well being and may even help me make better decisions. Actually, I don’t really know if it's possible to organize your way to happiness, but envisioning it has become a form of wish fulfillment for quite a lot of us.

Image Credit: Present and Correct