Can One Word Make A Difference?

Can changing one word make a difference in how motivated we are to take action?

In the field of organizing and decluttering we read different words to describe what we need to do to make our lives better. Although all these words have similar meanings each person has their favorites.  Some words are used more in the home setting. Others tend to be used more in the business setting.

Simplifying, Minimalizing, Decluttering, Organizing, Consolidating.

All of the above words are verbs. That means they describe an action. These are words we read and hear when we want to take action to reduce the amount of things that are in our homes and/or businesses.

But do we have to pick only one and stick with it?

The answer to that is “NO”.

Sometimes a change is a good thing. We have to be flexible. The important thing is to use a word that motivates you today to take actions!

So how do we know which word motivates us today?  Check out the definitions below and notice how you feel about each word.


Simplifying:  1.  to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier.

Minimalizing is a form of the word minimalize.  1. an action of making something minimal. Minimalism is the word some bloggers use to describe their way of controlling the clutter. So I’ve given you that definition also.

Minimalism:  1. any style or method, as in literature, dance or music, that is spare, simple, and often repetitious and impersonal in tone.

Decluttering: 1. to remove mess or clutter from a place.  2. to organize and prioritize (one’s commitments, material possessions, etc.)

Organizing: 1. to arrange into a structured whole; order.

Consolidating:   1.  to bring together (separate parts) into a single or unified whole; unite;combine.  2.  to discard the unused or unwanted items and organize the remaining.


So What’s The Big Deal In A Word?

From personal experience I have found that using certain words can be either motivating, neutral, or depressing. Some words, once I find out their true definition, can make a difference when I use them to help motivate me to take actions I want to take.

For example, many people in the organizing field/blogs have been using the word “minimalism” to describe what they have done and what they are teaching to others. For whatever reason the word minimalism instills the feeling of doing without or deprivation for me.  I think it’s the part of  the definition, “often repetitious and impersonal in tone” that gets to me. It conflicts with my creative side.

Obviously, that is not the best choice of words to motivate me to action.  Although I do read some bloggers that stress this way of living, I tend to stay away from the more extreme ones. You may find they are just what you need to help motivate you into action!

If you’ve been following me for awhile you know I use the words “decluttering” and “simplifying” the most often in my writing. Over the years they have help motivate my brain to tell my body to take action.

But lately I’ve found that these words don’t seem to help as much as they once did. I believe part of the problem is that our brain gets so use to a word that it stops noticing what action the word is telling it to do. For example when you use the word “decluttering” so much after awhile you brain forgets to tell you to “get up and remove some of the clutter”.

I think it’s a lot like when you have a pile of clutter (papers, books, toys, etc.) pushed off into a corner. You know you should clean it up but you never seem to get to it. After awhile you don’t even notice the pile.  But if company is coming over all of the sudden that pile is staring at you like a burning fire. That’s because your brain is in a different frame of mind. It sees the pile of clutter from the perspective of your company, not your impersonal frame of mind.

Which brings me back to why words can be a big deal. If a word you’ve been using for awhile just isn’t doing it for you anymore then it’s time to find another word. It’s not sacrilege or a crime to do so. They are just words after all.


Using A Different Word

Lately I’ve been using the word “consolidating” to help motivate me to take action.  As I look around my home I ask myself, how can I consolidate all these papers on my desk? Or what can I do to consolidate all the photos, both printed and digital so I can find the ones I’m looking for?

The definition of consolidating is telling me to take the action of “bringing it all together”. It’s makes my mind think about how I can bring all these piles of papers together into a unified whole. In other words, how can I declutter and organize them to make it easier to file and then find any I may need in the future?

Basically making it less complicated and easier to keep the paper clutter under control. Wow! That is the definition of simplifying. So really when you look at it that way consolidating leads to simplifying.

It doesn’t matter which word you use to help motivate you to take action. The important thing is to find one that does.  If you keep using the same word over and over again it may become repetitious and impersonal.  A new word may be just what your brain needs to get it out of the same old way of thinking.

To a lighter load along the way.


P.S. If you’re on Facebook you are welcome to join the two groups we have. They’re both a great place to get support, encouragement, and answers to your questions.

Clutter – Use It or Lose It is for any kind of clutter.

Controlling Paper Clutter Support Group is specifically for paper clutter.





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