I’ve seen someone eat a banana, and afterward, with a satisfied sigh of relief, say “That hit the spot.”
What type of genetically altered stomach did they inherit that a certain spot can be satisfied by a banana? I could eat bananas from now until mankind inhabits Mars and starts growing their own bananas before my appetite is even remotely curved by a banana. Now, if I take a trip down the street to the local Mexican restaurant and eat a basket of chips, salsa, and white sauce, I could easily say I’m satisfied. These are two very different examples but they both show 2 different people expressing that something, whether perceived as a little or a lot, was enough to satisfy them. It wasn’t too much, or too little. It was enough.
My question is, and it’s a tongue twister:
WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH, AND WHEN DOES ENOUGH, BECOME, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?
Enough, in itself, is quite the interesting word. Webster’s defines it as:
“occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations”.
In other words, it can express both a physical and emotional quality that has reached a perceived conclusion, as well as being a proclamation that’s either approving or disapproving of an action that is taking place.
That’s a boring sentence. Let’s use what I learned from the Muppet Babies in the 80’s and harness the power of imagination to grasp this point.
The scene begins in a second story open office. There are cubicles as far as the eye can see, filled with hard-working men and women staring at computer monitors and talking on phones about spreadsheets and approval ratings. Brenda, the new office intern, makes her way to Steve’s cubicle carrying a pack of paper. She knocks gently on the open wall as she arrives.
“Is this enough paper, Steve?” she asks, hesitantly.
Steve looks up from his double monitors, swivels around in his chair, and studies the fresh, unopened pack of ANSI A approved paper. He smiles and flashes her a thumbs up followed by a confident reply of, “That’s enough.”
Brenda breathes a sigh of relief as she hands over the paper. “Let’s just hope the printer is finally working like it should,” she says as she leaves to get Gary in the cubicle next door a cup of fresh coffee. Steve's right eye begins to twitch as he glances at the printer sitting on the corner of his desk. No more than 10 seconds later, what sounds like an iPhone in a blender is heard by all. Everyone jumps in shock, but even more so when Steve begins to violently punch his printer while shouting, “THAT’S ENOUGH!!!” It seems his printer has jammed again for the 37th time this week and he has finally reached his tipping point. He picks it up and tosses it into the cubicle next to him, barely missing Gary. He jumps on his desk like some predator out for blood but is quickly subdued by Gary who tackles him to the floor before anything else can happen.
To summarize the situation, Steve had enough paper to print what he needed, but he had had enough of the printer jamming to cause him to go stark raving mad and lose his job.
Beautiful. What’s my point?
My point is that the definition of enough, like almost everything else in this world, is based on perspective and situation. While it fully encompasses the act of stopping something because expectations are met, those expectations are based on either volume capacity, human perspectives, desires, and emotions, or both. What may cause you to say, “ENOUGH!!!” to an annoying problem, may be a shoulder shrug to someone else. This goes for every single thing that fills a space and holds an emotion.
This most definitely applies to clutter.
You see, some people keep within their homes only the bare minimum because they easily become stressed by too much stuff surrounding them. Their “enough” looks a lot like what many call, Minimalism. This group does not need the help of a professional decluttering business like mine because they do not have clutter. Other people are stressed if you try to remove the things that bring them comfort. This can lead to hoarding, but it often does not reach the limit that most of us have come to expect from a hoarding situation. There’s usually 2 forms of this 2nd type and they are both personal to me because of my grandparents.
My one set of grandparents had a house that was covered in so many country crafts that it looked like a Cracker Barrel. This can be seen as collecting. The other set of grandparents had never thrown away a pill bottle, newspaper, or brown paper bag and it looked like a recycling bin. This can be seen as compulsive. One set was comforted by the familiarity of the things around them, and the other was comforted that they had something available if they needed it for anything. This group, the collectors, and the compulsives do not need help decluttering to reach what most would perceive as a normally accepted amount of items because, again, there is no clutter. At least not to them. See the perspective?
The place where most people go from a content for enough, to declare, “Enough is Enough!” is found by those who are trapped between 2 worlds where they hate the stress brought on by the stuff they love or the actions that happen. While Steve chucking his printer is one form of dealing with this, other, more healthier forms, are available. Building a realistic goal chart in the places you want to improve and sticking with it is one of many. It can be the positive form of saying, “enough is enough,” to the things that are keeping you away from your decluttering goals.
It’s really no different for those who stay up late watching Netflix but want to wake up early and exercise, or those that want to eat healthy, yet shove a bowl of ice cream or cereal in their face every night. These desires are based on our perspective of what we have or do, versus what we want, and the emotions that we believe we will feel if our goals are achieved. What’s worse is that we are usually so emotionally stressed by these opposite desires or the day in general, that we turn to the instant gratification of what we normally do instead of staying focused on our goals that will fulfill our delayed gratification.
It’s safe to say that many of us are so exhausted come bedtime that we, in a way, trick ourselves into building in a reward system that stalls our true desires. One example may be that we throw our clothes on a chair or in the floor and lay in bed watching Heartland till we fall asleep instead of taking 5 minutes to put them away where they go. The problem comes when we wake up and feel like a failure when we see them lying there. You work so hard throughout the day, doing so many things, and instead of starting the next day proud of all your accomplishments, you start off the day feeling less about yourself. It’s 5 minutes towards starting right. Heartland can wait.
Starting the day right, and ending the day right is, in a sense, the main point of this post. This is usually an impossible task without a routine in place and goals in mind. The routine becomes the, “enough” and the goals become the, “enough is enough.” No one can possibly take the time to fix everything they want to in a single day. I know that with 7 children it would be an act of insanity for me to try. A routine of breakfast, cleanup, homeschool in 20-minute sections, snack, clean up, more homeschool, lunch, clean up, Bible time, quiet time, playing outside, etc. is our daily routine. It isn’t always perfect, but it is what we’ve found works best for us and it is enough.
Our goals, while they can be made as a family, are usually more personal. Practicing to perfect a new move on a bike or pogo stick, take a vacation at Universal Studios, read a chapter in a book, watch a movie or show, finish a painting, etc. are a few of the goals we set for ourselves because they are outside of our normal routine, or trying to be included into our normal routine, but not there yet. Like I mentioned above, hanging your clothes in the closet or folding them and putting them away may be a goal that you are trying to turn into a routine. It’s all about setting a goal that you can realistically do within a time frame so that you can go to bed happy, and wake up feeling accomplished. It’s not about chasing perfection, but about going at your routine and goals with excellence. If you don’t make it today, but gave it your all, you can still have the satisfaction that you tried, and tomorrow is another day.
I will say, that when you reach your, “enough is enough” phase, or even better, start to notice you are about to reach it, is when you would do well to bring into your situation some encouragement and accountability. This can be found in loved ones, friends, or even through hiring a coach that has experience in the area you are working with. I will say that it is a priority to remember that the battle is with our present desires based on our past experience, and our future desires that we believe hold a key to happiness or being less stressed. Others can’t create our future but can hear where we are going, or want to go and speak into our lives from their own experiences.
Till next time, and as always, sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, is greatly appreciated. I hope you were able to take something away, and I know that there are more that would enjoy this article, as well. It is my heart's desire to see you living a life that's not only clutter-free, but filled with family, friends, and fun. If you find that your belongings are beginning to bring you more stress than joy, and you live in the Richmond, Virginia, and Tri-Cities area, then I would be honored to come to you for a free consultation. You can find out more at declutterplanning.com or check us out at Facebook or Pinterest.