Monday, February 01, 2010

You Can’t Organize Mud

The homeowner showed the professional organizer around the house, pointing out the spots of clutter that she wanted to organize. She wasn’t exactly sure why these things bothered her and she wasn’t sure what she needed to do to make her space comfortable for her and her family. She was just overwhelmed with disorder and wanted it fixed. She was ready to get going---NOW.

So let’s get going, right? I don’t think so. I think it is time to take a minute and get a little clarity. I say, “You can’t organize mud.” And that is what we have here-a clouded, amorphous, muddy notion that things could be better if we just DO SOMETHING.

It is possible to get things picked up and put away and have a clear space for a little while. That is called cleaning. But if the goal is to organize space so it makes a real impact on keeping clutter down, then it takes some thought and planning.

The first step is clarity. Clarity about how you want to use the space and clarity about your own habits and lifestyle that impact your long-term success in using a system of organization. It is done by asking your self a few questions and answering them honestly. It doesn’t take a long time, but it makes a big difference in a successful outcome.

How do I want to use this space? Is it just for me or are others going to use it? What activities are going to happen here? How often will the space be used and which activities are repetitive and which are occasional?

How do I want this space to look? Do I want it to be beautiful or just functional?

How much money do I have to spend on achieving this goal?

How much time do I have to devote to getting the space organized and then keeping it that way?

After you have thoughtful, honest answers to these questions, you can get focused on executing a plan to meet your goal. You can better use what you have on hand and buy only what you need. You can devise a system that gets you organized and keeps you organized for the long term.

Beverly & Kristen

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