Do you feel the Pull?
I don’t know if it’s some pull of the moon or what, but every January I seem to feel a strong pull to Organize My Stuff. (Usually, my pull is to Get Stuff Done.) And, yes, in my mind these things are in capital letters! Do you feel the same urge in January?
I’m generally a pretty organized person. My house is in order…at least the parts you can see, I have systems in place for doing the things that need doing, and I can usually find things quickly. But we all have areas that need improvement. For me, it is the basement.
We moved two years ago and downsized the house (some) and the yard (a lot)! Fortunately, or unfortunately, we still have a full basement that is unfinished and very prone to the “well, I might need that someday and there’s room for it” syndrome. Of course, I blame most of it on my husband who puts things in opaque boxes and rarely labels them.
But here’s what I know that maybe some of you have not had to see in a long time:
- As we get older, we are less likely to deal with getting rid of our Stuff
- Our Stuff becomes a source of anxiety and dread for our offspring or executor
- Our Stuff is not as valuable as we think it is, despite the Antique Roadshow influence
- It might have belonged to your Grandmother but she might not have valued it much
- Our kids don’t want our Stuff…just ask them! (and don’t kid yourself that maybe they don’t want it now, but will later. No. They won’t.)
Paper (and digital documents) can be the bane of your existence. It can overtake your living spaces and your filing cabinets. It is like a lava flow that keeps arriving and has nowhere to go. With paper, the key is to get on top of it (usually with a concerted, brute-force effort) and then stay ahead of it by:
- Determining Keep, Shred, or Recycle before you ever lay it down
- Having a small place to put things you need to act on, so you are forced to Get Stuff Done
- Filing ONLY what has to be saved for tax or legal purposes
Ask yourself: when was the last time I went to a filing cabinet to look for ‘something I saved’? For me, that is almost never because I can find any information I need online and my mind is geared to do that. This is not the case for many people. But I still doubt that you look up very many pieces of information that you have filed away for later, even if it is organized. Keeping too much information can be another form of hoarding, which is a fear-based mentality.
If you have trouble letting go of Stuff, including paperwork, you may to treat the emotions behind the inactivity before you can tackle the job.
Five tips for getting started:
- Prioritize. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Determine the first small area to work on and get that done before moving on.
- Build time into your weekly routine to keep the area clear & organized.
- Realize that most things are retrievable (information) or replaceable (Stuff), so you can part with them.
- Develop a system for Keep/Shred/Recycle and use it religiously.
- Unsubscribe from emails, magazines, and junk mail that bog you down
And if you know you can’t get started because it is too over-whelming? Call us. We can help. We have a lot more tips, techniques and expertise to help you achieve the feeling of Wow!
We now have a professional organizer, Lori Harrison, on staff who can help you Tame Your Paper Tiger! Lori is amazing and can tackle the meatiest messes. Don’t feel embarrassed; we’ve seen it all. Clutter causes anxiety and no one asks for more of that!
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