One of the biggest organization challenges is dealing with all the stuff. It comes from everywhere. The next component of our Flexible Structure Method™ is to Manage Outside Clutter. The first way to do this is think about each item you bring into your home or office. There are several categories of outside clutter:
Homeless Items: items that enter your space and don't have a home. Stuff that frequently falls into this category include the mail, purchased items and gifts or free articles you received
Limitations of skill set or space: maybe you never learned basic organizing principles or maybe your space isn't maximized.
Influences from society, culture, situations and people: stuff family members bring home from work/school/elsewhere or constantly using shopping as a social activity
The trick is to pause and think about each item you bring into your space. At work, you attend meetings daily at which they pass out a paper agenda, the minutes of the last meeting, some action items, a 56-page presentation, etc. Decide to Manage Outside Clutter: Find out who keeps the meeting minutes and agendas. If you need to refer to them, you can later ask that person for the information. With other items, can you keep those electronically? Will the person who presented the 56-page document keep a copy that you can refer to later if needed?
At home, Managing Outside Clutter is requires considering your habits and choices, as discussed in previous months. What are you buying at the store each time you go? What are you buying online? Help ease the burden of mail by deleting yourself from mailing lists. There are many ways to manage external clutter. Feel free to learn more by watching the video below. Or, email or call us to get help with this important component.
Now, on to this month's specific tips. This month, let's work on bedrooms.
As usual, begin in one corner and work clockwise or counterclockwise. Start with an area that's bothering you, such as your dresser or bedside table area. Sort through each item and ask yourself - does it belong in the bedroom? The bedroom is mainly used for sleeping and dressing. How are you enabling these functions while creating a space that makes you feel comfortable? Sort through the items that belong, making a pile near the door of items that belong elsewhere in your home.
Manage external clutter by limiting the items you bring into the bedroom. Maybe the mail or your briefcase ended up in there. Maybe your child's toys are on the floor. Turn the bedroom into a "no outside item zone." Think of it as your own personal space. What do you want there?
Think about some of the big things, such as the placement of your bed and dresser. Is your dresser very far from your closet, making getting dressed a trick each morning? Why not move it? Think about some of the "little" things, such as your window shades and alarm clock. If you struggle to get up every day consider a new alarm clock or shades that let in more natural light.
Consider some tools such as jewelry boxes and drawer dividers for keeping necklaces from tangling and socks from mixing with underwear. Under-bed bins are great for keeping off-season clothes and other items dust free. Be sure to label the bins so you know what's in there.
When it comes to children's bedrooms, be sure to involve them in the process so they will learn. Talk to them about creating departments for their items. Help them set boundaries for the number of toys and school papers they keep.
Bonus tip: Remember, setting up the system is just one aspect of getting organized. The tricky part for many is maintenance, which is the daily habits and choices. The good news is, once a system is set up, it's very easy to set things right again.