5 “D’s” to Get it Done
The first few weeks of the year seem to go by in a blur. In honor of National Get Organized Month, Here are 5 ways you can get moving and clear the cobwebs. I recommend you give yourself a limited time (using the timer mentioned in an earlier post) so you don’t waste an entire day on trivia. Do 45 minutes to an hour a day for the next couple of weeks:
- De-Clutter: Do a sweep of the house or office. Start at one end with either a box or basket in your hand. Everything that doesn’t belong goes in the basket as you move from the corner and walk through the whole space. When you walk past the ‘home’ of an item in the basket, put the item away. Do a quick straightening up as you go. Don’t be a perfectionist and get all caught up in details. Just get it done.
At the end of your sweep, you will wind up with a stack of papers or things. Now do one of the following …
- Delete: As in Dump it. Destroy it (Shred if sensitive paperwork); put it in a large trash bag and decide you don’t need this 1988 clothing catalog anymore. Not unless you are a collector of memorabilia. Really, if you can’t part with it in the dumpster, see the Donate paragraph below. This goes for files on your computer (more on this tomorrow) that are cluttering up your hard drive, too. If you must, put them on an archive disk, but delete them from your active work space.
you can also …
- Delegate: In this economy, there are a lot of people who are willing to come to your home or office and help you get things done. Whether it’s cleaning, filing, organizing, hauling, or delivering, ask your network if they know of a trusted person you can bring in for a short time. A new set of eyes helps tremendously. They see what you don’t see, and they don’t have emotional attachments to your audio tape collection. Find them and use them. Professional Organizers are wonderful for creating systems and training you to stay OUT of messes like the one you are in.
- Donate: The best way to feel good about de-cluttering is to give your cast-offs to a good cause. What group makes you feel good when you support them? Grade Schools can use your old magazines, intermediate and High Schools might want your books. Abused Spouse shelters can use everything – they often leave home with their kids and just the clothes on their backs. Big Brothers & Big Sisters is a wonderful organization. Goodwill and Salvation Army often will come and pick up. Call your favorite charity and lighten your load.
- De-value: It’s a new year. Take a long hard look at that stack of things you have accumulated — if your house caught on fire, would you mourn their loss? Would you risk your life to save them and haul them out of the house? If not, are you giving them too much weight? As soon as I started thinking about my “stuff” that way, it was easier to get rid of them. It’s time to stop saying “I might need them some day” and “They might have value some day.” No and No. Even when shoulder pads come back into fashion, they will look different. Say good bye.
“He who travels lightest travels fastest.”
Someone once observed, “He who travels lightest travels fastest.” That is one of the best philosophies for simplifying your life I’ve heard in a long time. As I work on this de-clutter project I notice one very telling sign: I am more relaxed, less distracted, more able to get to the job at hand. Without the clutter messing with my mind, it is easier to make decisions and get to the work I care about the most.
Tomorrow, I’ll tackle that desktop of yours that has been growing for – what – DECADES? Time to take a swipe at it and clean out your Digital Clutter.
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