Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Troubleshooting for Easy Upkeep

Photo credit: Seemann via Morguefile
Did you get a chance to look at Putting it All Together? Check it out by clicking on its title in the previous sentence, or on the new "Charts" tab at the top of this page.

Why am I sending you to a chart? Because it's your road map. If you're honoring these styles, systems and choices, your organizational systems are probably working.

Want proof? Look at a system in your home that's working. Chances are it's simple, attractive and individualized to fit your needs and styles. It's no surprise that these systems are the easiest to maintain.

But sometimes systems break down. Three of the most common reasons for this are:
  • Choosing the wrong container. It's easy to choose a container because it's pretty, the right color or the right price, and sometimes we can even make those containers work. But if a container is too small to be useful, too large for the space, or not a match for your styles, it can be the first domino in the demise of your organizational system. If you really love it, maybe you can find another organizational task for it to fulfill, but if not, let it go and replace it with something that makes your life easier.
  • Choosing the wrong home. I know I put it somewhere organizers often fall prey to this one. Any empty space won't due; choosing an illogical or inconvenient home wastes time and energy, and can also cause an organizational system to come crashing down. Similar items should be stored together, close to the place where you most often use them. And if you use something often, it should be easy to access.
  • Making the system too complicated. Have you ever set up a filing system where your categories have so many subcategories that you can't figure out where to put a simple piece of paper? In the interest of making a system thorough, we sometimes overcomplicate things. When in doubt, default to the smallest number of steps possible. Every style benefits from simplicity because simplicity is easier to maintain.
Alone, none of these is difficult to fix, but they can compound one another. While that can be overwhelming at first, the good news is that one small change can also have a positive domino effect. Choosing the right container or home or simplifying the system can reinvigorate everything.

Never underestimate the power of one small change. Keep it simple and style-specific.

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