Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Start Somewhere
Life has been hectic lately, and the clutter control at my house has taken a beating.

Who am I kidding? It's gone out the window. Almost entirely. Too busy most of the day to set aside the necessary time to tackle it and too tired at the end of the day to even attempt to make any headway, I've become increasingly frustrated by an I need to see it style run amok and made worse by its drop and run companion.

Baby steps have kept things from growing completely out of control -- don't put it down, put it away! is particularly valuable in stopping the clutter from inviting friends to join the pile -- but, truth be told, this does not look like the house of someone who writes about organization.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I teach just one morning class, and, though I'm rarely home before noon, I have more time available in my day to tackle non-instructional things than I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Today, I arrived home with the usual list scrolling through my head, but, for some reason, I felt the need to set it aside and make some headway. Maybe it was the fact that my daughter was here, providing me with an enjoyable interruption between work and more of the same. Maybe it was the fact that uncluttered surfaces are becoming an endangered species at my house. Or, maybe it was the fact that the day was still young, and my motivation was still high.

For whatever reason, I did what I often do when I want to make a dent. After my daughter left, I set aside the twenty minutes remaining until the half hour to improve the situation -- sort of like four back-to-back Give it Five! sessions.

And then I went to work. Plucking things off surfaces and putting them where they belonged. Picking up the "how long has that been there?" items I wouldn't miss and throwing them away. Making decisions about homeless items and taking action. There was no real rhyme or reason to my rampage. Anything in my way was fair game, and the main idea was to keep moving and get as much done as I could in twenty minutes.
And you know what? It was very fulfilling. It didn't take long to turn messy spaces into empty spaces, and, with clear space as my reward, I was motivated to keep going. While I needed to stop after twenty minutes to tackle my list of non-organizational tasks, getting started was enough to ensure that no trip for the rest of the afternoon would be done empty-handed. Getting up for a drink? Pick up that wayward item and put it away. Taking a break from the blog or grading? Grab those papers and recycle, file or shred them. Now.

There's nothing like a little success to motivate us to keep going.

Or to inspire a blog post.

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