Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The First Step to Getting Organized

I'm in my happy place this week...even if it rained this morning!
Despite my best intentions, clutter often takes over. As a writer and instructor, I'm especially prone to paper clutter, which piles up in everything from accumulated business cards to unconsolidated to-do lists to books and magazines I want to read.  

The accumulated business cards are easy -- they have a home. Once I get past the temporary lapse in my drop and run organizational style, they are clutter no more. Unconsolidated to-do lists, too, are pretty easy to manage. It's just a matter of finding the time to sort and update, or, better yet, setting aside time to do this on a regular basis and storing my lists in the right desktop "container" until I reach that previously scheduled time. 

The reading material? That's another story. One thing that helps me to make a dent in the pile is to take some of it along with me when I travel. I'm particularly fond of stashing magazines in my travel bag, because I can usually find time to read an entire issue (or more than one, depending on the length of my trip and the amount of down time I have) while I'm away. I clip any articles of interest, then recycle the rest of the magazine, ensuring that once it's out of my house, it stays out. And, as a bonus, I travel home just a bit lighter, and, perhaps even a bit smarter as well.

I grabbed one of those magazines on the way out the door on Monday, as we left for the beach. As it turned out, not only did this last minute addition to my tote bag include an article on clutter, but it was also on an aspect of organization I rarely discuss.

For most of us, clutter is merely an annoyance -- something to be sorted, tamed and put away. Sure, we have obstacles -- not enough time, not enough space, a system that hasn't quite come together yet -- but for most of us, it's simply a matter of persisting until we find the solutions that work for us.

For some of us, however, deeper issues are at work. Someone suffering from depression will have trouble with clutter for reasons that are entirely different than not enough time, not enough space and a system that hasn't quite come together. Those who hoard also face deeper challenges than merely finding style-based solutions that work for them. 

In both of these situations, there are emotional factors at work that make the chore of clutter reduction not merely difficult, but truly insurmountable. This article does a great job of exploring them.

All of us are likely to find that our emotional states impact our organizational successes -- or the lack thereof. We may know that baby steps, building on successes and viewing organization as a process are important aspects of getting organized, but sometimes, that's not enough. Until we take care of ourselves, taking care of our things can feel insurmountable. Caring for ourselves is truly the first step in getting organized.

I'm on vacation this week, so I've got the taking care of myself stuff conquered, at least for the moment. What are you doing today to take care of you?


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