|Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile|
Part mindset, part mantra and part strategy, "make it better" became the way I looked at piles, the phrase I repeated to myself as I walked past clutter and the steps I took to make progress when I simply didn't have the energy to take anything more than baby steps.
The mindset: Overwhelmed by burgeoning clutter, yet lacking the energy to really "dig in," I adopted the mindset that simply making it better was a good starting point. This absolved me from any guilt and set me up to win every time I took even a baby step. Accepting this as a mindset (admittedly, I had little choice) influenced my outlook, too. Instead of seeing every pile as one more thing to do, I saw it as something I could improve upon, even if only a little at at time.
The mantra: How many times have you walked past a pile and inwardly groaned "that's still there?" "Make it better" gave me an answer to that. That's still there? Yep. Make it better. Since picking up just one thing made it better, I found myself groaning less and de-cluttering more.
The strategy: Small successes inspire big successes. Every time I walked past clutter, the only thing I had to do was make it better. Since every item picked up and put away accomplished this, it was easy to feel successful, one item at a time. Watching piles get smaller inspired me, once I was feeling better, to dig into the clutter that predated my illness.
It took getting sick to remind me of a basic idea: setting small, reachable goals is the key to success, whether in organizing or in life. Because I couldn't manage big, impressive goals, I had to stick to a simple one, and, with time, it proved its value as philosophy, mindset, mantra and strategy.
And I have the clear surfaces to prove it.