|Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile|
Take my pile-up on the step for example. That is not a procedure I'd recommend. If we need to employ time as part of the process, we need to use a few strategies when we set aside our "maybes" to ensure that time is a tool and not simply an excuse.
- Store it intentionally. Whether you box it up and stash it out of sight or leave it where it lives until you make a decision, put your collection of maybes somewhere on purpose and mark it accordingly. Label the box, tag the clothing or use some other method to remind yourself that the item is in limbo. Otherwise, you've made the decision to keep it -- at least until the next time you get to that pile or location.
- Set a deadline. If you box up your maybes and store them out of sight, make sure to mark them with an expiration date. Write it on the box in permanent marker or on a sticky note in pencil -- either way, determine at which point it moves from "maybe" to "keep" or "find a new home for." Or, consider the change of season your decision point. Unless you're a snowbird or going on a tropical vacation, there's no better time to get rid of those clothes you didn't wear all summer than at the beginning of fall.
- Decide whether to view or not to view. I'm a big fan of not viewing things a second time. If they're a maybe when I put them in the box and I haven't opened the box by the time the deadline rolls around, opening the box again is only an invitation to a new dilemma. It's important to make this decision when you put things in the box, however. You need to know you've made a promise to yourself that the box leaves your house with its contents uninvestigated before you put things in the box, especially if your personal style is I love stuff. If you know you shouldn't look, but think you won't be able to help yourself, make a list of the contents and tape it to the outside of the box. Reading a list of contents is much less emotionally evocative than going through the items one last time.
When used strategically, time can be a valuable part of our organizational process. Employed as a thinking tool instead of an excuse to hang on to things past their prime, time allows us to thoughtfully separate trash from treasure. Then, when we are finished, we are left with the things we use and enjoy enough to care for and store appropriately.