Spring can be overwhelming. I’m still trying to make up for that lost hour of sleep. And I don’t know whether to begin purging the clutter from my garage, closet, or attic – so instead I watch reruns from The Office.
I was determined to discover a way to make spring cleaning and getting organized more user-friendly. After an extensive search, I found two great propositions in two excellent books. The first is Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, the second is from Essentialism by Greg McKeown
#1 – A Fast-Paced Time Management System
Chip and Dan Heath address the feeling of dread when we want to undertake any project that will require extensive time and energy. The majority of us envision how the effort will result in a “perfect” house, garage, closet, etc. The work involved to achieve that state of perfection is overwhelming – so we don’t even start. Makes sense. Here is their advice:
“Get a kitchen timer and set it for 5 minutes. Then go to the worst room in your house – the one you’d never let a guest see – and, as the timer ticks down, start clearing a path, and when the timer buzzes, you can stop with a clear conscience. Doesn’t sound as bad, does it?” (Switch pg. 130)
One of two things can then occur:
*You have a sense of accomplishment, and can continue using the timer technique in the days to come until the project is complete.
*More than likely – the blood is flowing, your energy is vibrant, and you feed off of the progress you’re making – and you keep on going until significant progress or closure is made in your endeavor.
#2 – Uncluttering the Clutter
Let’s face it, we’re all holding on to stuff we need to get rid of. I need to face the reality that I’m not going to drop down 4 pant sizes and be able to fit into my Dockers that I wore in college. The Miami Vice white jacket from the 80’s probably won’t be coming back in style any time soon (plus the matching pants). And finally, the Little Caesars employee shirt with my name embroidered on it – I’m probably safe getting rid of it, and opening up that slot up to another article of clothing.
Again – an overwhelming task when we mentally think of taking it on. So where do we start?
I’m going to paraphrase from Essentialism (by the way, one of the best books I’ve ever read on prioritizing your life) regarding the steps to take to clean out an area. I’ll use Greg McKeown’s example of truly purging a closet:
- Create 3 piles – Keep, Give Away, Throw Away
- Physically handle each item and realistically evaluate will you ever wear it again? Use the two-year rule: “Have I worn this within the last two years?”
- If you’re struggling with keeping it or not, ask the question: “How much money would I spend on this item right now?”
- When finished, take immediate action with your piles.
I hope this helps. Like everything else in life – the challenge is getting started, and persevering until the end 🙂