My resolution for 2012 is to simplify and complete things. This means not learning to play an instrument, or learn a language or perform an exercise at the expense of other things I commit to. It also means a lot of things need to go.
Part 1, talked about resolutions. Lets talk about picking one and making space for it to breath.
While it may be true that your home is where your heart is, that doesn’t prohibit other things from being there too. Like extra clothes, travel shampoos, unread and unsorted mail, almost finished bags of chips and, well, you get the point. Clutter plays a huge roll in our inablity to get things done. That 1/8th of a bag of chips doesn’t sound menacing, but consider what it is doing. It isn’t being eaten. It is taking up space. It’s an obstacle to look past when you are looking for something. It’s preventing you from being able to recall if need to buy more. Those chips are doing a lot, and those tiny thoughts are not peaceful questions but rather microstresses. Not really a big deal unless you have more than a bag of chips in the pantry. Or more than one bottle of shampoo. Or only get the mail on Sundays. Microstresses add up. They don’t stop you in your tracks, but rather they slow you down. Worst of all they add up fast. So lets break things into three piles: Keep, Toss, Do.
Keep: These are things you need. You won’t toss your cell phone or charger. You will want to keep the wedding album.
Toss: Those chips and shampoo bottles. Things that you forgot you had, have a few of, or don’t remember what it is from. If it’s broken. Finally, the diamond rule, if you haven’t used it in 12 months. It’s worth mentioning that toss doesn’t always mean trash, it means you get rid of it. You can donate it, give it to a friend or recycle it. Just don’t keep it.
Do: Do is your catch all. You don’t use it, or forgot about it. It has sentimental meaning but not for any life changing reason. It’s half finished.
Keep and Toss are easy once you sorted the piles. It is the Do pile that requires work. Here we are looking at items that have an adventure set ahead. Organize everything into boxes based on a task. If you have movie stubs and pictures perhaps you want to make a scrap book. Make a box. If you want to learn to fly a kite, make a box. The trick is, and this is important, the box isn’t a metaphor. Box it up, tape it, date and label it. Get them out of your face. Remember that out of sight is out of mind. We are all half good at this because we all saved everything for months. Now it needs to truly hide. Pick the most important box and keep it out. When you have time, work on it. If you finish the activity go choose another box. One box. Finish it.
If at any time something comes up that takes precedence over the box, and with life this is very feasible, box it up and put it away. One thing gets your spare time, and that is all. When your done with the new task, bring back the old one.
But what about…
If you run out of space to store the boxes? It is time to toss things.
If you keep it for a year? It’s time to get rid of it.
If you had to put it away for a while? Date it when you put it away. One year or no space? It’s time to get rid of it.