August 2008 News
“Organizing is the basis of living a richer life. It’s about striking a balance between the things you need, the space you have and the life you want to live.” Peter Walsh of TLC’s Clean Sweep
Organizerism for June: The key to organized living is simplicity and minimalization.
Too much stuff! Whether we are dealing with things, paper, space, time or even mental or emotional energy, this is where the organizational process breaks down. Consider the cost of this American syndrome:
- Physically, fatigue! Stuff requires cleaning, sorting, storing and maintaining.
It creates stress. Even the simplest task seems difficult in a chaotic environment.
The more things we have, the more physical, mental and decision-making energy we must expend. Mother Theresa said that her vow of poverty made her life better than that of most people because it freed her from the tyranny of decisions about things.
- Mentally, stuff, which translates into clutter, is distracting, can hinder concentration, lower creativity and production and make it more difficult to focus.
- Financially, the obvious, debt! We pay late fees, interest and service charges on misplaced bills.
We make unnecessary purchases because we can’t find what we have. We build larger homes and then pay self storage companies to store what our homes will not hold.
The bottom line is this: The more things we have the more complicated our lives will be. If my desire for order and all of its benefits is great enough I will be willing, at this point, to learn to live with less.
So where do we begin?
It would be counterproductive to systemize things we neither want or need! So the first necessary action in conquering disorder is “the sacred art of de-accumulation.”
Review from June:
- Schedule a time. An unscheduled appointment more than likely will not happen. Treat it like any other important appointment or it will easily get “bumped” for almost anything else you would rather do.
- Work with your circadian rhythms. If you are a morning person schedule early in the day; if you are a night owl choose an evening hour. Choose a time when you are most energetic and least physically and emotionally vulnerable.
- When scheduling, always allow more time than you think you need to accomplish the task. We often feel frustrated and defeated because we begin the project but run out of time to finish it.
- Enlist help. This should be an objective person with heart (your spouse is usually not too objective?) who can help you focus, keep you on task, encourage you and help you in the decisions making process. This person can also keep you accountable for the appointment! Sandra Feldon, author of the “Messie Manuals” says, “I alone can do it, but I can’t do it alone.”
- Break the task down into manageable bites. Begin with one drawer, one shelf of a bookcase, one small cupboard or one file drawer. Attempting to conquer a whole closet or file system could overwhelm and discourage and ultimately sabotage the job.
- Begin by looking for the easy, “no decision-making energy required” items such as trash, things that belong elsewhere and things you know you do not need or care about. Also, look for large, easy space consumers such as furniture you do not want or need or non-functioning computer equipment. This is usually about 40% of what occupies prime space.
- Limit expenditure of decision-making energy. Only allow yourself three choices: Keep, Go or I don’t know. We often give ourselves too many options! I either know I want to keep an item or I know I don’t want it, and I also need to give myself permission to decide later. If you can’t decide on any given item in six seconds move on to the next. Don’t self-sabotage the project with exhausting indecision, not to mention spend more time than allowed on the task.
- Talk to yourself. Ask yourself questions about any given item such as-
Why am I keeping this item?
Does this item earn its space and upkeep?
Does this item have beauty, value or function?
Is this item replaceable should I need it someday? How difficult or costly would that be?
What is the worst thing that could happen if I get rid of this item?
Do these items create tension or negatively affect my family?
Does it fit me now? Do I feel good wearing it?
And so on…
Profile of the Organizationally Challenged for August: The Perfectionist
Perfectionists often live in clutter and chaos because there is never enough time to do everything according to their high standards. Perfectionism breeds procrastination.
They often have many unfinished projects because they find themselves unable to complete a one perfectly, so they set it aside and begin another hoping to do it perfectly.
They have trouble determining what really deserves their attention. They tend to put so much time into trivial or minor details they work endless hours and still miss deadlines.
Jenny spent hours laundering a set of sheets in lavender water, hanging out on a clothesline, ironing them to crispness and meticulously folding and tying the set up with a satin ribbon. They were beautiful! But you could hardly walk through her home because of the wall to wall stuff.
Help for the perfectionist:
- Heavily pad the time frame you schedule to complete project because you will frequently estimate less time than your high standards require. Also, establish a personal deadline on any given project and don’t allow yourself to begin another until the first is finished.
- To avoid getting sidetracked in minutia, set a timer at 20 minute intervals to remind you to get back on task.
- Reframe your thinking. Consider: Is the amount of time I am putting into this project worth it in terms of what the final product or payoff is? Time is an irreplaceable commodity. Do I really want to spend it striving to be perfect?
- Modify your standards. Excellence is attainable; perfection is not. Strive for excellence
Parting thought: What must we do before we breathe in? Breathe out of course! With material things we tend to breathe in (bring in) and never breathe out (send out). We are asphyxiating our lives with stuff!
Saturday, September 27 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM
“Applying God’s Order to Your Chaotic World”
Winding Creek Community Church, Stafford VA
Cost: $18 (lunch provided)
All proceeds to support missions
Contact: Ruth Braun RuthABraun@comcast.net or
Brenda Fansler firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 18 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM
“Pure and Simple”
Ferry Farm Baptist Church, Fredericksburg VA
Cost: contact FFBC for information
Contact: Sherry Lust email@example.com
More classes will be offered in the fall. Stay tuned!
Savor the rest of summer! And look for the special holiday edition in October.