Ok, you want to simplify. Life is out of control. You are tired of trying to figure out where to put things ? Do you find yourself buying something that you know you already have (somewhere), just because you can’t find it? Are your collections out of control?
Do you want off this roller coaster? Here are the baby steps that can help you begin.
Pick An Area – ANY Area!
If you can pick one area of your life to lasso, just one little corner to gain a foothold, you will have the strength to take the next step.
Only YOU know what one thing makes you crazy every day. Yes, there may be dozens of things, but pick just one. It may be that the kitchen or dining room table has become a “dumping” ground for whatever is in your arms when you come through the door, because it is (or once was) a clear surface. It may be the nightmare of figuring out what to fix for dinner every night.
Maybe you are tired of searching the desktop and attached drawers to find what you need to work efficiently. Maybe getting dressed in the morning has become a chore because, although there is a closet full of clothes, there is absolutely nothing in there that looks, fits, or feels right anymore. Maybe your daily frustration is simply trying to find your keys — which always seem to be somewhere that you are NOT.
Make a rule that NOTHING goes on the dining room table other than the plates at mealtime. Create a simple two-week menu. Clean off/clean out your desk. Organize your closet. Hang a hook by the door for your keys, or buy a keyring that will clip them to your briefcase or bag – or whatever you ALWAYS take with you. Quit throwing them in the bottom of the bag, on the table, or sticking them in your pocket.
If things have one place to be, and you never put them anywhere else, you can always locate them. Train yourself.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking on some specific RightSizing projects in more detail, but for now… we need babysteps. It only takes ONE to start making you feel a little better.
Make a List (Just Do It!)
If you are reading this blog, you probably have a mass of things that need to be done — so many that you find it incapacitating. If the myriad of tasks in front of you are daunting… making an exhaustive list may give you some sense of control. Yes, add “make a list” to your tasks — then move it to the TOP of that list and start it now.
Simply writing them down as they occur to you (keep the list with you at all times for a couple days) will help you to release the stress of juggling them all mentally. Once the list is made — or in progress — you can begin tackling the items. Some will be big, some small. There’s no sin in picking small ones to complete first — just to get the ball rolling. Progress is progress and it makes you feel accomplished and more “in control” of life.
My Experience With Baby Steps
After a recent move, (before which, I should have reduced my clutter footprint much more than I did) I finally tired of feeling like I’d never get anything of value done on that mountainous mental list I was carrying around. I gave up the memory acrobatics that an invisible list required and started putting pen to paper. (In my case it was stylus to iPad, but you get the idea).
SEVEN pages later, I had everything I could think of written down. I was appalled at the length and the depth of the list. One line-item, for instance, was to organize all my tools. That was going to require FINDING them all, and making a decision on where they should be stored and replacing any that are MIA from the move. Then I’d need to create an intuitive, organized way to store them so I could find them. This ONE item could easily take several days of focused effort. Others were as easy as “Call the Dump and find out their business hours.”
Yes, the list itself was overwhelming, but at least I could LET go of all that stuff floating around in my head, taunting me. It helped.
After the list-making, the most amazing thing happened… I actually got three of the things on my list DONE on that same day. I just did them! The joy of striking those three things off my list was DELICIOUS! And, it made me feel like the day held progress, even though I didn’t get everything done that I’d hoped to do that day. Three digital lines across that iPad made me feel in control and productive for the first time in weeks.
I’ve always been a list maker. Often I have found that I get so involved in making lists that I don’t get much past that. In the past, I’ve made too many lists. I’ve been too specific on the creation and too lax in the execution.
Not anymore. If one of the items is a weekend project, it may still be a one-liner. Once the time comes to tackle that, I may break it down into bite-size parts on another list, but more likely, I’ll put the list down and start the work.
The next step is to use the list to minimize the amount of “stuff” I have to maintain and manage!
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