January 2008 – Talk is Cheap! Getting Organized Requires Action!

I am sure that you have heard the expression “Talk is cheap”. Have you ever really thought about what that means. Anyone can talk but it’s the action behind the words that’s the most impressive! Write things down. Commit to it on paper. Make it happen. I will clean my office before the end of January. If need be, start smaller by saying I will call an organizer before the end of the week. I will buy some boxes or bins and sort through my belongings. I will call a charity and arrange pick up or I will drop off items by a certain date.

There is no time like the present. The way to make things happen is by planning them and then taking the first step. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” - Confucious It’s taking that first step that is the hardest sometimes.

“I don’t know where to begin”. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard this I would have a lot of nickels! I usually suggest starting in a place that bothers you the most. Start small. Don’t try and do it all in a day or you will be overwhelmed and exhausted. Also frequent shorter sessions work better for some people than infrequent longer sessions. The reason for this is that if you work too long and give away too much, you start feeling like you are giving it all away and your judgment becomes clouded and you start saying keep to everything. You hit a wall.

Once you choose your target, get busy! Just pick up one thing and make a decision. It is either keep, give away (charity or family), recycle or toss. It helps to make clear categories and use signs so when you start going through stuff you don’t have to think too hard.

Do you know why people hang on to things? It was a gift. It’s perfectly good. I may need it someday. I paid good money for it. It may fit me one day. Etc. You get the picture. I say only keep what you like, need and use. Do not keep something because it was a gift and you feel like you have to keep it. The person who gave it to you did not give it so it would become a burden in your life. Be kind and pass it along to someone who can enjoy it. Do not keep broken appliances, electronics, lamps etc. Either have them repaired (again remember to commit to it on paper) or toss them.

Okay so I know what I want to keep but what do I do with these things? Where do I put them? Put things where you will use them. Toiletries can be kept under the sink in the bathroom or around the tub in baskets. Extras can be kept in a linen closet. Dishes that are used everyday should be in arm’s reach. On the other hand, good dishes that are only used on special occasions could be kept higher up in less accessible cupboards.

Once you have a bag of garbage filled, bring it out of the room you are organizing and put it in the garage. Once you have filled up a few bags or boxes of give-a-ways, then put them in your trunk and haul them off to your local charity. If you know of a charity that picks up, then put in your garage and call immediately to arrange a pick up date. Don’t put it off! Mark this date on your calendar. Most charities will give you a friendly reminder call the night before. Put a post-it note on the front door when they call so that when you are ready to leave for work, you can put out the bags and be on your way.

I love the feeling of coming home to an empty porch knowing that my stuff has been hauled away for free and that someone else can benefit from the things I have given away. I know I am recycling and it’s not going in a landfill!