Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beware the Hidden Danger of Being Organized

Once you have internalized organizing principles you have a dangerous power, a power that you ought not use indiscriminately. Keep this in mind. Because you know how to simplify, sort, and store and have learned tricks of the trade, you have learned to keep more than you should.

If there were one dictum we need to learn in order to live in a truly harmonious way in our houses (and offices) it is this,

Live without crowding in the space you have.”

As a newly trained organizing person, you have learned the principles. You have grouped things together.You have learned to containerize. You have labeled. You have made storage lists to refer to. Because things are so well stored, perhaps you do not realize how much you have tucked away. Without realizing fully what you have done, you have turned your house into a hidden warehouse.
That leads to two considerations of problems.

MEMORY   We can only recall so much. If you forget what you have stored away, you buy another one that leads to more clutter. Even if we have room storing a lot, there is only so much we can remember.

CONVENIENCE   If you have a hard time accessing the items because they are so tightly packed, it is easier to buy another one to add to our storage problem.

The answer is to simplify further than you think you have to. Get rid of the extras you “may need sometime.” Discard duplicates. Don’t buy in bulk; let the store warehouse the products for you. You may have kept many “good” items because it seems right to do so. Let me tell you that if it is not good for you at this time, it does not belong in your house.

The following are clues you are probably keeping too much. You have:

Rented storage units
  • Storage sheds in the yard
  • Bed lifters so more can go under the bed
  • Vacuum sealer bags so you can shrink the space items use
  • Too much storage furniture like chests of drawers and bookcases.
Realize that you are more creative and have more ability than most people to see the possibilities of objects. That can cause you to want to keep too much. Pretend you are one of those people who do not struggle with clutter because they keep only what is of value to them in their lives NOW. Act like you think they would. One of the advantages of having another person come to your house to help is that you can learn how organized people think and act.
When you have less jammed into the space that you have, you will have come to the place where you can live organized without struggle. And that’s a wonderful, wonderful place!
Knowing how to organize gives you more power than you ought to use.
Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous
Author: NEW! Organizing Your Day

Monday, November 22, 2010

Restored to Sanity

Some have questioned how step one of Messies Anonymous that states we admitted we are powerless over clutter and our lives have become unmanageable can work. Some have even stated that admitting we are powerless is discouraging and takes the heart out of any hope of getting the house under control.

Whoa, fellow Messie! Let's look at that further.

Stand firmly on that first step. Internalize the fact that, as we are, the clutter that follows our lives consistently lets us know that we indeed have no power over clutter.  Bravely admit that just trying harder and longer has never worked and won't work.

But don't stop on step one. Go to the step that states about being "restored to sanity." We must be willing to give up hope of going our own way and seek sanity, graciously given to us by God.

Once we do that and begin taking personal inventories and dealing appropriately with what we find by abandoning those thoughts, habits, and feelings that have kept us powerless over clutter, then the house will begin to change. Clutter and disorganization will start to melt because we are being restored to sanity.

It doesn't come easy. It doesn't come fast. But it does come to those who concentrate not only on changing the house but themselves. Many have experienced things similar to what Katherine shares:

"I have had to make certain changes in myself for the house to change. Now that I see progress, I realize something else. As the house changes, I am changing.
My self-esteem is improving. My confidence in myself is growing as I become more competent at this. I wake up & walk into my clean kitchen every morning and I feel GOOD. I look around and feel proud of how far I've come."
Keep coming back. It works if you work it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Impotent Messie

It's a strange phenomenon -- the feeling of helplessness many Messies have about housekeeping.

The Messie sees a sock on the floor and thinks,
 "What a shame! A sock on the floor. It really ought not to be there." She sighs and continues on, momentarily saddened about the sock.

Why doesn't the Messie pick it up? I think it is because her mind is tired when it comes to housekeeping. Years of trying and failing have destroyed any sense of success, so she avoids the situation instead of doing something about it. And, besides, the mess is so out of hand everywhere else, what difference does one sock make? It is much like lifting a motorbike. It may be hard but it can be done by trying. But if you have to lift a truck, you may feel that it is really not worth the effort to try.

That's why it is important to have a plan. The big job of "housekeeping" would be impossible if it weren't done one job at a time. This is the principle behind the Mt. Vernon Method (or Mt. Vesuvius Method) and the Flipper System. They break housekeeping down into small attainable goals. They alleviate the mental overload that caused the impotence to begin with.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Organizing Shoulder Mentor Speaks Again

On my shoulder sits a little mentor who makes helpful suggestions about how I can get -- and stay -- organized. You would think I would resent her for nagging but I don’t. When I see how very valuable her reminders are, I’m actually grateful.

Lately she has been reminding me of this phrase, “If you can’t do a lot, at least do a little.” So sometimes when I am “off” on my organizing game, at her urging I pick one little thing to do like straighten the medicine cabinet, declutter a messy spot. vacuum a rug, or wash one load of laundry. When combined with good organizing habits, like “Stow as you go!” doing just a little helps to keep the house in order and sometimes it jump starts me into more productive efforts.

Like the idea? Write the phrase, “When you can’t do a lot, do at least a little!” on a card and post it in an obvious but non-public place.
The card and your shoulder mentor together will make a powerful team.

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Author: NEW! Organizing Your Day

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mentor Yourself to be Organized, The Shoulder Mentor

There is one person you can always count on to help you overcome the cluttered lifestyle you are fighting -- yourself.

Here’s how to rally your own personal forces. Sit a little imaginary version of yourself on your shoulder. Give that little self a short but powerful organizing scrip by writing a reminder note (or notes) and sticking it in an obvious-to-you but not public place.

All during the day as you go about your business, your little shoulder mentor will remind you of the following short but powerful thought that is guaranteed to change your life.


What that means is that many messes stop one step short of order. Put the toothbrush in the cabinet instead of on the sink. Take that one more step.

Hang up the jacket instead of laying it down. It is just one more step.

Put shoes into the closet instead of just outside the closet door. Yes!! Just one more step does it!

Your little shoulder friend will mentor you into a life of order you dreamed of. It’s not hard. It is just one more little step.

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous
Author: NEW! Organizing Your Day