When I receive an email or phone call from a potential client I never know what I will get when I accept them as a client. My one requirement is that they must want to change. Usually by the time they contact me they are ready to change. If they are forced to contact me by friends or family it usually doesn’t go so well and I spend time spinning my wheels with them. I will leave without pay if all I feel we did was move their clutter around. I want them to want to change and release the clutter. If they aren’t ready, I am not going to force them.
But sometimes I get my favorite client of all kind, the one that is 95% organized and they want me to take them to 100%. These are rare clients and I usually work with them once or twice a year. But what they do is challenge me and keep me on my toes. I have to ask a lot of questions to get to the perfect solution they are looking for. They usually have tried all of the common suggestions I give my clients and we go to the next level of organizing; organizing nirvana!
Most have created systems that are very well organized but the systems are causing them anxiety and taking up precious time in their lives. They realize that finding a balance is the right thing to do and they want that balance.
Here are some common things I find:
1. File more broad and not so detailed. Statistics show that when we file we never look at 80% of the stuff ever again. So keep that in mind when creating a filing system. For most people they need a category called “Vehicles” and don’t need files broken down into every vehicle that they own.
This became picture clear in my own world when I use to file and organize my negatives, remember what those were? They were organized and labeled and had their own envelopes with the date on the outside clearly marked. And then I heard someone say to just throw your negatives in a box and store it at a family members house and when I do have a time where my photos are destroyed I will then take the time to sort and look through the photos. Until that time, save time and throw them in a box. Huge time saver for me!
2. Focus on the things that drive you crazy. For one client it was creating the area in her kitchen to make toast. Every morning toast crumbs would find their way into her spotless kitchen and she would have to take the time to clean them up. We figured out a way to keep the toast crumbs at a minimum and save her time every morning and she was thrilled.
My area that drove me crazy was my mail. Because I work from home I would get the mail and sort it. But the sorting would take me down a wild path that would eat into my work day. I would want everything to be perfect. I would look through the magazines. I would pay the bill. I would write down the appointment reminder and 90 minutes would pass. Now my husband does it and it takes him 2 minutes and once a month he has a small pile for me to sort. It isn’t until he leaves town for work that I realize that Pottery Barn is still sending me catalogs….and I stop what I am doing and dream about my perfect house…and thirty minutes later I come out of my perfect house coma and get back to work!
3. Focus on the big picture. If your idea is to spend time with your family or to create lovely scrap book pages, focus on that. Collecting the supplies and shopping and storing and creating systems to store them does not get your pages done. Realize where the time suck is and eliminate it.
I was a lover of scrap books. I even sold Creative Memories so I could get the discount. But one thing I learned early on is that I could get distracted by everything that was in the marketplace. So for me I focused just on what Creative Memories had to offer. I didn’t spend time at other craft stores looking up and down the aisles for inspiration and spending time looking for coupons to save money. I focused on one thing and kept it simple. Now I download all of my Facebook posts to a company that places all of my statuses an pictures into one book. It takes me about three minutes to order it once a year and I am done. I now use Facebook as my daily journal and it is an easy and low maintenance way for me to capture my life.
The same goes for clothes for me. I focus on two stores for all of my clothes and that is it. I know that they are quality clothes and I look good in them and besides that I don’t need a closet full of clothes to stress me out. I do the one in one out rule, if I buy a new shirt, and old shirt must go. I buy clothing once a year in the fall and it usually gets me through to another year.
We all have that want to be more organized. Take time this week to figure out how you can get let go of the old way of doing things in order to give you back some precious time! It might be letting go of perfectionism. It might be letting go of old habits. Whatever it may be, just….let it go…let it go!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Serving the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as North Dakota and South Dakota. Also seeking new representatives for Clever Container in all areas of the country.