Do you envy your always organized friends? Do you wonder how they manage to keep it together? Maybe you've even popped in on one these friends unexpectedly just to see if they really are on top of things. And they were – sigh. How is it that some people manage to stay organized and relaxed? Well, it's not sorcery. Organized people tend to follow the Essential Eight. The Essential Eight are guidelines for organized living - here they are:
Own only what you need , use or love. If you don't need, use or love an item, why let it take up room in your life? If you aren't sure what need, use and love really mean, here is a little help:
- Need is defined as necessary or required because it is essential - legal and financial documents are examples of needed items. Strictly speaking, things that fall only into the need category support who we are, but are not regularly, if ever, referenced.
- Use is defined as anything you employ on a regular basis. These are items that get put into service on a regular basis. Use it is not the same as 'I might use it' or 'I could use it' – those kinds of items are clutter in the making.
- Love, and let's be really clear about this - is not the same as like. We can like lots of things, but like alone is not enough of a reason to hold onto things (unless of course you actually use the item). Love is special though. Love means you would be genuinely upset at its loss.
Embrace the concept of less being more. The less you own the less you have to maintain. Maintenance takes time, so it follows that owning less creates more free time. The idea of more free time should make letting go of the unnecessary much easier.
Have a place for everything. Assigning convenient and practical homes to your belongings is critical. Everything needs a place to live that is easily accessible so you can find what you need when you need it.
Put it away when you're done with it. Finished using it? Put it away. It's that straight forward. Do this one thing and you're guaranteed never to misplace anything, ever.
Equalize. It's the one in, one out rule. Buy something new? Let go of something old. It's the only way to maintain balance. Think of it in terms of calories. If you take in more than you expend you'll gain weight, right? It's true with stuff too, bring in more than you let go of and pretty soon your home is bloated with clutter.
Don't be a squeezer. Squeezers try to do just one more thing – one more thing before they get ready for an appointment, one more thing before they leave the house in the morning. Squeezers forget that time is not malleable. Squeezer are chronic over-schedulers. This behavior is a sure fire recipe for stress induced exhaustion. When you over extend yourself, you do everyone a disservice. Stop squeezing and start living – it's far more relaxing!
Call in the troops. Everyone who shares the space should pitch in. Don't be the martyr who shoulders the burden alone. Unless you live alone, you should be working as a team. Even the smallest household members can help out. For you perfectionists this means you need to let go of your high ideals and think about the benefit of allowing others to assist – more free time for you! That's a pretty slick trade off, at least in my opinion.
Remember Rome. It wasn't built in a day. And you don't have to get everything done in a day either. If you are playing catch up – trying to clear out clutter, put in systems, get things in shape – drop the expectation that it will happen overnight. It simply won't. But it will happen if you put in consistent effort on a daily basis. Some days you may be able to devote thirty minutes to your organizing projects, some days only five. It doesn't matter as long as you just do what you can.
The Essential Eight are tried and true. Implement them in your life and see how much easier everyday becomes.
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