A Wader or a Jumper?

January is National Get Organized (GO) Month, a perfect time to think not only about getting organized but also about how we approach the job of getting organizing.

When faced with any task in life, some people jump right in the deep end while others dip their toes in tentatively before beginning to wade into the shallow end. The different approaches can be ascribed to innate personality, of course, but they can also be partly due to the task at hand. Can we rise to the challenge of doing something that perhaps we would really rather not be doing, regardless of our own personal style of working?

In our book we described the different personalities of people who approach the task of getting rid of clutter as “the throwers” who relish clearing out and who will empty a house quickly and efficiently and “the keepers” who want to preserve special things as well as memories, and who will linger over the process. What’s needed is a combination of these traits and, most likely, many of us possess a bit of both attributes.

Wherever you place yourself on the keeper-thrower spectrum, you can get organized using strategies that have worked for you in the past or you can try something new. The next question still remains: Where do you start?

Here are some suggestions.

Start with the easiest things

Whenever I give a talk about the book, I always suggest starting by getting rid of the easiest stuff first because, let’s face it, getting rid of clutter is hard. So start with the things that have the least emotional attachment for you. Is that the gadgets in the overstuffed kitchen drawer or the pile of old (and possibly unread) magazines?

Start small

In a previous post, I wrote about Marcia, a personal organizer, who advocates starting as small as possible, working from one small section to the next small section. She says that you can feel such a sense of accomplishment by completing just one small area.

Schedule regular decluttering sessions

The blog Organized Home suggests scheduling a regular time to get rid of clutter: even just 15 minutes a day. (To get the job done, some of us would need to schedule a number of 2-hour sessions before we could go on a maintenance schedule of 15 minutes a day.)

Declutter fast

Have a random purge. I have read about personal organizers who challenge their clients to get rid of things fast. What 5 things or 10 things can you pick up right now and get rid of?

Fast is not my style, I’m more of a deliberator, a wader, but I’m up for the challenge.

In next week’s post, a list of things I got rid of…I’m feeling the pressure already!

≈Linda Hetzer is an editor and author of books on home design, crafts, and food, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.

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