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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

Imagine that there were a fire in your home or office and you only had thirty minutes to save your most important possessions and papers.  Which would they be?  Your answers will tell you what really matters most to you.

By taking the time to articulate what's driving you to get organized BEFORE you start, when you're at the peak of your motivation, you create your own coaching tool to turn to for inspiration when the going gets tough.

As you scan the endless piles of clutter and "monumental" chaos before you, an old, familiar anxiety rises within you and your mid begins to reel will the all-too-familiar question: WHERE DO I START?

During the Analyze stage, you identified where you are at.  Now it's time to visualize where you're going, and, more specifically, how you will get there.  This requires a plan of action.

There is not doubt that you have the desire, time and determination to get organized.  So what's missing?  STRATEGY!

Begin by developing a clear picture of where you're headed:

First, the room is divided into activity zones.  Give each part of the room a name to focus on what it is for (music, files, study, etc).  Keep in mind that the average room can accommodate 3-5 activities.

Try to build around your natural habits and preferences.  Eyeball where the piles of clutter seem to accumulate; this will give you a clue of where certain zones should be.

"Crisis" purchases related to disorganization can cost as much as 15-20% of your annual budget.  Buying duplicates of misplaced or broken items, last-minute shopping at premium prices, and unnecessary interest and late payment charges (not to mention speeding tickets as you rush around).


  • Sort
  • Purge
  • Assign A Home
  • Containerize
  • Equalize


Pick up every item asking yourself these questions: "Do I use this?  Do I love this?  Does this make or cost me money?

Identify what is important to you.

Group similiar items:  They only have to make sense to you.  Design a system that is intuitive and natural to you.  Keep categories as broad as possible so they'll be easy to remember.


How do you motivate yourself to part with things?  Think about what you'll gain in return:

  • Space-for the things you really use and love.
  • Time-saved searching through all the unused clutter to get at what's really important to you.
  • Money-it's costing you to house and maintain those items.
  • Satisfaction-share items you no longer use; surely there are people in the world who could use them

Put it into storage:  Getting unused things out of your home or office into off-site storage will allow you to experience clutter-free living without the trauma of parting with them permanently.  Rates are not high, and some companies offer pickup and delivery service; they bring a container to your door, you fill it, and they whisk it away.  Couldn't be more convenient!  Once it is off-site, you may even find it easier to decide what to keep long-term.


WORK WITH A BUDDY:  Do your space one weekend and theirs another.  Use your combined brain power to come up with better solutions.

POST YOUR GOALS:  Put up the reasons why you want to get organized on the wall of the room you're working in.  When you start feeling overwhelmed, reread your answer and press on.


REWARD YOURSELF:  Set up a reward for yourself for organizing the space.

MAKE IT FUN:  Use music to pace yourself.  Do a shelf or a box per song if it works for you.


AESTHETICS- Choose containers that you love.  They should be delightful to use and blend attractively with the decor you've chosen for your space, whether it's shabby-chic or high tech steel.

STURDINESS- Don't be tempted to economize.  Your containers must be tough enough to withstand repeated use.  If they fall apart, break or feel flimsy you'll step using them.

MANAGEABILITY-Containers should be easy to handle.  If you'll be storing a lot of items in them, consider their weight when full.

SIZE-Make sure they are a proper fit for the number of items you will be storing, without overcrowding.  Consider leaving a little room for growth, but not too much.  


Assess the process as you go along.  Do you need to rethink what you're trying to accomplish?

Like anything else worth doing, organizing takes time to master.  You're bound to make mistakes and stumble along the way.  Once you've mastered these skills, they'll last you forever because they're skills for life.  That's their greatest value.  You can apply them over and over again to almost any task.


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