How to Organize Lots of Stuff

This is the perfect weekend to get organized.

Last week we talked about Knowing Yourself– that self-awareness is an integral part of achieving optimal productivity. There’s a simple aspect that you might find helpful to get you started once you articulate it to yourself: old vs new.

When it comes time to sort through things, I’ve found that there tend to be two camps of what people consider to be the easiest- the old and the new. Let’s say you’re sorting through a big pile of papers.

There are pros and cons to each category for sorting purposes:

Pros- Old Stuff:

Things are expired
Our attachment to it may have faded
No longer relevant
It’s broken
It has lost parts
Dealing with it lifts an old burden
Etc…

The decision is practically made for us. It can often (but not always) be easier to release things that don’t work anymore.

Pros- New Stuff:

We can get great satisfaction (dopamine) from responding quickly
Avoid late fees/interest
Our reputation becomes one of someone who is organized
Increase our self-trust
More likely to discover problems and deal with them
Being on top of things feels clear and powerful
Etc.

It’s easy to take care of new things like mail because they don’t have the baggage of the past and of not being dealt with for all this time.

Of course, we would ideally deal with everything and be fully up to date with everything. But that’s unlikely. I’ve literally never met anyone with zero clutter. Even people who throw everything away have secrets…

If you are starting an organizing project, you may find these Joumor principles helpful:

Homogeneity: Sort items into old and new categories.

Start with the easiest things first– this will be, um, easiest. AND it will give you energy to keep going.
Give yourself the biggest ROI- (return on investment) put your energy into the biggest bang for your buck.

Whatever needs to be done, it will only get done how you do it. So be honest with yourself- if sewing that old button onto that shirt you never wear feels important, go for it. Next thing you know, you’ll be paying that bill you were too scared to open.

Old and new clutter are connected. And it’s all holding us back. Start with whichever feels easier, and next thing you know you’ll be on your way to the most clutter-free version of yourself.

You have four days this weekend- good luck!

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