Can’t find what you are looking for? Maybe it’s time to clean up!

By Mike Aux-Tinee.

It never fails, when I am running late, whatever I am trying to find so I can head out the door is playing hide and go seek with me. This is not the time that I really want to play games. And doing so only goes to launch my stress level into outer orbit.

I am spending too much time, searching for things that I know I left… somewhere… but now can’t find. There is no one else to point the finger at and ask… “did you move this and where did you put it?” Or blame a gremlin for taking and moving my things.

It’s not the big things that I am having trouble keeping tabs on. It’s those little things like my car keys, the grocery list and so on that are so elusive. (I am glad that I am not on a reality tv show…many of the things I say during my search would be bleeped out.)

My clutter problem is of my own making and it’s not going to get better until I get fed up enough to do something about it.

That time has arrived.

One of the things that is keeping me from addressing my clutter problem is my life. What specifically? It’s the other activities that I would rather be doing other than sifting through my things: spending time on my bike, visiting with my friends or heading to the library. You know… anything but opening up the closet and risking life and limb by removing what is stuffed in there.

My closet is a modern marvel. I have been able to stuff so many things there. Every time I open the door, I hope and pray that I escape the pending avalanche hazard (I have not deployed any duck tape, rope or welded in any support beams to hold things in place.) It’s something that I have grown to admire and dread.(emphasis on the dread part!)

Now that I have identified what I need to do, it’s time to put my life on hold and address my clutter problem. I need to do this before the solution to solve this becomes more drastic. (like using heavy equipment to haul out my things)

This is not going to be easy. It’s like trying to get a child to do something they don’t want to like take a bath, eat their veggies or go to bed. Instead of trying to coerce someone else to do this. I am trying to get my inner child to go along with the plan and not to fall victim to his attempts to persuade me to do otherwise. He goes on offense and puts up one hell of a tantrum.

Not only am I trying to corral my inner child, but I now have to stomach opening up the places I have things stashed and dive in.

Realizing that it’s not going to disappear in one sitting. I have come up with a plan to get this under control. After all, Rome was not built-in a day and, standing in front of my closet, it wasn’t either.

Here is my plan:

To keep from being overwhelmed, I am going to spend 20-30 minutes pulling out, sorting through and deciding if I need to keep whatever I am looking at. This serves two purposes. One, is to not spend all day on this project. Two, to appease the inner child’s desire to play. (I know… he’s a tenacious negotiator!)

I want to feel like I am making progress. So I am going to tackle the smaller places such as drawers, cabinets and the smaller closets first. It is important to maintain my morale throughout this process. Otherwise, knowing how I am, I will become agitated and just end it right there. (thus my clutter problem will live on another day)

When I finish with the smaller places and it’s time to move onto the larger places like my bed room closet. It’s not a badge of honor that I am saving until the last possible moment. I know how I am… if I start big then go small, I will lose motivation to see this through to the end. (I know, I am playing mind games with myself… whatever works to get this done!)

To achieve the success I am praying for, this job will be broken down into three parts: the shelf, what’s hanging up and then everything else that is sitting on the floor. I am going to keep with my 20-30 minute clutter fest, take a break and then head back to it. I plan on knocking this out over three weekends.

The thing is, I am not all that excited about losing three weekends to cleaning out my closet. To keep this down to a dull roar, I am going to implement some strategies to keep this little problem from building up in the future.

The first thing I am going to do, is when I get something, like a magazine or junk mail, I am going to look at and then dispose of it… right then and there.

A few years ago, I lost my luggage on a trip to Italy. I had one extra set of clothes for a 10 day vacation. I made it through with what I had… this was a very eye-opening experience for me. While I was shocked that my things were lost, I did survive with less. And that is going to be something that I work towards… living with less.

So, the second thing I am going to do, is pare down what I keep around me. I am going to hold off adding to my wardrobe until something I own wears out. Then, maybe then I will think about replacing it if I do not have something to take its place.

Lastly, I am going to find some way… to corral my inner child and prevent him from making a mess. There is the tendency to pull something out, use it and then not put it away. This also contributes to this clutter dilemma. Not sure how that’s going to work out. But I am hopeful we can come to some sort of arrangement.

If you are like me and having trouble finding things, maybe you should take that as a sign that you need to clean up too!

Peace dudes!

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