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Break Down Organizing Into Manageable Tasks

I used to be very disorganized; that wasn't the problem. The problem was I had no way to sort things out that felt comfortable to me. But in 1991, I was unemployed for a few weeks and decided to occupy myself by solving the problem once and for all. I had my bedroom in a large family room with all my hobby stuff, intermingled with my personal things. It gave me a headache to approach the mess and I felt inadequate. But this one day, the light bulb went on, and life has been better ever since.


I started to gather my hair things and felt overwhelmed by all the categories. I had three sizes and types of bobby pins alone. Even that felt like too much. So I picked the medium brown ones, and literally went around the room and gathered each one I found until I had them all and put a rubber band around them and put them in a small box. Then I picked the second kind, searched them all out, rubberbanded them, and added them to the box.

I found I needed to break the categories down to one at a time, taking it through the gathering, securing, and placing, otherwise I felt overwhelmed. I had been postponing this day of reckoning for a long time. I let my feelings be my guide. If I didn't feel confused or overwhelmed, I continued. I went by size, category, attachment, conflict, etc. If I felt conflicted, I put it down and worked on something else or broke the task down to yet smaller tasks.

This room contained sewing things, a knitting machine, two spinning wheels, wool, yarn, dyes, a loom, clothing, books, and all the equipment which went with these hobbies. It took me two long, long days, probably 8-9 hours per day, plus a bit of a 3rd day to get things hung up, sorted and given a place, categorized, thrown away, and so on.

Afterward, I let things go for a while again until it got messy, perhaps to test myself. When it reached a degree of clutter I couldn't abide, not as bad as the first time, I did the same thing. I had to break it down, just as before, to get the job done with any degree of inner peace. But after that second round, organizing anything was never a problem again, and in fact, I do it to relax. I am more than happy to help clean up disorganization in my grandchildren's houses when they are at work, and very little dismays me. I have been lost, and found my own way out.


Chaos does not unnerve me anymore, as long as I can help do something about it. So I suggest being the feeling creatures we are, use your feelings as your guide and break it down until you feel all right, and clutter just magically disappears.

By pikka from Westminster, CO

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

That is an excellent suggestion, if you can stick to it! My problem is that, in the course of doing one task, I see another that needs doing and stop to do that one, only to see still another that needs doing and stop to do that one - to infinity! Ha! I bet I'm not the only one that does that, tho. Anybody have any suggestions as to how to stop that round-robin? Have a nice day and God bless you.

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

I felt like I was reading about myself. Like you, I began doing this and each day something new becomes automatic for me. Having ADD, I have read a lot about getting my life organized and after an out of state move, I began doing little by little until I found out what works for me. Now, I can actually force my mind to work with me when I am tempted to start too many projects and feeling overwhelmed. I too, however, need to have a project or two to switch to when I get anxiety over whatever I am presently doing. Then I find that I can return to it until it is completed. Enjoyed your read!

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

When the desk in my kitchen starts to overflow with catalogs, magazines, coupons, etc., I set a daily goal of discarding 5 items. After I have recycled, or filed, or thrown away 5 items, I can stop. Most days only 5 items are handled, but occasionally I do a few more. If I do this every day, it doesn't take long before my desk is clear.

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

Hi all ! I just finished reading the Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter book and here's a few things I took away:

-Organize in 15 minute blocks of time (you can set the timer). It doesn't seem so overwhelming if you only have to work for 15 mins. She claims that you can get a lot done in that time and if after the timer goes off and you want to do another 15, go ahead!

-Evaluate each room and what's going on - say, after a busy weekend. For me the clutter builds around my desk/computer, so I will put a basket near it to put all the paper and notes until I have time to go through it.

-Another area is my pantry - I will be putting a lazy susan or 2 in there to help.

-When getting the mail, I first stop at the paper recycle container and toss the junk mail before it even gets into the house.

-Try to walk through your home like you are doing it for the first time - have an objective eye to what you see and where the clutter is. Is there stuff that is in the wrong room? Find a place for it in the room where it belongs

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