Wednesday, October 22, 2014
There are a plethora of reasons why people’s efforts to get organized ultimately fail. At the root of all of them is what has gone into the organizational systems implemented. What have you invested? That’s the question, and that’s what makes all the difference in whether your efforts stick.
One of the questions people most love to ask me is whether the work I do with my clients sustains over time, or is reversed almost immediately due to clutter relapsing.
On the whole, I will tell you: the work I do with my clients sticks.
When clients hire me they are investing fully, meaning they are investing both financially and in spirit. They are committing themselves to change, and commanding themselves to finally “get it right,” rather than “making do.”
We spend hours dissecting things from the base level up. We talk about all the reasons behind all the decisions. We implement new systems that work ideally for them. We don’t cut corners. We don’t use materials or supplies that are just laying around the house (although we do sometimes, but only when they’re better or comparable to what we could buy). We swap out old containers for new ones, whether the old ones are functional or not.
Why? Because how you feel about an organizational system and an environment makes all the difference in what happens next. If you feel that your set up has been assembled hodge-podge style, that you’ve used elements that aren’t ideal, or ones that you haven’t actively selected, those feelings affect how you treat that space. And that affects how successful you are at maintaining it.
I’m sorry to say that the people whose efforts repeatedly (and much to their frustration and disappointment) eradicate themselves time after time are the ones who don’t invest enough. They don’t invest enough time, they don’t invest the time to go the store or buy that they need to complete the project, they use slopshod materials they’re gathered along the way. There is no order to their system, and thus there will be no order to their order.
Of course the reality is that many (if not most) people are bound by a budget. Yet there is a time and a place for recycling and frugality. And there is a time to say, “I need to invest in myself by investing in this project. I need to make this a priority.”
Maybe you’ll eat a few less dinners out this month. Maybe you won’t take that weekend trip. But you will instead allocate the dollars you have to creating a system that supports you.
If you have gone to the effort of spending countless hours working and thinking about a space, if you have paid a considerable sum of money on the products whose aesthetic fits best with your own, if you feel like the system itself is a treat to yourself, then maintaining that system feels the only natural thing to do.
When you invest, you express priority. And when you invest in your life by investing real time and money into your organization, you make that organization a priority. You attach yourself to it. You care for it because you care about it. Because it has taken a lot to get there.
You may not have an unlimited budget. That’s okay because there are options at every price level. But if you don’t invest anything, you won’t care about that project enough to keep it neat. If you don’t like the way it looks or feels you will have no incentive to support it.
Real talk today, kids. Real talk.Image credits: IKEA, The Everygirl, Camille Styles
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
It’s come to my attention that far too many rooms are sans wastebasket. This realization was due in large part to the fact that my own workspace, as it turns out, is sans wastebasket. So before you go calling hypocrib, I never claimed not to be sourcing on my own behalf.
I obediently collect any shards of desk-trash and carry them over to the nearest bin (which really isn’t all that far away), but one can only make so many trips throughout the day before one realizes the inefficiency of it all. And most other people are far guiltier: in lieu of a proper trash basket, they resort to a ball and throw in the corner method, or, (the really good ones) induct some pathetic plastic shopping bag as the trashcan du jour, leaving the bulging sac to hang on an undeserving doorknob or other.
We can do better. We must.
Thoughts? Comments? Complaints? Just kidding, complaints un-welcome. But yeah, sure, technically go right ahead. Byeee.
Monday, October 20, 2014
In an ideal world, maybe, there’d be a longterm way for my clients and those like them to avoid mass acquisition of things. Grandparents would be prohibited from sending over well-intentioned but unnecessary presents. Bargain shopping would lose any of its allure. Salespeople would be obligated to question shoppers as to the legitimate need for an item before releasing into their possession.
Such scenarios are unlikely to materialize (pun intended); we can agree.
In the immediate aftermath of arriving at resolutions, you would be wise to avoid exposure to blatant triggers: those committed to ending their shopping addictions would do well take a different route home from work in order to avoid driving past the mall. Those determined to cut sugar from their diets would be smart to avoid the candy aisle in the grocery store. Those people pledging to a life of sobriety would be wise if they chose not to frequent their local bar. And so on.
Except the mall isn’t going anywhere. Nor the bags of candy, nor the pitchers of beer. And an existence of permanent avoidance doesn’t sound all that pleasurable to me.
Of course, as we all come to realize at some point or other, it is far more beneficial to work on changing oneself than it is to try to alter the world to fit ones sensitivities.
Recognize your triggers and areas of weakness. Remind yourself of the need to change, and of the negative consequences of whatever behavior it is that’s derailing you from being your best self. But in the end, cultivate most not your techniques of avoidance, but that of your resolve.
You are a single, magnificent entity in a world of infinite options. Your best self is one who can confidently say, “what is good for you may not be good for me.”
And that’s perfectly okay.