Treasurer, National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals
It is often said that what is least available becomes our currency. Whereas our parents’ currency was money, our grandparents’ currency was health, and our currency is time, our children’s currency is likely to be space. Increased real estate prices, people moving to urban settings, and smaller, more efficient homes make it more important than ever to use space to best effect.
With reduced space comes the need to make better decisions on what to keep and what to let go. Below are five tips to help you do just that.
1. Build momentum
Pick an area where it is easy to determine what to keep and what to let go. Leave ”heartstring” items like photos and memorabilia for later. These items have memories attached to them which make it more difficult to make decisions. Get momentum going in easier areas like the kitchen and bedrooms, and leave the tough decisions for last.
2. Divide your space into manageable projects
Rather than tackling an entire room, tackle one small area in that room. Instead of organizing the entire living room, start with the media cabinet. Pull everything out, sort like with like, and determine what to get rid of and where it will go. Make piles labeled keep, recycle, donate, and trash. Once you’ve looked through everything, reshelve items being kept, remove items being discarded, and then move on to the next area.
3. Work when you are at your best
It is a well-known productivity hack that we do our best work when we are at our most energetic. If you’re a morning person, consider organizing your space in the morning. If you’re better in the afternoon or evening, do it then. The key here is to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses so you get more done in the same amount of time.
4. Organize in short bursts rather than in long increments
Doing too much too soon can leave you feeling exhausted and unwilling or unable to continue on to the next area. Although it’s tempting to get as much done in as short a time as possible, working in shorter increments avoids decision-making fatigue and allows you to regenerate between sessions so you return to the next organizing project with renewed energy.
5. Keep only what you need, love, and use
If you’re not sure what to keep and what to let go, ask yourself when you last used the item, if you really love it, and if you really need it. If the answer to all three questions is no, let the item go.
Lisa Mark, Treasurer, National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, [email protected]