1. THE LOVE IT OR LOSE IT PRINCIPLE: Every item around you represents a choice you made. You either went out or selected it; or it came to you, and you accepted it. Look at that item now with fresh eyes. If you do not know that item to be useful, believe it to be beautiful, or love it for personal reasons, it's time to get rid of it. In other words, LOVE IT OR LOSE IT. Love what nourishes your dreams and directions, lose what drains or distracts you. Call this process your "Clutter Campaign".
2. DESIGN your vision of how you want to live and work. What is your ideal environment? Look at where you are now and document your current condition (yes, this means writing it down). Create a clutter campaign workbook. Then write down where you want to be and what budget and time frame you are working in.
3. ELIMINATE your excuses that undermine that vision. Take the time to list the excuses. How do you feel when you are clutter-free? Decide what natural talents and skills will help you get organized ? and get assistance for the areas that are difficult for you. What are others doing that is helpful to you?
4. COMMIT your time to take positive action. Think about how much time you spend now looking for things. Then think about how much time getting organized will take ? especially if you break projects into bite sized pieces. Now mark the calendar ? when are you getting started?
5. SELECT your tools to match your personal organizing style. Think about what you need every day, and arrange these items in a system that works for you. Make sure the tools are in working order and utilize technology to your advantage. Ask yourself this about any item in your life: Is it useful? Is it beautiful? Do you love it?
6. MAINTAIN your success and keep the process flowing, revel in your success. Notice new habits you have developed and what is making it easy for you to maintain those habits. Making organizing and de-cluttering a regular part of your day. Reevaluate the systems you created on a continual basis ? make sure they work for you!
7. Create A Support Group. Some people like to do the Clutter Campaign on their own. Others prefer to work as part of a group who share support and encouragement and also hold themselves accountable for staying on focus. Working with friends can even add some fun to the process. If you decide to work as part of a team, remember the four things most successful groups have in common a. A structure that keeps them focused on their goals b. They hold themselves accountable for the promises they make c. They support one another d. They celebrate their successes
8. Practice the Art of Wastebasketry?. As yourself these questions about everything you own, and based on the answer, decide whether or not to keep it.
a. Does it require action?
b. Does it exist in another place or form?
c. Is it recent enough to be useful?
d. Can I identify a specific use for it?
e. Would it be difficult to obtain again?
f. Does it have tax or legal implications?
g. Does anyone else need it?
9. Maintain a Master Project List. List all the projects you are working on, and create a file, folder or holding space for information on each project.
10. The most important question: What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I don't get organized and/or start a clutter campaign in my life? Creative minds always have more ideas than the physical body can carry out ? give yourself a break and permission to get rid of those items and projects that do not meet your life goals.
Let us know how your clutter campaign is going ? we would love to hear from you. Happy organizing!
? Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com