S.I.M.P.L.Y. Organized in Six Steps (pt 2 of 6)

This is a series of posts that will take anyone with a strong desire to organize their space through a series of simple steps which will help them be successful. So far we have explored step #1 Start with a Purpose. Our next step is:

I – Identify your stuff

Now that you are ready to start and have determined the purpose of your space, you are ready to attack the clutter by identifying your stuff. This seems somewhat anticlimactic don’t you think? It sounds like you are showing up for a gunfight armed with your wit. I don’t mean for you to stand there and name each item as though you are teaching a non-English speaker. Rather, I mean you should identify each item and place it with other like items. Start with one small area at a time…one closet, one dresser etc.

This initial identification is incredibly simple.

Just place like items together. If you are working in a bathroom then place all towels together, all hair products together, all make-up together, and all electrical appliances together etc. It isn’t rocket science and can be done very quickly.

If you are working in an office, you may have a pile of writing implements, a different pile for stationary, another for paperwork and bills, and another for items used for attaching things like staplers, paperclips and tacks. The paperwork pile, just like any pile, may be subdivided into incoming bills, letters to respond to, coupons etc. Again, a quick sort to group like items together is all that is needed initially.

Once you have like items grouped together then you must identify each item in context and decide why you have it.

Do you have 25 towels and three people living in your house? Do you really use them all? Need them all? Since they are all grouped together, you know exactly what you have and can decide what to keep and what will go.

Of course these are the very decisions you didn’t want to have to make. Towels might be an easy ruling, but what about your favorite dress that hasn’t fit you in 4 years. Or how about the framed picture of your children that hasn’t been on the wall in 10 years? These are the tougher decisions. Begin by asking yourself these questions:

Do I really use this item regularly? Daily? Monthly? Yearly?

Do I think it is beautiful? Lovely? Enriching my life visually?

Does this item enhance my life in any way? Benefit me emotionally? Spiritually?

Do I enjoy having this item around?

Does this item have important sentimental value to me?

One or more of these questions touch on each aspect of your life: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual.

If you are not being benefited on some level by that item then you are being weighed down.

If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions for each item then you should not keep it. Once you decide to keep or not to keep, then each item will need to go into one of four labeled containers: KEEP in this room (Does it fit the purpose of the space?) RELOCATE to a different room (Keep… but not in this space), TOSS into the garbage, or DONATE.

As you start with each pile of items, you should pick each item up, one at a time and make your decision. Each item will be placed into one of the four-labeled containers. If you will pause after each pile and empty the contents of your KEEP box back to the space where it came from on the table you are using to sort, then when you are finished you will still have all of your items in piles of like items together.

Now move onto the next pile and follow the same process until you have touched every item in every pile.

Make a purposeful decision of what you will keep and why.

At this point we have successfully completed steps 1 and 2 in our S.I.M.P.L.Y. Organized system.

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