Having a strategy in place before tackling your organizing projects is key to succeed. It’s kind of funny how a seemingly unrelated word can contain an organizing strategy within.
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The Four Key Organizing Strategy Spells L.O.V.E.
Key #1: Let go
Yes, part of the organizing and decluttering process is letting go of stuff but there is something else we need to let go of too…mindsets and beliefs that don’t support us. Being in the right mindset matters a lot. Sometimes we sabotage our own efforts because we are embracing underlying mindsets and beliefs that do not align with our goals and desires.
So how can we let go of these underlying mindsets and beliefs? The first step is to uncover them. We can do that by paying attention to our thought life. Once we know what we are dealing with, it’s much easier to address it and move towards adopting and cultivating new mindsets that do support us and empower us to reach our goals.
When I started decluttering our home two years ago I discovered there was an underlying poverty mindset at play. It was keeping me from letting go of certain items. The mindset I started cultivating instead was one of generosity and abundance. As I re-evaluated some of those items I was holding onto I started to see them as gifts to others and that changed my perspective to start letting go from a place of abundance and knowing that I have more than enough.
Key #2: Overcome excuses
We need to learn to identify them and get over them. My favorite excuse was time. I didn’t have enough of it. One day I came across this quote and it had a profound impact in me:
“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
– Earl Nightingale
When something is important to you, you make the time. Whether you work on something or not time will continue to pass. Why not make it count? Dedicating a little time here and there eventually adds up until one day it’s done.
I had a few bins of paperwork collected over the years that needed to be addressed. It was a mix of personal files, my daughters’ schoolwork, greeting cards, booklets and other information. I was concerned we had important documents within those bins that we couldn’t easily retrieve. It was a nagging concern. I wanted peace of mind but it was overwhelming to think of the time it was going to take to go through each piece of paper.
The collection grew over time so I tackled it the same way. I started by making the time to sort one bag from the bin. Sometimes I was able to do 2 bags. I kept working at it little by little until I emptied a bin. By working on it little by little something that seemed insurmountable at first became attainable. The sense of accomplishment and relief is great. I have regained peace of mind as the few important documents that were scattered in the bins are now filed and easily accessible.
Key #3: Visualize your dream and/or goal
Allow yourself the time to imagine your ideal space; visualize the way you want it to look and feel. Take the time to feel the emotions that you will feel once you have reached your goal: peaceful, serene, calm, relaxed, accomplished, etc. Write it down, draw it, create a mood board and keep it somewhere you can look at it frequently. This will help you stay focused and it will help you in the decision making process later.
One of my goals is to move as much of our household paperwork into a paperless system. Imagining what it will look like and feel like to have less paper in our household serves as a compass to keep me on track and as a motivator to get to the finish line.
Key #4: Embrace the journey
Prepare for the ups and downs. Gather some encouraging cards or notes from family and friends. Gather some quotes and/or stories that inspire you. Keep them accessible so you can look at them when the downs show up.
Remember to practice gratitude. Even if things didn’t go the way you expected pick 3 things you are grateful for and write them down. The simple act of being grateful will just open you to a new perspective and give you encouragement to press on. Learn the lessons to be learned and continue to move forward.
When the ups show up celebrate them. Create a success log with your victories no matter how small they may be. Review them frequently to encourage yourself to continue moving forward.
How it unfolded
I admit that I can be a nerd sometimes and this was one of those times. I had been trying to come up with an acronym that related to organizing and decluttering. Julie Morgenstern came up with SPACE (Sort, Purge, Assign a home, Containerize, Equalize) as a plan of attack in her book Organizing from the Inside Out. Other organizers have come up with their own acronyms and I kind of wanted to have one of my own too. Acronyms make it easy to remember.
It all came about one day when I was meditating on love, what it means, what it looks like and how it shows up in life. As I sat there thinking something I read came to mind. It was about doing and accomplishing great things without the presence of love and how pointless and empty it all is because in the end love is what really matters. Quite profound if you think about it. So in this exercise of meditating on love I asked myself: What does love look like applied to organizing and decluttering projects? I let my mind wander. My mind wandered to the different things that had hindered my personal progress towards decluttering and organizing our home. Then it wandered to the specific steps I’ve taken to overcome those hindrances and an organizing strategy unfolded before me….a strategy wrapped in the word love.