Friday, March 13, 2009

How To Get Organized For Good Step III: Edit and Sort

Step #3. Edit and Sort
you'll need: bags or boxes for donations, garbage, recycling, selling, repair, return to owner

Many people get overwhelmed at this part because they don't have an overall vision in mind to guide them through the process, they don't know where to start, and they get stuck on the things they aren't sure about keeping.

  • Unless you have a looming deadline, or it's the only thing you have to do, don't start out with paperwork since this takes the most time.
  • Start out in a small part of the home or room so you can see fast results to help keep you motivated.
  • Deal with things that are in plain site before going into closets, cabinets, or drawers.
  • At the end of each work session throw out all garbage and recycling.
  • Get everything else out as often as you can; don't let bags of donations, repairs, etc sit around clogging up your space.
  • Finish the area you started before moving on to another.

Only go through what is YOURS. It's ok to sort things that aren't completely yours, but you cannot make decisions about whether to get rid of something without consulting the other owners. It's very important to respect these other people no matter who they are. I've had wives ask to go through their husband's things saying "He'll never know" to which I always say "and if you husband calls me tomorrow wanting to go through your things without your knowledge that would be ok with you?". It's not ok!! Another thing is maybe you have something from your family that you don't want anymore. Take the time to ask everyone else in the family if they may want it. Don't make the decision for them. Believe me, this can help you avoid nasty fighting or even a lawsuit.

Sort as you go, grouping like things together, all kitchen items, office supplies, batteries, books, cds, paperwork, etc, Sort further if you are going through a specific area. For instance, kitchen items can be sorted into prep, appliances, cooking, serving. The point is knowing what you have to figure out how best to store it afterwards. Also, once you get all the things together you can see where you can edit further; do you really need 7 wine openers? Also, group all bins, boxes or any other organizing pieces together.

Make your immediate decisions first. If you have anything you are unsure of, simply sort it and move on. Sometimes you can't make a decision until you see all that you have. For instance, decorative piece like vases. Grouping them in one spot allows you to see them as a whole, then you can simply pick out your favorites if you have too many. When in doubt, keep it for now.

Tomorrow I'll continue on this topic exploring the reasons to keep and not to keep things.

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