With May showers, flowers and craft shows blooming, everyone’s in a rush to spring clean. It’s tempting to just toss everything into a bin without really looking and start over from scratch. I talk a good game about wanting that but I’m also incredibly sentimental so I want to keep a ton of stuff. Neither extreme is healthy, effective or sustainable in the long run.
Here’s how I’ve reached a happy medium:
- Bits of paper get put into my Smashbook. Stickers from a cool product I bought, the program for a Broadway show I saw years ago and interesting business cards all get washi taped into a scrapbook. It’s all in one place, I can go back and look at it and I don’t have to toss it. This made me really look at what is worth putting into the book and what’s not. It’s also an excuse to use the cute tape I’ve been saving for ‘special.’
- I start off slowly and organize in bite sized bits. Deep down, I’m a perfectionist and need things just so. That means I want to make elaborate plans and organizational schemes which never get started because I don’t have the right pen/box/label. I’ve trained myself to just get started and use what I have. I work for short periods of time and then I go do something else. It’s far more sustainable for me to clean for 10 minutes a day, every day, than for an hour once a week.
- I keep a “Rolodex of Love”. I’ve got an Evernote file where I copy emails from people who compliment me, the URLs of blogposts where my work has been shared and just messages that make me happy. During times of high stress and “Why am I even bothering?” blues, pulling out that file reminds me why I do what I do. Since it’s electronic, there’s no real clutter taken up in my home and it goes with me.
I do my best to do things slowly and deliberately. I’ve noticed that in my fast paced monkey mind, I get overwhelmed and scattered easily. By taking my business, my life and my clutter one step and one breath at a time, I get better results.
Take a step back and look at your systems. Are they really sustainable over the long haul? Or is everything depending on doing things perfectly? Can you start taking slower steps towards your goals?