May 13th, 2017
Does the idea of clearing your space of clutter make you anxious and want to run in the other direction?
My mother, the original 'Organization Maven', always uses the number 3 to clear any space of clutter and avoid the ever dreaded 'Organization Anxiety'.
Organizing a home with four kids is a challenge, but my mother always made it look simple. I can hear her now "Seriously, you kids are so weird these days." If she ever read the title to this blog she would just laugh! She thinks the things our generation concern ourselves with is silly.
Yes in her eyes I am, and always will be a kid.
I like it like that!
My mother would always start an organization project by sorting almost everything into sets of three.
It's an easy number to deal with and it always seemed to keep her organization efforts simple so she could keep up with them. Three rooms a day, three categories to sort, three steps for each space, etc. The number three dissolves some of the anxiety out of any project.
Choose the three spaces you plan to tackle. This method can apply to any space big or small. From a couple of drawers to a couple of offices. Decide which space to start in and begin sorting items into your three key categories.
The Brooks Three Keys
2. Trash (Not Sure)
3. Replace elsewhere or Donate
Once you decide on a starting point, create your 'Three Keys'. They can be any three that you choose. (Note: when adding additional categories you risk time wasted on deciding which category to place items in. Try to stick to three and make your 2nd Key the "Not Sure" key. Don't tackle this pile until you have finished clearing your three spaces.)
As you begin clearing out your space place each item into one of your 3 Keys.
Once cleared, you now can quickly place what you have chosen as your first key items back in your freshly cleared space. Trash your second key and move on. Or, if your anxiety is directly related to the label "Trash", as mentioned make this key the undecided pile.
In an hour you will have three, freshly tidy spaces.
No matter how big or small, remember to never dedicate more than twenty minutes at a time. This way you won't feel as though all of your time has been gobbled up cleaning. Instead in twenty-minute intervals, you will quickly begin to see the benefit of your efforts.
Now that you only have a pile of undecided items, that's right... back to three.
This is the time to make a solid decision to create a trash pile. By now, there are far fewer items to decide on, thus decreasing your organization anxiety. Before you commit to the trash pile, decide if any items are not useful, ie. broken or missing parts, or has the item been fully used (dried white out, finished label tape, empty non-reusable containers) and dedicate these items to the trash.
Now decide if the remaining 'in good order' items could be placed with similar items elsewhere in your space. If not, and you feel the item is still useful, but you haven't touched it in over six months, donate or sell the items online.
In sixty minutes you have now accomplished clearing three spaces and possibly found some extra cash.