Getting Organized

August 9th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

I added another article to the free articles section called “Getting Organized.” This is an updated version of an older article called “Clean Up That Mess” which I wrote in 2000.

This article provides a basic method for cleaning up clutter and organizing any physical space, such as an office, kitchen, or garage.

I think the main cause of clutter is a failure to systematize decision-making about where items should go. People who experience pervasive clutter problems almost invariably lack an intelligent system for deciding where each new object that enters their environment will end up. There’s no clean pipeline where objects enter at one end and are assigned convenient storage at the other end, so the net result is an environment that looks physically clogged. The ongoing processing of physical objects is random, haphazard, and ineffective. Sometimes the clog becomes too great, and the person eventually invests hours clearing it, only to begin re-clogging the very next day.

I see the accumulation of clutter as a form of procrastination — when you procrastinate on deciding where things should go, they pile up. If you know exactly where an object goes, and its location is convenient, you’ll usually put it away and avoid turning it into clutter. But when you have too many items with no conveniently assigned homes, you’re far more likely to pile them or toss them in unsuitable locations, resulting in clutter.

I’ve been using a structured organizing system for at least five years now, and I have no persistent clutter problems. My office is largely self-organizing. What I like most is that it actually takes less time to be clutter-free. If you learn to prevent the accumulation of clutter, you needn’t waste time de-cluttering.

Enjoy the article: Getting Organized

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