Since I finished school1, I no longer have an excuse for my place to be a mess. For the past two years, I was able to tell myself that I didn’t have time to be organized, but now that I’ve got nothing but time on my hands, I think it’s time to do a total reboot of my apartment.
As I was thinking these lofty thoughts, I came across this on Lifehacker: 52 weeks to an organized home. It’s a series of challenges where you tackle one organizing task per week. The idea with it is that you can’t do everything at once, and even if you could, you’d probably just mess it all up right away anyway, because you haven’t given each new organizing solution enough time to let it sink in and become a new habit. Also, giving yourself a week to do each task allows you to spend time thinking about the best way to set things up for your particular (for lack of a better phrase) work flow and to test out the new configuration to see if it works. It’s basically Lean and prototyping2.
What really appeals to me about this is that I don’t have to decide where to start. I think of it as being similar to running. When I’m training for a half marathon, I follow a training plan where each day that I need to run, the decision about how long I need to run that day has already been made for me – maybe I run 12 km on Sunday, 5 km on Tuesday, 8 hill repeats on Wednesday. I know when I have to run and how far and so having to make a decision about that is eliminated as a barrier to me actually going and doing it. So it’s much the same with this organizing program. This week you organizing your kitchen counters, next week you organize your kitchen cabinets, etc.
As I’m organizing, I have to keep reminding myself to take it one step at a time. Like this week, I’m organizing kitchen counters, which means all the stuff that I had stacked on my counters that didn’t belong that had to be moved, ideally to the location where I’ll ultimately be wanting it. But as I do that, I’m super tempted to then organize that other location completely, but I know that if I fall into that trap, I’m going to become overwhelmed with all of it and that’s what this program is trying to avoid. So I’m trying to be content with shoving things in a cabinet or closet that isn’t organized, as I know I’ll get to it on a future week.
That’s not to say that I’m not organizing *anything* that’s off schedule, as I have re-arranged my living room to accommodate the flat screen TV I bought myself as an “I’m done school” present, which necessitated moving a bookshelf from the living room to the growerly3, and since I had to take all the books off said shelf to move it, I used that opportunity to organize the bookshelf a little better. I also set up a better spot to keep my recycling bins, because they were totally in the way where I had been keeping them, as well as creating a box to put things to donate in4, as I figure the organizing process will generate a fair bit of things to recycle and things to donate.
So, that’ s my plan for the next 52 weeks. But this time next year, I’ll have the most organized apartment ever!
- Organized seeds posted by Susy Morris on Flickr.
- Organized spice drawer posted by yersinia pestis on Flickr
- Fun fact: 57% of my sentences these days start with “Since I finished school”. The other 43% start with “When I was in Ireland”. [↩]
- See, I learned useful stuff in school! [↩]
- Not to mention rearranging how my living room furniture was configured. [↩]
- As I had just been shoving stuff into a plastic bag, which wasn’t working well at all. [↩]