Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Sorting Room

You know how Harry Potter's Hogwarts has the Sorting Hat?

You remember. Every year, the day before term started, the incoming class of First Years would sit on a stool, don the Sorting Hat, and be shuffled off into their respective houses.

Well, after our big move, I created a Sorting Room. Every box that didn't have a home, and every slip of paper that didn't have a purpose was tossed into that room for Sorting At A Later Date.
Here's what it looked like after I cleared the furniture out of the way:

As you can see, the general theme was "Junk Overflowing."

Here's what it looks like now, after about 90 minutes of sorting and putting away:

It's not perfect, but it's a start. This is what I call "Step 1 Organizing."
Step 1 Organizing is a preliminary process to getting a project done. It's where you figure out what can be put away, what can be thrown away, and what needs a new home.
Here's how to tackle Step 1 Organizing: Constant motion. Set aside a couple hours when you know you won't be distracted. Then tackle the project methodically. For me, I start at one side of the room and make my way to the other. I opened one box at a time, and every single item in that box had three options:
  • Put away in an existing container.
  • Put in the "throw away" box. This box helps avoid the distractions that can happen when you're running back and forth to the trash.
  • Put in the "keepsake" box. Typically I avoid sorting items into new boxes, but in this particular instance I knew that I'd end up needing this keepsake box to hold wedding/honeymoon stuff until my sister could help me scrapbook it. I know that on a future trip to Ikea, I'll be purchasing a nicer-looking keepsake box, so it's OK.

The time-frame is really important. By 90 minutes, I was starting to feel lazy. When that happens, it's time to stop. When you lose momentum, it's too easy to skip a box, set items aside "for later" or overfill the (in my case) keepsake box.

So that's it! That's Step 1. All those boxes and bags were unpacked, and the items inside were put in their proper place. But since proper doesn't necessarily mean organized, I'll need to prepare for Step 2.

Step 2 requires shopping, so it's important to check the budget before attempting it. And that's why I'm stopping at Step 1 today.

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