Clutter Campaign - Select Your Tools

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. William Morris

What you love, you preserve There are so many tools available to support your Clutter Campaign. And what works best for someone you know may not work for you at all. This is the time to discover exactly the right items and equipment to match your style of thinking and operating. Once you have the perfect match of tool for each task you are more likely to continue your Campaign. There is, of course, no magic system or product that is right for every home or office. Devise a system you can love and you'll reduce clutter enormously. This magic comes not because you have increased the efficiency of the system, but because you have decreased your resistance to preserving, protecting, and maintaining it. You have made yourself an offer you don't want to refuse!

Here are six options for you to explore:

? Select what you need every day. Anything you use often should be within an arm's reach of where you need that item. Imagine that there's a video camera in the corner of each of your rooms and review your activities for a day. Identify 2-5 items that need to be moved to make your day flow more smoothly and conveniently. These items could be as small as your stamps, or as large as your desk.

? Contain those items efficiently and aesthetically. What storage item would best suit your way of arranging things? Do you prefer baskets, files, drawers, doors, canisters, open shelves? Look through some magazines or tour an office or organizing store and select the items you like to use. Picture, describe or sketch a few of them on this page.

? Arrange elements in a system that works for you. How do you like to arrange the storage pieces you like to use? What would your ideal garage storage area look like, your ideal closet, your ideal pantry? Pick one area and create your preferred system.

? Support your system with technology. Identify and list below 3-5 sources of Clutter Campaign frustration. Ask people you know if they have discovered any solutions. Take your list to one of the technology stores and see if they can offer solutions. Find your best way to keep an address book, a household inventory, children's school and health records. The best solution for you can range from simple to sophisticated. Just be sure it's right for YOU.

? Find tools you enjoy using. Add sleek styling or playful zest to the tools you select. If they make you smile or glow inside, it is more likely you will use them regularly. List below three of the most helpful tools you are using currently and three you have appreciated for many years. Remember tools can include methods, systems, bribes, motivation and support that help you get started and keep you on track.

? Let go of anything that fails the three-question test. Remember again the three-question test for any item in your life:

? Is it useful?

? Is it beautiful?

? Do you love it? List 2-3 items in your surroundings that meet each of the above tests.

Unless an item meets one of those standards, get rid of it. If it meets two of them, take good care of it. If it meets all three, treasure it, and appreciate it as a gift of good fortune.

© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at

In The News:

How to Organize Your Closet  The New York Times
Organizers Push To #CancelRent  New Haven Independent

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