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Becoming Organized

When Sandra began thinking about her starting point, she focused on her bedroom. "I wanted to organize the whole bedroom in a day," she recalls. "I wanted to get the stuff off the floor, clear out the closet, hang up the pictures that have been in the closet for a couple years, and clean up the master bath. I figured if I was setting aside a whole day, then I better get a lot done, but I remembered that I often bite off more than I can chew. Then I don't get anything done. I decided to focus on cleaning out my closet. It didn't seem like a big-enough goal for a day, at first, but that is what I really wanted to do. And I did it. It was great. I brought a carload of clothes to the Salvation Army."

Ask what result you want to create from focusing on this specific area. Think about your goals in terms of what would be useful to you. Neatness is not your goal per se. Think in terms of accessibility, attractiveness, or utility. Identify a result that has meaning for you. What Sandra really wanted was to let go of all the clothes that were too small for her. As she thought about it, she decided that she only wanted to keep the clothes she absolutely loved, so that all the contents of her closet would support her aim of being elegant and sophisticated.

Keep reminding yourself that finishing a small organizing task is better than starting something big that you can't complete. Aim for less than you think you can achieve. When you complete your first getting-to-ready project, congratulate yourself and identify the habits and systems that you need to get back to ready. Then, practice your new habits and systems so that you can enjoy the ongoing benefits of your new spaciousness.

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From It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. Copyright 2003. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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