Spring’s amazing ability to energize and inspire
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I love spring for its ability to energize and inspire a shift in everything. I love the psychotic weather – the morning flurries and blazing afternoon sun on my front porch. I love the way my wife fusses around our sleepy garden, unaffected by the lingering snowpack. I love how some projects only seem possible with the promise of warmer days, flip flops and garden fresh veggies on the grill.
This is the time of year when people start thinking about cleaning out, picking up and tackling long-dormant projects too overwhelming for the cold, dark days of winter. I know when it happens, because my cell phone starts to ring. Spring cleaning does not have to be a chore, in fact, it can be a cathartic opportunity to slough off the old, make room for the new, reinvigorate and re-energize just in time for summer. It seems everyone, however, has a spring cleaning project that just looms too large to tackle.
When you feel stuck, simplify. Purge everything in your way into one of four piles: trash, thrift, recycle, and consign. You’ll need cardboard boxes, strong trash bags and markers to label your piles. Turn on some music and work bottom up – clearing the floor first will allow you to move around safely and help generate a sense of accomplishment. Take no more than four seconds per item and then decide which pile it goes in. Don’t get suckered into dealing with items you want to keep – it’s far more effective to organize what you love after you have purged everything first. Once you have determined what can go, remove it from your space. Make a trip to the trash dumpster, thrift store, recycling center, or favorite consignment shop – and this will create the space you’ll need to organize everything that stays. As you clear out bins and boxes, save them in a pile for later. With a fresh new label, your old bins will work just fine for anything that stays.
Now, clarify. Organize the stuff you love using the Intentional Solutions 4 Rules of Organization: 1) like things together, 2) easy to find, 3) easy to reach and 4) out of the way. You will need appropriate containers for putting like things together. I recommend heavy duty Ziplock storage bags, glass mason jars, and stackable plastic bins with lids. What you use really does not matter, as long as your containers are appropriate for the items inside them. Making things easy to find usually requires a logical label of some kind, although see-through containers help keep things visible. Easy to reach is the convenience factor. If it’s inconvenient, your organizational system has no hope of surviving practical use. My formula – proximity equals urgency – helps to answer the out of the way question. Consider how convenient an object needs to be in direct proportion to how urgently it will be needed.
Now, get inspired. That means refreshing your space using four basic principles: aesthetic, function, flexibility and lifestyle. You will be exponentially more inspired to do the maintenance to keep your space gloriously clean and organized if you bring it to life with vibrancy and style. Tidy spaces tend to lend themselves nicely to effective function, flexibility and personal preference. You will get buy-in from the rest of your household or office when items are so clearly labeled that it is impossible not to support the system.
Spring cleaning does not have to be overwhelming when you tackle one project at a time and make it fun. Schedule a chunk of time, play some motivating music and make some tasty appetizers. And don’t panic, when you get stuck, additional help is on the way.
– Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of http://www.MyIntentionalSolutions.com, delivering hands-on organizational solutions for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. To comment or suggest column topics, visit the Facebook page “Intentional Solutions.” For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 366.2532 or email Evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com.
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