Revisiting the Past

It’s hard for me to believe that I have been blogging since October 2009.  I thought I would share an oldie but goodie from late 2009 – it seems to be popular.  Maybe you haven’t seen it, although even if you have you might want to re-read it and see if it can inspire you now.  🙂


Loving What You Own

When did you last look around your home with a critical eye? Are the things you have out, things you truly love and value?  And what about those things in boxes hidden around?

Whether you keep things out where you appreciate them or if you store them and rarely look at them – they take up valuable space.  It’s easy to become blind to the things around us, they become part of our normal landscape, and we forget to even think about them.

It’s challenging to take that emotional step backwards to evaluate your belongings.  Yet, If they are … [click to keep reading]


And the question remains, what are you going to find a better home for?

Donating Process

Last week I talked about how organizing is really a process and therefore is never finished.  There’s always more to be done.  If we don’t continue the process of keeping things organized, our homes easily become overrun with clutter – in the purest sense of the word.  We need to discover the process that will work for each of us and for each thing that needs a process – creating the routines for organization.

For many people the process of getting rid of still good things can be the most challenging – especially once you’ve reached that relatively organized state.  Also, making it part of the flow of life means continual work.

“How do I know it’s time to get rid of this?”

Sometimes I struggle to get rid of things – they’re not broken, or torn, or worn out, or stained – they are still quite usable.  Yet, do I use them?  I’ve gotten to the point that if I am not actually using them and cannot imagine using them (sometimes from trying to force myself to make it usable) they go into my donate pile.  The thing is that if you are not using it, is there a good reason to keep it?  I find that I am using things I love and appreciate, so if something isn’t getting used, it’s more likely that I don’t love it.

“I won’t have time to drop this off at a nonprofit for a while.”

If you’ve ever heard me present, I talk about how we’re not finished until we get the things out of our home, out of our garage, out of our car.  This is true – if it’s still in your possession you are not free from the things.  Although this is not a good reason to stop yourself from moving things further along in the process of getting it out of your space.  More important than being able to quickly get it out of your space is to ask how much you’re accumulating that’s waiting to leave?  If you have a lot (and you get the define that for yourself), then you need to make time – schedule it – to get the things out of your space.

“I don’t have time to go through [insert space in your home] to purge things.”

First, theoretically your spaces aren’t in need of a major overhaul – we’re talking about maintaining organizing as part of the normal life.  If we integrate the process of organizing into normal living, we find a way to naturally purge things that are ready to go to their next home.  If you are standing in front of your closet and recognize a shirt that no longer fits, is stained, you now dislike, whatever the case may be – pull it out right then.  The same thing applies in any space – when you see something and recognize that it’s no longer useful to you, it’s time to remove it from that space.

“I can’t believe how much has accumulated so quickly.”

First, congratulations on noticing – that’s great and means that you can take steps to deal with it.  After noticing, the next step is to deal with it and create systems to help limit the accumulation in the future.  This is when systems are important – a way to create a flow for things to leave rather than collect.  From my experience, things collect – period.  If we don’t stay on top of it, the next time we look, it’s grown: kipple is the name I always think of (and wrote about).


The way that I deal with the process of getting rid of things is to have a box in one room – near a door, yet out of the way.  Each time I come across something that is no longer used or loved it makes it’s way to the box.  Once the box begins to fill up, I spend time listing the items in the box for tax purposes and close the top of the box.  Often I do this after I get a call from a charity that is scheduling pick-ups in my area – and I do this regardless of how full or empty the box.  If we’ve been busier with the purging, it really is once the box is full and then I evaluate whether I want to wait for the next phone call for a pick-up or if I want to drop it off myself.

It’s a great way to help kids learn the process – put a box in a corner or in the closet and involve your kids in deciding what they’ve outgrown – both clothes and toys.  I find a box placed strategically the easiest in helping the process of moving things out – whether that is one box or a box per room or per floor.  Remember, whatever works for you and helping you keep things moving through.

Organizing – a process not an end point

Sometimes people I know personally are self-conscious about letting me see their spaces – afraid I might critique their systems.  Other times, I get requests for ways to tweak and improve on things.  Fortunately I love what I do and am happy to talk about ideas and even get hands on.

Recently I was with some family and she was probably a little of both of the above – a little concerned I might critique things and probably more excited at my ideas and help.

Now, let me preface everything else with admitting she does not really need much organizing help.  Her spaces are relatively uncluttered and organized.  Yet, this is part of my point – just because you have good systems in place doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth analyzing and tweaking.  This is the exact thing that is often missing and a struggle for people – it takes work to sit down and look through things are already mostly organized.  And this is how clutter can get out of control!

One of the spaces we did some physical hands on work with was on the garage.  I took some before pictures – what do you think about how it looks?

Is this really a before picture?

Before or after?

The challenge of organization is that it’s never really finished.  It’s about creating a system in order to simplify the process as life continues.  If we keep adding clothes to our closets and dressers without pulling anything out – we become overwhelmed with all the clothes we’ll need to go through to get organized again.  And of course, we need to pull out enough clothes to make up for what we’re adding.  This is one of the reasons the idea of “one in, one out” is so popular – it makes the process automatic and simple.

As I’ve said, I dislike absolute rules.  They don’t work for everyone.  I strongly resist the idea that I would have to get rid of a book or CD every time I brought a new one in, although I’d be OK with getting rid of something else entirely.  I think we need to follow guidelines that work for us and that respects what we value.

This means that we need to stay attentive to what is gathering around us.  First, we have to notice what our surroundings look like, including the insides of closets and drawers, as well as our basements, attics, and garages.  Second, we have to make time to deal with things once we’ve noticed them.  Third, are there ways to simplify the process of getting rid of things?  My husband and I have a donate bin that we throw things into as we come across them and once it’s full I list the items and get it out of the house.

During my visit, she and I spent a little less than 2 hours working in the garage.  By the end, we had created 3 small bags of trash and had about 2 small bags for donating.  Many things got moved around – grouping like items together.  Now, we did not literally go through every box and bin though we did look inside every one.  As I already stated, she was already pretty organized so the boxes and bins were what they looked like.

As you saw, it didn’t need an overhaul, but it did appreciate some refining of things.  And although I work with people in much more extreme situations, I also have clients closer to this situation – wanting some help in tweaking the relatively organized stuff already in the space.

Remember, organizing is not an end point – it is the continual process we need to incorporate into our lives.

Review: Ziploc Brand Flexible Totes

4 out of 5 stars

Ziploc Brand Flexible Totes


  • flexible which makes them easy to stuff them places and fold up when not in use
  • semi-transparent plastic makes it easier to see what’s inside
  • breathable, mesh strip under the zipper
  • rectangular (I like the corners as less potential for wasted space)
  • shape makes them easily stackable
  • comes with built in handles
  • sturdy (claim it can handle 40 pounds)


  • only 2 sizes
  • breathable areas mean that you want to be mindful of where you store these as bugs and dirt can get in through the mesh


OK, so let me confess that I have a bias toward storage containers with corners.  Although round or even rounded corners can be nice for some things, I tend to feel like there is wasted space – either in the container itself or in its placement in the home.  If I can avoid wasting space, I want to – and for once, there is a flexible plastic storage container with this corner idea in mind, the Ziploc Flexible Totes, yet another product I’ve been able to use and review from my involvement with NAPO.

Often with these “new” tools for organizing, I can admire the designs and ideas, but struggle to think how and where I would use them for myself.  I already have systems and tools in place that work for me.  These flexible totes were one of these, though I also wanted to use them, I do like the idea.  Last year as I was beginning work on one of our rooms, I realized I had at least one good use for them – some fabric I had laying around.  Right away I opened up the flexible tote and moved the fabric in and now the tote is squished a little to fit under a shelf.  It’s been a great solution for me.

Ziploc flexible tote holding fabric scraps

Ziploc flexible tote holding fabric scraps

Since they are plastic, they are sold folded flat and they are easy to return to this compact size when they are not in use.  They are easy to fill, as there is a zipper that goes around 3 of the sides, and the top can be simply folded back as you fill the tote.  The plastic is sturdy; Ziploc says these are thicker and more durable than their Big Bags and each size can hold up to 40 pounds.  They also have built in handles to allow for easy transportation.

Just under the zipper is a strip of mesh that allows the plastic and it’s contents to breathe.  This can be good in order to stop moisture and mustiness from developing.  On the other hand, it also means that dirt and bugs can get in through that same mesh area – therefore, just be mindful of where and how you use these flexible totes.

I find it a bit surprising that there are only 2 sizes.  Maybe I’m a bit odd, but part of me wishes there was a smaller size of these.  They talk about being able to be squeezed under the bed, though I see this as impractical – they are much deeper than any bed I have see and then you are wasting the storage space they provide to store them under a bed.

Speaking of the bed, I had been reusing the plastic zipper container that our comforter came in – that is, until it broke.  Aha, Ziploc flexible totes! The XXL size comfortably fits our king size down comforter while the XL size has extra room after the duvet cover and winter sheet set.  Depending on the weight of what you store in your flexible totes, I have found that I am comfortable grabbing only one handle on my XXL tote with the comforter in it.


Ziploc flexible totes holding all the winter bed linens

Ziploc flexible totes holding all the winter bed linens

One client I worked with used one of these totes for storing her sewing fabric and pillows (for a project), which made the material easily visible and accessible, while minimizing the pet fur.  Overall I like these Ziploc flexible totes.  Consider if these could meet any needs you have – remember I am not a fan of people getting organizing supplies until the specific need has been identified! 😉

Treasures from Others

I enjoy trying to share my excess stuff with others – friends first and then to one of the stores.  I approach friends and ask, “Is this something you’d like to have?”  With one particular friend, let’s call her Joanna; she almost always takes whatever I’ve offered.  After a handful of months, I noticed stacked in a corner the sugar and creamer containers Joanna had taken most recently. The last thing I want to do is add to someone else’s clutter.

Stuff from other people comes into our homes – one way or another – from gifts or sharing or inheritance.  We all have them – things from those we love that don’t quite fit our personality or style.  Sometimes these are the most difficult items to make decisions about.  It holds some value in one way or another for us.  Is it simply the memory?  Is it guilt?  Is it a sense of obligation? Or is it something else entirely?

When working with clients, I often ask them after hearing that it’s from someone else, “Do you think this person would want to add to your clutter?”

I know this is the last thing I would want – it turns out I gave a gift to someone who was bothered by part of the design of it, I told them emphatically to pass it along to someone else, PLEASE.

William Morris known partially for his involvement in the Arts and Crafts Movement said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” If something is not useful or beautiful to you, wherever it came from, is there a reason to keep it?

The last time I visited, I saw it sitting in a corner.  On some level it made me sad since they shared how they don’t love it, yet because it was a gift from me, it stays.

Maybe I have too noble expectations of people – that they too would not want to contribute to anyone else’s clutter.  It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone would want someone to keep a gift that isn’t adding value to his or her life and space.

We each get to make decisions for our own life – is it worth it to have things around that don’t make you happy?  Keep the lovely memory of the gift, the care from the person giving the gift, and let the item itself move into someone else’s life who might treasure it dearly.

Consider Changing Your Routine

I’ve probably said this before; I like routines.  It’s soothing for me to have a plan.  This doesn’t mean I won’t (or can’t) change my plans; nevertheless I enjoy making rough plans.  For years, Thursday and Friday were my prime laundry days.  I certainly had to change that for vacations and when the days filled up with other things, yet I would simply choose another more fitting day for that week.  When I started taking a class, it made sense to completely change my laundry plan.  I decided Tuesday and Wednesday would work better.

The strangest thing happened – at the end of the week I felt tremendously lighter.  It was like a load had been lifted (no laundry pun intended!).  I was no stricter with myself about being flexible.  I was simply less stressed.  And I don’t have an explanation.  Yet not understanding the logic of this doesn’t make it less true.  I feel tremendously better and months later, it holds true.

This is something I would not predict – for myself or anyone else.  We all have things we have to accomplish each week and each month.  This is true whether we plan for those things or not.  I certainly believe that we each have our own way of approaching things – from planning to how we handle our chores.

It can be amazing the effect of making some small alterations to our behaviors. They cannot always be predicted or even predictable.  This is one of the reasons I am a fan of trying things out, looking at things like an experiment and seeing what the effects are.   Years ago I did this with mowing the lawn.  I varied all sorts of factors from the basics of whether I mowed the front or back yard first, to directions and height.  This also revealed something rather strange to me – doing the backyard first left me more tired at the end.  I see no logic to this, yet it held true over and over.  If I had not experimented, I would not know this.

Have you ever noticed a difference in your energy level when you are caught up – when you don’t have tons of things left on your list to do?  This is what I think about with the “eat the frog” idea – you do the most important and hardest things first each day.  When I apply this, I feel more on top of things – I don’t have them hanging over me, knowing I still need to get to them.

These are some of the ways I notice changes happening around me.  And those changes can have profound effects on me.  As I’ve talked about before, embrace change – the freedom to play with it in your life can open up doors you didn’t even recognize before.  This doesn’t mean you need to regiment your life into routines (who wants that degree of control?), yet experiment and find your own way to be lighter and happier.

So Little Space

I remember with some embarrassment how excited I was about our house before we moved in.  Walking through the spaces, imagining how spacious most of it seemed.  The full bath was admittedly tiny, yet just across the hall was a big linen closet.  Many of the spaces seemed full of potential.  Using the spaces wasn’t quite as simple.  Whether you realize the space limitations before or after you move in, you still want to make the most of what you have available.

When you space is physically small, the first thing to consider is going vertical with your storage options.  Although many of our rooms are small, the taller pieces make the most of the available height – from our over 6 foot tall bookshelves to the tall and narrow “lingerie” dressers.  In the bathroom, we had a new medicine cabinet and matching cabinet installed over the toilet – creating some good depth and enclosed storage options.  Using the vertical space can mean furniture although it can also be simply installing some things onto the wall higher up.  Is there room for a stand-alone pantry?  Remember if you go vertical, keep in mind how easy or hard it is to access those things on top, and opt to store lesser-used items in the hard to reach places.

Small bathroom- medicine cabinet and cabinet over the toilet

Small bathroom- medicine cabinet and cabinet over the toilet (no room for an over-the-toilet rack and pedestal sink so no storage room underneath)

When dealing with a physically small space, one of the main tasks is to figure out what is critical to have in the space.  What can live elsewhere?  In our tiny bathroom, it felt luxurious when we got the cabinet over the toilet installed; we suddenly had this additional storage space.  Only the frequently used items live in the bathroom, and the rest are divided between the linen closet and the half-bath upstairs.  The bedroom linens don’t live in the linen closet at all – it made more sense to store those upstairs closer to the bedroom in a chest we have.  What absolutely needs to be kept in the limited space available to you?  Where can you store the back-up items or lesser-used items?

That linen closet I was so excited about is too deep and the fixed shelves too far apart for our ideal use.  To deal with this, I started with those items that could be stacked in front of each other – the towels have two stacks, so once we get through the front stack, it’s easy to access the second stack.  This is surprisingly not uncommon – I have seen this too frequently, it makes me wonder what people think when designing closets.

There are several options for making the most of closets and pantries – consider a Lazy Susan, maybe even a double tiered one – these can be especially useful in closets or pantries that go around corners, which can be challenging to use effectively.  Any tools that are double-tiered can be useful, as long as you don’t need to get behind it for things.  Depending on the items and placement, an under-the-shelf basket can help utilize the space well.  Often what helps is to put the front items into baskets, bins, or containers of some kind.  If you use this, you can pull out the container in one movement and easily get at the things behind them.

I’m a big fan of thinking non-traditionally.  Where can you store things that aren’t a “normal” place?  I’ve shared before how I purged some shoes to make room for the partial bookshelf in the bottom of my tiny closet – this isn’t where you’d typically think of putting books.  I’m currently using part of a bookcase to store office supplies – they are behind closed doors so it’s not obvious and they’re in a different room from the printer and mail supplies.  You’ve probably heard or seen people storing various items in their hutch – from photo albums or kids art supplies, not your traditional table linens, china, or silver.  We sometimes think of under-the-bed storage as an option – and with the canvas bags this becomes more of an option when your bed isn’t high enough for the traditional bins.  You can apply this same idea to under your dressers and other furniture – and keep it relatively hidden.

One of the popular ways to store things is to use the basement or attached garage.  I’ve seen people install virtually floor to ceiling shoe racks – using both non-traditional storage options and thinking vertically.  The basement and attached garage can also be useful for those back-up items – you move things from there into your home when needed and stock back up to the garage or basement.

There are such a plethora of options for how to make the most of your limited space.  Of course, you need to make sure you have exactly what you need and use – there’s frequently an opportunity to purge, even if it’s just a handful of things.  We almost have too many options for storing things – it can be tricky just sorting through them.  Also, you want to think about how you use things, make things work for you – despite much acclaim for storing cleaning supplies where you use them, this is often problematic when you have limited space.  Can you embrace the challenge to make the most of the space you have?

If not, call me!  I now offer virtual organizing. 😉

Review: 1Password

4.5 out of 5 stars

Password program for Mac, Windows, iPad, iPhone, Android


  • easy to use
  • option for it to create strong passwords
  • secure
  • trial version & 100% money back guarantee
  • syncs via Dropbox, so it’s always current
  • browser extensions, easy to use in Firefox (at least) with fill in and saving options
  • organizes software licenses as well
  • options for tagging the info
  • available to attach files i.e. photocopies of important papers
  • credit card fill-in options for easy online shopping
  • usable on many devices – Mac, Windows, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android


  • price for each device, so although we bought it for the computers, had to purchase again for the iPad
  • browser extension can get annoying with popping up offering to save the login info even when you don’t want to (though it’s smart enough to know when you’ve already saved the info)
  • passwords created and not saved in the program can be difficult to transcribe – capital I appears the same as lower case l


For several months, my husband and I have talked about how useful a password program would be for us – a way that we could both access shared accounts easily and more importantly, securely.  With the LinkedIn problems recently, this can be even more important – how secure are your accounts from being hacked?  Since my husband enjoys research more than I, he found one that he liked.  It still took time before we made the purchase and installed 1Password onto both our computers.

You probably already know that you should have different passwords for all your different accounts.  These passwords, to be as secure as possible, need to have various combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols.  Most importantly they should not be whole words since that makes it easier to hack.  This makes creating, remembering, and using passwords challenging.  You don’t want to have a list sitting around or a file on your computer simply listing them.  This is where a password program comes in useful – they make it secure and accessible to you.  1Password is easy to use; the fields are clearly defined and simple to fill in.

1Password has the option of creating secure passwords for you.  You can do this for a site you visit regularly, or you can simply ask to create a password.  I recently was working on my computer for someone else, wanting a strong password, yet since it wasn’t my data didn’t want to save it to 1Password, and had them create one.  I copied the password and as I went to read it aloud to her and have her write it down, realized it wasn’t possible to distinguish between a couple of letters – it was either a lower case L or a capital I.  This wouldn’t be a problem if you use it with your own devices.

My husband and I share the program between us so that if the need arises, we can have access to all the accounts.  We each have independent access and are never dependent on having the other around.  We have it set up to sync with Dropbox, into a shared folder between us, which means that it is also always up to date.  We’ve tried out using it for tracking our software licenses, photocopies of birth certificates, as well as all the various logins we need use.  Between the main login place where we can customize the “title” with our names and the option to tag each entry with our names – we never get confused as to whose login it is.

Although I appreciate the option of having 1Password on different devices, I dislike that there’s a separate charge.  For the computer, 1Password charges $49.99.  If you also want it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, it will cost you an additional $14.99.  It appears to currently be free for your Android phone.  I have come to rely on it for my computer, and decided it wasn’t worth it for my iPad – I was that disappointed in the additional fee, although my husband did get 1Password for his iPad.

For the most part, I use it primarily with my browser and in my case that’s is Firefox.  This means that there is an icon in the browser that I click, type in the one password I have to remember to open 1Password, it’s smart enough to list the website I am on which I click and all the necessary data is input into the website and it opens for me.  The password in the browser resets fairly quickly, keeping my information safe, and it’s easy enough to reenter that one password if I need it for another site.  The browser option also pops up whenever I go to a new site and have to create/enter login information.  This makes it easy to save new information when I need and provides a good cue that it hasn’t been saved yet (since it does know when it’s already a saved entry).  Although when I am working on my computer with someone else, 1Password pops up offering to save the information, over and over again.  This can get annoying as I recently discovered although I don’t often do this work and I can appreciate that it’s simply doing it’s job.

1Password is a great program to safely and easily keep our online activity secure.  It simplifies our lives so we can focus on what matters – not worrying about how clever and obscure our passwords are and whether we can remember which ones go with which website.  It’s a single place to keep all the important information we need to track – from those websites, to our credit card information, to software licenses – it’s all the personal information we want to keep safe yet know where to find it when we need it.

Anthropomorphizing Your Belongings

After watching a video with my mom recently, we started talking about anthropomorphizing.  My observation of the video was that the animals were being credited with some human characteristics.  She agreed and commented sometimes we go out of our way to avoid recognizing “human” characteristics in animals and shared an experience she’d had.  She observed some elk sliding down a hill, front legs splayed in front of them while their haunches was on the ground.  Now, even that is cute, but after they got to the bottom of the hill, they jumped up and ran back to the top and did it again.  They were sledding, it was play – this served no other purpose.

Yeah, so what does this have to do with organizing?

Anthropomorphizing isn’t limited to animals.  We can view our belongings with a certain amount of personality.  We might be reluctant to throw things away or even give them away.  This always makes me think of The Velveteen Rabbit, where a toy can become real once it’s owner really and truly loves it.

What we tell ourselves about our stuff affects how we deal with it.  Some people throw things out easily once they’ve lost their usefulness while others have a hard time parting with them at all.  And this is just talking about when the things might need to leave – what about how we treat our belongings while they are in our possession?

There’s another argument that a certain amount of anthropomorphizing could be helpful.  If you loved your keys and cell phone, you be less likely to misplace them.  You’d be conscious of them and where you laid them down – mindful of how you treated them, maximizing their chance to be useful.

If you valued your things as if they personality, or maybe more that they had a job to do – to help you – you might want to help them accomplish this.

  • Your papers – accessible and logical so you can find what you need when you need it.
  • Your clothes – arranged and easy to access whenever you want
  • Your dishes – clean and ready to be used whenever you need
  • Your photos and memorabilia – available when you want to share it with someone or even to take a trip down memory lane for yourself
  • Your jewelry – if you know where all of it is, you can wear it when you want
  • Your décor – pleasing and rewarding for you so that you would smile as you walk through your home
  • Your random lost items – peace at being able to find exactly what you need when you need it
  • Your “whatever” – to make your life simpler and more enjoyable

Show your things your compassion and care so they can help you – the give and take that relationships require.  And even if we think of it differently, we do have relationships with things, so let’s nurture that.

Once your things have stopped helping you, it’s time to let them move on.  If appropriate, moving them onto someone else who can appreciate what they have to offer.  What better blessing that gifting that usefulness to someone else?  If they’ve outlived their ability to serve, then simply letting them go.

If our things had feelings, I imagine they’d be sad to become clutter since they served us so well, that’s not what they would want.  If you want a more magical approach, in The Velveteen Rabbit, although it looks like a dire end to a well-loved toy who sheds a real tear as he’s about to be burned (the boy had Scarlet Fever), the Nursery Magic Fairy comes, kisses him, and makes him a real rabbit – who the boy sees romping in the wild and thinks of his old toy.  Even with things, it is still a relationship – what would you do to treat that relationship with care and respect?

Information Collecting

You might say that I am an information junkie.  I love learning and there is so much out there I could learn.  And it seems like it’s getting easier and easier to have access to a plethora of information – at your fingertips, whenever you want.  I will hold myself back from a rant about the reliability of this information, yet with the Internet so accessible, there’s tons of information to be had.  We might not stop and think about our collecting in this realm.

Our collecting information might be fairly limited to certain topics or it might be more general.  It doesn’t matter which one it is if you have a tendency to collect it.  It’s relatively easy to collect information and physically less cluttered if it’s digital.  Nevertheless, it’s collecting in either form.  We don’t see the space in the same way when it’s digital, yet this doesn’t mean it’s not getting cluttered.

First, is your collecting of information getting in your way? How much time and energy are you spending on collecting this information? Are you referencing this information again? Can you find what you know you saved when you want it again?  Do you have guilt that you aren’t using the information you’ve collected?

Just like with most stuff that you can collect, if you are keeping it, you don’t want to be controlled by it.  It’s there to serve and help you. Period. You also want to be able to easily find it.  Since information these days is both physical and digital, it can be challenging to keep everything together.  (I’m moving strongly into the digital realm, as it’s searchable and saves paper.)  It doesn’t matter which one suits you as long you make it work for you.

Sometimes this means taking a hard look at what your response is to information.  Do you have a desire to collect it?  If you collect it and then do something with it, then there’s nothing wrong.  If you seem to have information that you haven’t even looked at, it’s time to consider what matters in your life.  Do you want to spend your time and energy going through and examining all that information? (Are you really going to make time and energy to do that?) More importantly, are you going to continue to collect information for this unknown future point when you will use it?

How much are you collecting because it “might be useful one day”? Do you lack the confidence that you could find the information when it became relevant?  Have you thought about how fast information changes, so saving something that might be relevant down the road might really be saving irrelevant information?

I struggle with these limits.  As I’ve already said, I love learning.  When I look on my computer or at my papers, I’ve been amazed by how much I’ve saved.  It’s hard to part with them – yet this is exactly what I’ve been doing – examining what I’ve kept and tossing what I can.  I’ve also made some changes in how I handle information: I’m starting to scan certain things and I’m re-organizing the digital information so I can access it more readily.

As with all organizing projects, I see it as a process.  Your vision can change at any moment.  Additionally, our first step really needs to be examining what we’re collecting and considering what happens for us with collecting.  Even the most organized person collects – it’s what they do with the collecting that differentiates them.  Is the information you are collecting worth your time and energy? Challenge yourself with your answer – it can open up a new way of viewing your stuff.