What were your most fundamental changes?

Frankie_in_zone_7July 12, 2011

For organizing-- time, stuff, life--there may be minor changes or ones that make a more fundamental shift in how we live. "Size" is not the issue, but impact. Sort of the difference between churning or really fixing a system. I think a lot of fundamental organizing changes require a real habit or discipline but some could be simply tossing some kind of dead weight. I also think most involve getting rid of something ( not necessarily a tangible) but some could involve adding something. Most probably involve simplifying but maybe not.

I'm trying out giving up, or nearly so, magazine subscriptions; all have lapsed currently. And maybe not buying any off the stand either. I can trace issues of time and space and clutter and churning to reading, piling , sorting, ripping, filing; not to mention a brain burden of ideas for more and better stuff , desire to change or rearrange existing stuff , more recipes to try. Immight be able to create a habit of enjoying the magazine and tossing but that has escaped me so far.

Anyway, that's not earth-shaking but it's different from a goal of having a

better filing system.

Like downsizing to a smaller home or no yard might be more fundamental than having a better system for garden tools. Or having just one purse more so than having a purse organizer system and inner purse.

But what might be some things that made the most difference in your organizing and quality of life? I don't intend to get too off track, but I guess it could even be exercise , or religion , leads to more organization in ways that can't be achieved by a better shelf organizer!

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Mindset chganges.
Do It Now.
Progress Not Perfection.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 7:59AM
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Put three things away every time I leave a room. EVERY time.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:41PM
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Have a home for everything.
Don't put it down, put it away.
Use it or lose it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:43PM
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Those are good! I will add: being mindful of the real utility to me, or lack thereof, of various things, so that I don't keep moving around things I don't use. Meaning, putting them away does get them out of sight, but they're still there ready to pop up again. I'm finding I've kept things for reasons that may have been okay, but are not good enough to fit the life I want to lead.

If something is interesting or clever or has a use, I will keep it, thinking, surely I will use that or enjoy it again. But you can only use so many things!

So, luann's "have a home for everything" is still a key part of that, because one can see how the fewer, simpler your things, the easier to have a home for them. Sometimes when I'm struggling to find the THING's "home", trying to think of some additional device or way of storing, it just clicks--this thing does not belong in MY home!

Add also, for me, stay out of stores as long as possible. Shop at home!

Recognizing the role of the Internet and smartphone in how I use information is another. I am no techno-wizard, but now, most of my filed "references" seem pointless--I would do an updated search instead. Styles (all kinds) become outdated and I can view dozens of photos with a few clicks. I still love real books, but don't need as much of how-to/ref's, for same reason, would be dated so soon, plus already reading a lot on the Internet.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 5:52PM
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"If something is interesting or clever or has a use, I will keep it, thinking, surely I will use that or enjoy it again. But you can only use so many things! "

My take on this one is "If something is interesting or clever or has a use, BUT IF I HAVEN'T USED IT WITHIN THE LAST TWO YEARS, OUT IT GOES. GONE.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Mine is a work in progress, but we donated boxes and boxes of books and kept only DH's favorite cookbooks, gardening reference books, and a few other books. Freed up a lot of space.

If I haven't worn it in two years, it is gone, but I can't seem to do that with my craft stuff.

Lately, I have started wiping down the entire kitchen counter and the top edge of the back-splash. That way, I must clear it off. I donated several decorative items, such as a cookie jar that we used for storing tea bags. It is nice to have a totally clean kitchen counter with just a few items on it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 2:12PM
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I'm trying to get to the point following of a unifying principle that is mostly like camlan's Leave No Evidence. It's like I am a little one- person tornado, leaving a little mess or project here and there. May be akin to ADD, I dont know, or is a result of the myth of multitasking--so I'm cooking and doing laundry and 2 or 3 other things and yes they get done, but not the final " closeout" in which you put everything away and clean up. I swear I think I would be better off to read a good book between steps of a single project than to have 3 things going at once.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 6:04PM
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I recently made a big change in my life. For the past few weeks, I have been changing my wake-up time, with the goal of moving it back 3-4 hours. I'm finding that I LOVE being up before dawn, and there is so much more daytime for getting things accomplished, especially personal projects like genealogy and scrapbooking. I like doing that kind of work when my mind is clear and refreshed and I feel more energetic (in the evenings, I'm too tired to get much done, and there are too many distractions). I can also get out for a walk very early, while the air is still cool. There is still plenty of time in the afternoons for cleaning and other chores.

On the downside, I can't do certain noisy tasks (e.g., vacuuming) in the early morning, while others are sleeping. And there is very little time for relaxing after dinner: I can only clean up the kitchen, feed the cat, and get to bed while the rest of the family is watching TV or enjoying music.

At first, it was hard to fall asleep so early, but my strategy has been to shave off about a half-hour daily from my normal amount of sleep; thus, I'm always sleepy by bedtime, but not so sleep-deprived that I'd crave a nap.

This change has really shaken me out of my rut! I started it because of plans to attend a convention in mid-August (for that week, I'll have to get up very early each morning to commute to the conference site, so I wanted to adjust in advance), but I'm thinking of making it a permanent change.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 12:50PM
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it is some time now that I moved my wake up time to 5.30. I leave for work at 7.30, and these 2 hours are invaluable! (love to see the sunrise too) Wish I could go to bed at 10.30 though. Unfortunately 11.00 is the earliest I can manage with a night owl husband!

Maria in Chios, Greece

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:29PM
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We're a pack (flock?) of night owls, too. Late at night, I usually get a "second wind" that keeps me going till 2:00 a.m. That's why it's not easy for me to go to bed at 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.

I always had short nights (5-6 hours) till I retired. When I didn't have to set the alarm, I discovered that my natural sleep pattern was 7-1/2 to 8 hours! Who knew?

Getting up so early, I'm enjoying this new view of the world. It's funny how many small daily routines are affected. For example, with one bathroom in our small house, I normally would have to wait to take a shower after my DH was finished, but now I can get one before he's awake ... so now I can get dressed and run errands much earlier. OTOH, if I have breakfast before 6:00 a.m., it's a long stretch till dinner, so I'm going to have to shift our dinnertime. But I will still get more done in the daytime.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 5:49PM
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My most fundamental changes always start by looking at what's not working for me. I remodeled my kitchen, laundry and bathroom around this principle, which has served me well. For example, I didn't have floor or closet space for dirty laundry, so I created bins in the laundry closet for sorting the clothes. (Sorting clothes was the thing that most tripped me up.) Now, all I have to do is ''stuff and start'' the washing machine, since the sorting is already done.

I used to do a ''swing and fling'' from the garage door, to get items into the recycling or trash bins located in the garage. They didn't always make the bin, so we cut a couple of holes in the wall with a door I can open, so I could drop the items straight in. When towels weren't getting hung up in the bathroom, I switched from rods to hooks, since hanging a towel on an hook takes one motion as opposed to two or three. I save receipts, but needed a simple way to put my hands on them when I needed to, since the last dozen things I tried weren't working for me. More importantly, was figuring out a simple way to Get It Filed, for everyone. (Paperwork, no matter how small, seems to break down most in getting it to the file.) When I finally figured out how to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) it, the difference in how things work is like night and day.

When trying to figure something out, I think about what takes the least amount of motion or effort to make it happen. Simplifying by de-cluttering, or putting infrastructure into place (Thank You Talley Sue, who reinforced this for me in a way I'll always remember) to make that happen, was a fundamental change! For instance, before I had a closet system in the bedroom, I could never find anything in my closet no matter how many times I cleaned it out. I don't think I believed I was worth spending the money or organization structure on. Once I got over that, my life got much easier! By starting at the place of what wasn't working for me, everything else fell into place.

I guess my defining motto would be...One Motion, Never Two!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 1:26PM
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I resolved to use the space that I have instead of always worrying that I didn't have enough.

I have a bizarre problem deciding what to put in drawers or on shelves because I always feel it has to MAKE SENSE - be convenient, logical, organized, and optimally use the space. So I often have empty drawers (or drawers full of dead stuff), or shelves, with floors around them piled with stuff, because I just can't see the right answer for that drawer.

So what I try to do now is put the THINGS I have into the SPACE that I have, and just count on myself to learn what is where. The house is small enough that even if it is up or downstairs or in the other room when I need it, it's not far away. And so what if I now have power tools and books lined up together in the basement - I know where they are when I need them.

My other change was to determine to make space for the stuff that I have, rather than abusing myself for having too much. Yes, I know I have too much, but unless it's absolutely obvious that it can go, I organize it first, THEN I sort and get rid of the excess. Or, maybe not.

That leads to my third new principle, which is that I forgive myself for being who I am - I collect, I obsess, I overdo things... those are my strengths in other parts of my life, and so I can't overly abuse myself for those same qualities applied differently. I just have to manage the stuff (via my first two resolutions) so that it doesn't make for a cluttered, disorganized life.

Much of what Claire de Luna said above also applies. And Frankie, I leave little messes exactly like that - my idea of happiness is when I am alone at home for the day and can start (spread out) all the tools and materials for what I want to take on that day, and then go from one project to the other as the mood and time are right). It's pretty funny, really, but I make progress in a way that I rarely can when everyone is home.

One of my worst mess-makers is actually that because I do my projects in the house living area (kitchen table, for instance) rather than in a workshop, I have to clean up after every day, which paradoxically messes me up more since I always put it away as if to start again the next day, which never happens. So when I can, I also create work areas (eg, for stripping paint I have a set-up outside for the summer which stays intact between sessions).


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:20PM
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Have a home for everything.
Have a convenient spot to accumulate items for donation.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 3:44PM
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My greatest change came from the concept that I was blessing my home and family by keeping house. It changed my whole attitude of feeling burdened and resentful, to one of feeling grateful and privileged for having a nice home and a family to keep it for. Sure, I wish that meant I love washing windows now. It's doesn't. I guess any career, project, work etc has it's mundane moments, but as a whole, I now see housework \ organising my home, ie,keeping a home, as a gift, not a burden. And from that stems a whole lot of other changes in perception about what I value in my home and what is just clutter.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:52PM
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