Clutter comes from many sources; a primary one is what we call delayed decision making.
That’s when things pile up because you haven’t made a decision to move them on to their next stop: being put away, thrown away, taken to the cleaners, returned to their owner, tossed in the Goodwill bag, shredded, mailed back or foisted off on someone else.
It’s understandable to want to leave everything out until you finish whatever you’re working on, but if you’re working on more than one thing at once and you’ve got the kitchen table, the dining table, your desk and the living room coffee table covered with projects, there’s no room to eat dinner or set down a tea cup.
Here’s how to combat this problem:
- Make it easy to put things away
- Get in the habit of putting things away
- Embrace the idea of completion
Make it easy to put things away by getting a box or special
case (for jewelry making, for example) to keep your project supplies in. Use a
container if the place you work is different from the place you store
the supplies so you can easily carry them back there. Or set aside some
space on a bookshelf or in a drawer in the room you work in to stash
Get in the habit of putting things away by remembering and visualizing
how you want the space to look when you’re not working. Think of
putting things away as setting them up for your next session.
These techniques make tidying feel like a positive and beneficial activity, rather than a big drag that you want to avoid.
Completion means that even if your project is unfinished, you still put things away after each session of working on it. Don’t rely on seeing your stuff out on the table to remind you to finish. If you’re busy and have several projects going, that kind of reminder just doesn’t work. It often has the opposite effect; to make you feel guilty that you haven’t finished!
For each session there are three steps: get out your supplies, work on the project, put everything away. Don’t stop after step two!