Spring signifies a time of new beginnings and growth. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, we begin to abandon our chunky wool sweaters for lighter ware. We’re also able to realize how much we’ve accumulated over winter. Spring is also synonymous with spring cleaning, a time to purge all the junk (physical and mental) that we have piled up over the cold months of being indoors.
In her book Unclutter Your Life in One Week, Erin Rooney Doland (2009 Gallery Books) takes readers on a journey of her personal battle to get rid of all of the clutter in her life. Doland describes clutter as a distraction. She says it can come in many forms – physical, time management, mental, and bad systems. Doland breaks down the decluttering process into seven areas, each which she recommends doing on a different day. By using her system, she promises that by the end of a full week, your life will be clutter-free.
While it may not be practical for the average person to complete all the tasks in one week, Doland creates a very methodical and systematic way for beginners to start organizing their lives. Instead of just merely telling you what to do, Doland also mentions why you should get rid of certain items.
For example, Doland mentions two reason to keep documents. The first reason is to (CYA) cover your ass, so she suggests keeping documents related to your identity, your job / work, and any other documents that could cause you grief later if you lost them and needed to prove something to someone. The second reason to keep documents would be to extend your knowledge. This would include items such as manuals, organizational charts and research that is too large to remember on its own.
When rearranging your workspace, Doland recommends three major fixes to start. First, clear a walkway for easy entry and exit. Second, take a look at your lighting to make sure you can see well, but without too much glare. Lastly, Doland also recommends checking the ergonomics of your workspace to ensure you are comfortable and will not end up with a back, neck, or wrist ache later.
For getting chores done, Doland recommends creating cues, such as a playlist to motivate you. Examples of cues that we live by each day are traffic signals which tell us to stop or go or fire alarms which signify us that there is danger and we must leave the building we are in. By creating a cue, it will tell your brain that it is time to get something done.
All in all, Doland’s book is a must-read for people looking to organize their lives. Doland not only provides ways to organize your physical space, but also your communication processes such as email, meeting strategies and the ability to selectively say “yes.” No matter how much clutter you need to get rid of, even if you are only able to incorporate a few of Doland’s tactics, your life will be better for it.
Photo credit: Amazon.com / Erin Rooney Doland