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Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized: M Is For Maintenance

Are you one of those people who treats "getting organized" as a one-time event -- a project to be completed, a task to be crossed off your list? You set aside a weekend (or a week or a month) for going through your closet, your garage, your file system -- cleaning out things you don't need and creating systems for storing and accessing the stuff you use. Finally, you have everything in place and are "finished" -- and you know you'll never have to worry about clutter again, right? Wrong!

Preventing The Piles From Coming Back

There's very little that you can get away with doing just once and being done forever. You have to brush your teeth daily to prevent cavities, you have to balance your checkbook each month if you want to know where your money is going, you have to clean your house again and again to keep the dirt away -- so why should things be any different with organizing? Compare getting organized to getting your body in shape. You spend a couple of months focused on your health, eating right, burning the fat, toning and tightening until you achieve the perfect physique. Does that mean you're "done?" Hell no! You have to keep working to maintain that level of fitness. If you stop exercising, your muscles will disappear and the flab will come back -- and it's the same with your clutter. Wink

You see, "getting" organized is just one step in the process. Sure, that initial clean-out is a bit hard (just deciding what shoes you will and won't ever wear again, or what receipts the IRS might ask for 10 years down the road can be mentally exhausting!) But after that, you have to "keep" it organized -- and that's the real challenge! You need daily routines that encourage folks (be they family members or employees) to put things back where they belong before the piles start to build up again. You need methods for processing incoming documents, for filing important reference items and making sure "to-do's" are acted on in a timely fashion. You need a way of balancing your schedule so there's plenty of calendar space for all your priorities. Most importantly, you have to be aware when the systems you set up are no longer working as well as they used to -- and be willing to change them to better suit your current needs.

Organization is a journey, not a destination. And as with any journey, you will encounter roadblocks, have to make course corrections, and need to pull over for pit stops along the way. Perhaps that filing system you set up two years ago worked great until your kids started college or you took on that high-maintenance client -- now you need a whole new set of folders to accommodate the additional flood of paperwork. You might have been a cookie-baker in the past, but you've recently shifted your focus to cake decorating -- and maybe it's time for a little re-arranging in your cabinets, so your most-often-used equipment is right up front. You could be discovering that your "perfect closet" was only perfect until the first change of seasons -- and you're going to have to do some tweaking to accommodate those warm-weather (or cold-weather) outfits. Your mother-in-law may be coming to live with you, or you might have hired a new assistant, and suddenly your entire physical space is thrown into upheaval -- can you say, "re-design?" Or it might simply be that your bathroom storage has gotten clogged up with a lot of half-empty bottles (or your desk is full of inkless pens and excess rubber bands) -- and it's time for that annual "purge-and-consolidation" you love so much. That's what organizing is all about -- observe, evaluate, adjust, and enjoy!

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posted on: 11/22/2012 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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