The magic of sorting
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the “stuff” you have accumulated?
Start with sorting—putting all similar items together. This step is the keystone to getting organized.
You start with this step with anything you want to organize: an office, a man cave, a garage, a closet, kids’ toys…you name it.
Start with high-level sorting
Let’s say you need to organize your office. First, be sure to set enough time aside for the job.
Start by putting all similar items together. Put all office supplies in one box, all books in another box, all paper requiring action in another box, and all paper to be filed in yet another box.
Start in one corner of the office, putting each item you touch with other items of its kind.
Label each box with what’s inside it.
Move to detail-level sorting
After you’ve done the high-level sort, do a more detailed sort within each box.
In the Office Supplies box, sort by putting all pens together, all envelopes together, all post-it notes together, etc.
In this picture, we put similar types of lures together.
Pretty soon you’ll see what you have in excess (who needs 30 pens?)—which makes it easier to decide what to give away or trash.
Assign a home
Next, decide where to best locate the items. Think “zones” of activity.
General rule of thumb: if it’s easy to use, you’ll use it!
For example, if you can easily reach the filing cabinet from your chair, you’ll be 5 times more likely to file papers right away.
Shop for containers
Now is the time to buy containers. Be sure to pre-measure the space and the items, and bring your shopping list with you.
In this example, the fly-fishing lures are contained, labelled, and easy to reach from the chair.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your “stuff,” start by sorting; it’s the very best way to reduce overwhelm, assess what you have, and get started on the road to feeling in control again!