Organizing 102: Solving the RIGHT Problem

You can label every durn thing in this room and STILL couldn't keep it tidy!

You can label every durn thing in this room and STILL couldn't keep it tidy!

Down in the basement playroom, surround by all the usual suspects - legos, board games, dress-up clothes, Playmobile, stuffed animals, school uniforms, lots of dirty socks, educational readers, books-galore, American Girl dolls and super heroes, we were sorting and pitching and chatting. This was about the 3rd time we had been in the playroom to work and my lovely client looked at me and said, "I just can't keep it organized." 

I am very protective of my clients, so my mind rushed to defend her and then I had this incredible A-HAH moment and I said, enthusiastically, "You do NOT have an organizational problem, you have a VOLUME problem." And it came to me that all the bins the world, all the hand made labels, all the tidying up schedules, all the encouraging talks to the children - none of it, NONE. OF. IT would FIX the problem that was simply, non-judgmentally, very commonly. . . TOO MUCH STUFF. We can't solve TOO MUCH STUFF with bins, labels, encouraging talks and tidying schedules. We must solve the volume problem with TURNING DOWN THE VOLUME!

A lot of 'organizing' problems are volume problems in disguise. 

Problem: Always late

Turn down the volume: Unstuff your calendar. Put margin in your day. If you need a refresher - read Margins, Buffers & White Space.

Problem: Kid won't clean up their room

Turn down the volume: Seriously, if you do one thing, do THIS. Get the CRAP OUT OF YOUR KIDS ROOM (I am indeed talking to you in a stern-ish voice). Alternately, if you don't want to do this, please STOP asking your kids to clean their rooms. (For more tips, read THIS Nifty Tips series.)

PROBLEM: Procrastination

Turn down the volume: Make the task smaller, teeny tiny, I'm not joking, shuffle forward 1/2 of a baby step. Our brain will shut down if the task is too big. We need to sneak past our brain in tiny, soft, quiet baby steps. Need to fill out of the FAFSA, (I feel you parents of high school seniors), or do your taxes, or submit insurance claims? All too scary. Break the sucker down in TEN MINUTE increments. Turn down the volume on your expectations on the task you are procrastinating on, then you can sneak past your scaredy cat brain, one teeny tiny step at at time.

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