Empty It!

Have you ever organized a room, closet, or even a drawer?  How did you begin the process?  Perhaps you shuffled the contents around, pulled some of the “stuff” out, tossing out trash as you found it, and taking some of the random items to the places they belong.  Then what?  You put everything back in, right… Trying to make sense of what was left, attempting to group like items together.  And there you have it – you organized that area!  Or did you?  My guess is that, unfortunately, it didn’t last long.  But why?

You didn’t EMPTY it!  Clients are always surprised when I explain that we are going to completely empty whatever area we’re working in.  I usually hear “Empty it?  Like, everything out?!”  To which I always reply “Yes, everything… because that’s the most effective way to do it.”  After a sigh on their part and reassurance on mine, we dive in.  And inevitably the client is always amazed at what we find (in the depths) of the closet or drawer or room… “Wow!  I haven’t seen this in years!” “I wondered where this got to!”  “I can’t believe all of this stuff is in here!”  You get the picture.

This is always the perfect time for me to reiterate the benefits of completely emptying the area (although they’re beginning to become believers at this point):

1.  You can greatly reduce the amount of items. Much more so than if you just poked through things and worked around them.  When you pull everything out, piece by piece you are “forced” to make a decision about each and every item.  Doing this ensures that less goes back in.

2.  You can completely clean the space while everything is out. When is the last time you wiped out drawers or vacuumed the closet?  Take advantage of this opportunity and give it a clean sweep!

3.  Once it’s empty you can see the space in a new way… like a fresh start. This allows you to reevaluate what you’re keeping there and how you’re keeping it.

4.  Do you now see a need for containers, dividers, organizers? It’s easy to make a plan for this empty space now and you can easily determine the best course of action for keeping things organized.

When you follow these steps you’ve put a lot more thought into the process.  Therefore the end result is created to work for you and meet your current needs.  Guess what that means?  Maintaining it is so much easier!  And when you can easily maintain it, you stay organized!

Now… go EMPTY it!

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