Simple Systems: So You Don’t Have to Think Too Much

Written by Martha on June 7th, 2011

Example of a simple system

When I help a client organize a space in home or office, one of the things I try to do is establish one or two systems that will make maintaining order a snap. What do I mean by a system?

We all have systems. For any action we perform constantly, we find a way that works and then do it the
same each time, mindlessly.

Think about brushing your teeth. Do you:

  1. Wet your toothbrush, then put on toothpaste, or vice versa?
  2. Begin brushing on with your top or bottom row on the side opposite your dominant hand?
  3. Spend more time on the flat surfaces of molars or on the sides of your teeth that show when you smile?
  4. Do you floss once a day, or on the twelfth of never?

That is your system. For the most part, you don’t have to think about brushing so you use that time to think about something more pressing.

These are simple systems that can make your life easier:

  • In “A” months: Go through last season’s clothing , purge before setting aside ; inventory the new season’s clothing coming out of hiding. Then go shopping with your list of what to buy to fill in wardrobe. Sales are best during the “A” months before the general populace is in the “have to buy now” mode.
  • As a follow up to any new electronic purchase: Write down the words “NEW PURCHASE” and then the date on a 3×5 card. Below that, write “OLD RECYCLED” and the date 2 weeks from now. Make a commitment to give, donate, or dispose of the equipment that was replaced by that date. In Columbus, find your closest recycling center at .
  • To keep paper piles down: Always open mail next to a trash can the day it enters your home/office. Only file for reference the information you cannot replace or will land you in jail if you can’t produce it. For papers that need action, choose one of 3 D’s: Do it, Delegate it, or Delay it – put on calendar for later.1

These are just a few examples to get you thinking of systems as a means to keep “stuff” manageable.
When you make periodic purging and maintenance a part of your life, you will have more breathing room. Organizing less is so much easier!

  1. In my eBook “7 Tools to Conquer Paper Piles Forever!” I walk you
    through the process of creating a paper management system step-by-step. []

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