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Systems Wednesday August 15, 2018


It's funny how a few simple words can change your life.

Sometimes those words are significant and change your life in equally significant ways. The words, "I do," in the marriage ceremony, for instance.

The words I heard were far more ordinary, and you could argue the result has been trivial, but for me, the change has been profound.

"You are not disorganised," said Kate. She is the business systems consultant I engaged to help me organise the mess. She looked round my haphazard office cum craft room. She looked at all my craft supplies in their labelled boxes; she looked at the ordered books on my shelves, and the rainbow of ribbons in their rack fastened to the wall. She looked at my pictures and corkboard. "Not disorganised in the least," she said. "You just need to have everything visible." She paused for a moment. "And colourful."

With those words, she changed my life.

Until that moment, I had believed my fate was to live in a chaotic mess.

I have written many times on the joy of decluttering, the wonder and space of clear surfaces and the bliss of tidy drawers. But as many times as I decluttered, space cleared and tidied, it would take only forty-eight hours at the most before the tide would turn. Miscellaneous objects would appear, as if by magic, and glue themselves to the table, the counter-tops, the window-sills. From nowhere, a figurative hurricane would gather up my carefully tidied away objects, and scatter them, in a bewilderment, over every room I inhabited.

Kate changed my view of myself. From being a messy disorganised person, I now see myself as someone who needs to have everything easily to hand, everything visible, and everything attractive and colourful.

That meant another reorganisation of my office. But this time, with a difference.

If the secret to staying tidy is to have a place for everything and everything in its place, I had too many things and not enough places. So, rather than tidying up, I looked at what I need and use frequently. Those things are all now where I can get at them and (more importantly) put them easily away. Everything else has gone, and I haven't missed it.

I needed a system for the wild paper which would regularly stage a takeover bid for table and floor space. It is now corralled in a pretty box, with another pretty box for what needs dealing with today.

I have a colourful rolling calendar/year planner which takes up most of one wall, so I can see the whole year at a glance.

The important thing is that this system works for me. My office has stayed tidy since 5th July. That's a whole month longer than it ever has done before! The whole space feels different and when I walk in I feel joy instead of guilty overwhelm.

Having systems that work feels wonderful!

What systems have you found that work for you?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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