organizational economics

I’ve been thinking about the economics of organization for the past little while and I’ve come up with a few ideas that almost always make life a little easier. But then, ideas are what I’m best at. Being a creative person, I get creative ideas…millions of ’em. Some are great. Some are awful. Feel free to pick and choose from the following.

violets

“Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they (creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless. The creative person is flexible; he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are.” _Frank Goble

 

#1 – Keep it simple

  • If getting organized is something you wish for, but never really accomplish the first step is thinking through your life-style and your space.
    • Take a pad and pencil and walk through the space you want to organize.
      • Ask yourself if you’re making the best use of the space. For example, would another room make a more convenient office or bedroom; studio or seating area?
      • Would changing a room’s function make for a more convenient work flow…say for instance swapping what is now a bedroom with your current office space.  If you think it might be nice, but it sounds like too much work, consider the number of steps you could save over time by doing the job now. Eventually those saved steps will become saved hours. Plus you’ll have a completely fresh and new perspective on both areas. That’s the beauty of organizational economics!
    • Consider how you use each space and the things you currently have there. Is everything you need to complete a task in a single room, or do you have to go into several rooms to finish one small job?
    • Think about how you feel when you’re in that space. Are you comfortable? Does it make you happy? Do you want to stay there or just  run away from the mess?
  • Getting, and staying, organized is really a matter of discipline.
    • Discipline is a learned behavior. Some people are well disciplined, others, not so much. But, in the economics of organization being self-disciplined is priceless.
    • The old adage “a place for everything, and everything in it’s place” is the first key to living an organized life.

simple arrangment

#2 – Do something with it

For years I’ve lived by one simple principal: whether it’s incoming mail, groceries, clothing or another piece of life’s flotsam and jetsam:

Deal with it.

Donate it, or

Dump it

Don’t

put it down somewhere until later. keep it, just in case, or lay it aside for now.

Trust me

You’ll get busy and it will still be laying right were you left it next week.

You’ll probably never need it again and if you do,
you probably won’t be able to find it
so you’ll just go buy another one anyway.

So.o.o…if you’re serious about getting organized, pick one room and apply the three D’s. Take a trash can and two boxes in there and get busy.

  • Put stuff where is should be. Deal with it.
  • Put things that are useful to someone else, but are no longer useful to you in a box marked Donate.
  • Put the useless stuff in the trash. And leave it there.
  • Oh, and be ruthless.

Then move on to the next room. First thing you know you’ll be all organized, neat and tidy, and it will feel great!

  • If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last two years, you will likely never wear them again. If they’re too good to throw away, donate them. Someone needs them, or the proceeds of their sale.
  •  If you have paperwork (financial records, etc) that you haven’t looked at in years-Dump it !  (the IRS recommends keeping records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return.) Most bills and invoices that are not tax deductible can be purged annually.
    Stacks of useless papers can become overwhelming. Shuffling through old paperwork to find something you neglected in the first place is not only frustrating, it steals precious time and energy that could be spent more profitably elsewhere. Organizational economics again.
  •  If you have too much of anything (by too much I mean more than you actually use at least once a year) apply the three D’s. Nobody needs a dozen sets of anything unless there are a dozen members of the household! Just sayin’.

seeds of tomorrow

#3 – If you fall down, get back up

Getting and staying organized is an every day affair. And…if you are not detail oriented by nature…you will have days when you’ll fall back into your old ways of doing (or not doing) stuff.

  • Make mental notes of how long it takes to do things right. Organizational economics says a few minutes saved are a few hours earned.
    • Hang up that jacket, as opposed to looking all over the house for it the next time you want to wear it.
    • How long would it take to put that bill in the to be paid file and the junk mail in the trash, as opposed to wading through stacks of mail in six places to find the past due stuff.
    • It only takes minutes to put away that load of freshly dried clothes as opposed to spending twice as much time trying to find something clean to put on from stuff thrown on a bed or left in the dryer.
  • Make your efforts do double duty.
    • Wipe down the bathroom surfaces while they are damp with steam from your shower.
    • Wipe down the kitchen surfaces every time you do dishes. And DO dishes. It may be only once daily, but starting a day fresh with clean counter tops is priceless.
    • Put things back in their place every time. That way you’ll know exactly where to look for any item. As I said before, a place for everything and everything in its place is a gem without price.
  • Routinely leave your home neat and orderly. Coming home to a mess makes coming home a pain rather than a pleasure.
  • Use the time you save to do things you enjoy – guilt free. There’s nothing like enjoying lunch with a friend or a day of doing nothing without the nagging feeling that there’s a mess waiting for you at home.

A few more ideas:

  • If its worn out – throw it out.
  • If you’re tired of it and want a new one – donate it.
  • If its broken, fix it, or replace it. Don’t lay it down until somebody has time to look at it. It won’t ever happen. Dump it.
  • If you don’t know what to do with it – don’t lay it down until you figure it out. It’s not gonna go away. Deal with it.
    • Try never to handle bills, correspondence or other paperwork more than one time.
    • Same goes for laundry. Sort it, Wash it. Dry it. Put it away.

A few changes in the way things are done can make MAJOR changes in your life-style. You’ll have more free time, more money, less guilt and less mess. How bad can that be?

see ya soon

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