My Closet: ‘like items’ grouped into boxes; clothes coordinated by color.
You know, it’s really hard to save the world if you can’t even find your keys. And believe it or not, sometimes the ‘Socially Conscious’ part is a whole lot easier than the ‘Totally Fabulous’ side of things.
But just like I didn’t always suffer from Hyper-Productivity Disorder™, I wasn’t always compulsively organized either. I had to teach myself to think systematically. In college I would take sloppy notes in lecture, scrambling to get down every essential piece of information. Then, each and every night, I would re-copy all my notes, in perfect script, color coded. It took hours, but it forced organization as a habit. These are learned behaviors, see, and that means anybody can adopt them.
After college Damian and I somehow managed to buy HQ. That was over 2 years ago, and our time since then has been spent renovating the place. We do all the work ourselves while maintaining full employment, which means 1) our living space is constantly under some degree of construction, and 2) home improvement is tailored around our jobs, thus relegated to nights and weekends. Projects tend to take a *long* time.
So, what’s the key to a smooth operation? Of course – organization!
Believe it or not, this is spread is meticulously arranged.
There have been times when our entire kitchen is emptied and under drop cloths, the cabinet contents laid out, exposed, on makeshift plywood picnic tables. Another few months where I kept half my clothes, and did half my dressing, in a separate room from the bedroom. And yet another 6-month period where we slept in our bed . . . in the living room. That was interesting when guests were over.
The bottom line is that maintaining order matters: for your sanity, for your sense of balance, and most importantly to enable you to do what you need to do. I never could have made home-cooked meals through a kitchen remodel, without sticking to strict system. And I’d never succeed at running a website if I didn’t plan everything ten steps ahead. Orderliness can turn farce into the best adventure. I’ll always think back fondly on the summer we ‘camped in the dining room’.
The hall closet is utterly uncluttered.
With the new year and new intentions on the brain, I’ve had a lot of readers asking for advice on practicing positivity and living a more mindful, fulfilling life. Let me tell you this: methodology is step one to getting everything on track. And careful organization isn’t reserved exclusively for the ‘big stuff’ like home improvement or education or activism. These principals apply to day-to-day living. They’ll free up tons of time, and allow you to put your energy (physical *and* emotional energy) where it really matters. Here’s three easy steps to get you started.
1) Keep a clean house. Everything, I mean everything, should have a place. Know what goes where, and make sure it gets there. Notice how your anxiety decreases when your surrounding are aesthetically pleasing (ie clean). We’re sensitive to these things, so don’t let it get out of control!
2) Make lists. I’m a notorious list-maker (another consciously learned behavior). I write a daily to-do list, lists of goals for each week, and long-term lists for a number of subjects (like ‘baby stuff to research’, or ‘upcoming posts on Bonzai’). I keep these in a notebook that comes with me everywhere (I like a looseleaf 3-ring binder ’cause it’s easy to shuffle stuff around, but your mileage may vary. Many are fond of the brand Moleskine) Try this, it will seriously change your life.
3) Have a vision. Sleeping in the living room would have been embarrassing and tragic if I didn’t have the image of our beautiful new bedroom to hold in my mind’s eye. Painstakingly copying notes would have been achingly tedious, were I not so damned determined to maintain my 4.0. Having these overarching plans will offer comfort when things get crazy, and ground you when you’re caught up in the chaos of life’s minutia. So dream big (no, bigger!), and then let that vision guide you.
And what about you, my dears? What are your methods for controlling the madness?