Monday, May 16, 2011

Hands off.

I have heard on lots of organizing blogs and shows to only handle something once.  When you are decluttering, pick up an object and make a decision right then and there about what to do with it.  Don't put it back where you found it without finding a home, making a choice to get rid of it, etc.

I can be really, really good at this and really, really bad at this.  For instance, sometimes items just need to be returned to their homes.  Easy peasy.  Other times it's a fairly easy choice to let something go.  Or maybe I just need to clean out a drawer or something so that the item can be housed with like items.  No problem, right?

But THEN there are the sticky ones.  The "pretty" thing I bought that has no use (remember the brown and turquoise bin?  Yep.)?  The gift I'm not sure what do do with?  The item that needs to have something done to/with it before I'm finished with it?  You know where I'm going with this.  These are the ones I pick up and then frantically wish for the phone to ring so I have an excuse to put it back down again.

Here's an example.  I bought this adorable chalkboard from an etsy seller and it needs to be hung.  Problem is, I bought it without following my rule of knowing AHEAD of time where it will go/how it will be used.  So here it sits, completely unappreciated.  I need to find a place for this this week and get it on the wall/fridge/wherever so I can actually enjoy it.

I am not always a success at this particular strategy.  But I do think it's a good one!  And I also think it works best when I only do a few sticky items at a time.  I tend to make better choices and actually follow through.  I'll let you know how it goes.....


  1. Amy, a modified rule that some of us advocate is this: Every time you pick it up, move it forward.

    For example, a bill that comes in the mail might go into a "bills to pay" file if you pay bills once a week, or twice a month, or on some such schedule. You'll need to touch it another time when you pay it, but that's really not a problem.

    In this case, maybe you need a "project" area for things needing mending, needing to be hung, etc. Putting the chalkboard in that area would be "moving it forward" - and then you can tackle each project at a later time that suits you.

    But if the reality is that you're never going to finish doing whatever needs to be done to that item, it's better to face that when you first pick it up.

    And sometime you really do need a "decide later" area. This usually happens with sentimental items, when you're not quite ready to decide what to part with, for whatever reason.

  2. Thanks, Barb! I promise I am going to get that thing hung up soon!!! :)

  3. Jeri -- that's really interesting! I like how it gives the "handle it once" concept a little flexibility -- and makes it fit more readily in the "real" world, if you know what I mean. Thanks for that -- I will try and practice that one!