Friday, January 29, 2010

Following Through

Back to my simplification quest.

One of the strategies to make my house cleaner and more clutter-free and to lower my stress level that I've been trying lately is something I read about that's called Following Through. Much of the disorganization and messiness of our homes and offices comes from our failure to follow through or complete the cycle of our actions.

Now we've all been taught this concept. Whose Mom hasn't said "If you get it out, put it up!" or "If you open it, close it!" And on major things, I did this already. I cleaned the kitchen right after we finished a meal. As soon as I undressed, I put my clothes into the hamper.

But the small things were getting me. I'd kick off a pair of shoes, and there they'd stay--maybe even to be joined by another pair the next day. The mail, as we've already talked about, I dumped on the kitchen island. I'd read the newspaper, and the sections would end up in a pile on the floor next to my chair. I'd do a load of laundry and ignore that annoying buzzer telling me to fold and sort--sometimes even for a day or two. I'd walk in the door in the winter time, and often my coat and purse would land on the nearest flat surface. Before long, no matter how "clean" my house might be, it sure would be cluttered. And it would make me feel terrible. Plus, after a week of this, it would take a devoted amount of time and concerted effort to set things to rights. And, since my behavior didn't change, my house would immediately begin reverting back to its natural state.

Now, I'm trying to complete my actions, to follow through. When I take off my shoes, I pick them up and put them in my closet--right then. As soon as we finish reading the paper, it goes in the trash, not in a pile on the floor. My husband installed a nice big coathook on the back of a closet door for me, and when I come home, I hang my coat and purse there immediately. When the buzzer goes off, I fold and put the laundry away--no procrastination allowed. You get the picture. Each thing only takes a few seconds, and my house stays picked up (and my clothes aren't wrinkled). I explained my mail system earlier, and it's a pattern now that I follow through every day. It's actually starting to feel normal to me, no effort required.

I'm getting better at all my followings-through, and I hope they soon become as natural-feeling as my mail system. I have high hopes.

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