Are you a stacker of stacks and a piler of piles? Do you have piles of mail on the counter, piles of papers and kids’ artwork on the dining room table, piles of clothes and shoes on your bedroom floor?
Your pile-itis is probably caused by these four situations: No home for items, unmade decisions about the items in the pile, fatigue at the end of the day and bad habits. So let’s take these issues one at a time to solve your pile problem.
No Home For Items: Of course it’s going to end up in a pile if you don’t know where else to put it! It’s the best you can do to corral the clutter at that moment. So solve this problem by taking a Saturday afternoon to create zones in your room and put items in the appropriate zones. For example, in the living room you might have a reading zone, a tv/movie-watching zone and a game zone. If you can’t figure out what zone it fits into, it probably doesn’t belong in that room.
Unmade Decisions: This if often the culprit behind stacks of mail and other papers. You don’t know what to do with them, so there they sit until inspiration strikes. Try using an incline file sorter, the ones that store files vertically. Get some folders and label them with the action each piece of paper needs: “To Be Paid,” “To Be Reviewed,” “To Contact,” and “To Fill Out” are some common subjects. File your mail and kids’ paperwork after you receive it, then sit down once a week and go through the folders.
Fatigue: You are so tired at night that you don’t have the energy to put your clothes in the hamper or the toys back on the shelves. Combat this situation by getting ready for bed 30 minutes earlier each night. You know you are going to get too tired to tidy up, so plan to get it done before you hit your dead zone.
Bad Habits: You know it’s a bad habit when you start seeing your kids act out that very same bad habit. Get your systems set up, know where every item in your house goes, and then commit to putting things there after you have used them. Remind yourself to “complete your actions,” meaning you haven’t finished your project or your activity until you have cleaned up and put everything away.
With a little bit of know-how and some changes of habit, you can make those piles disappear. Imagine how great it will feel to finally see the surface of your countertops and the wood grain of your dining room table!
Excellent image of piles of paper thanks to Melissa from Flickr.