I’m a big fan of mantras and sayings. They’re really helpful for me. This year, I’ve decided to not only lose my baby weight, but also get back down to where I was before I moved to Texas. I’m using two tools: a calorie counting app and a mantra.
My mantra is a twist on something I heard a minor character say in an episode of Monk. “No food tastes as good as fitting in my regular clothes feels.” I say this to myself every time I want to eat something that will probably foil my calorie goal for the day. It’s been working amazingly well.
I find myself repeating certain organizing phrases over and over to different clients. I realized these phrases are essentially organizing mantras that express some of the most key concepts.
Sort before you pare down.
Sorting before deciding what to get rid of makes decluttering easier because it provides the context you need in order to make informed keep/toss decisions. You can see how many of that item you have, which ones are your favorite, how unique or similar they all are, and which ones are in the best condition. Picking up a pair of yoga pants from a pile of all the yoga pants you own is a very different experience than picking up a random pair off of the floor and trying to decide how you feel about them.
You can keep the sentiment and get rid of the gift.
This is what I say when clients tell me, “I don’t really want to keep this, but it was a gift from so-and-so…” If the person who gave you the gift knew that it was causing you clutter induced stress, they’d be alright with you getting rid of it. The purpose of a gift is enjoyment. If the gift is no longer bringing you joy, it can go.
All paper is A.R.T.
I made this saying up and use it frequently. (I did not make up what A.R.T. stands for, though I’ve never heard anyone else put the acronym in this order.) All paper falls into one of three categories: action, reference, or toss. Action paper is paper you need to take action on, such as a bill you need to pay. Reference paper is what’s inside filing cabinets – the paper you’ll probably want later. Paper in the toss category ideally goes into the recycling bin ASAP. Thinking about paper in this way makes organizing it much easier. Why? Check out my blog post on paper organizing.
Touch it once (also known as O.H.I.O. - Only Handle It Once).
Every item you set down in a temporary place, like on a random surface, you’ll inevitably want to move later. The more often you immediately put things in their places, the less “picking up” you’ll have to do. Now when it’s time to clean up, you can focus on removing dust and grime instead of clutter.
One in, one out.
The idea here is that if you have a full space, like a sock drawer, you get rid of your least favorite pair of socks when you buy a new pair. The concept applies more broadly as well. Before you bring something new into your space, consider where you will put it. Will you need to get rid of something so it will fit in your space? If so, what can you let go of that will make enough room? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same type of item.
Getting organized may be a one-time project, but staying organized is a lifestyle choice. I hope these mantras help you with both. Do you have any mantras you love, about organizing or something else? Leave them in the comments!
get in touch
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Dane County, and serving clients around the world virtually.
sign up for our free newsletter
Organizing and time management tips, resources, and more, delivered straight to your inbox.