In this 7th post of “Principles to Live by and enjoy life more fully.” An oft repeated truism in my seminars is “Update and eliminate, or you will accumulate!”
This saying resonates with my audiences because we see that when we don’t eliminate clutter, clutter builds up into endlessly growing stacks and piles until it crowds a room and blocks out light and air!
In the office. My clients in the business world generally understand that you must take off time weekly from producing to spend a small amount of time for maintenance. But, what my clients fear is falling behind and not finishing their work. In fact, today downsized workforce means that many have too much work to fit into the normal workday. So spending time maintaining – updating and eliminating – seems impossible.
The key to maintaining is understanding how much time is actually lost when we don’t update and eliminate. The average office worker wastes 1-2 hours a day from too much clutter and too little organization.
- Maintenance means organizing yourself in a way that makes finding and moving electronic and paper documents easy and accurate. Studies show that the average office works sends 30 minutes a day just looking for things. The annual cost of clutter to businesses have been estimated at $177 billion!
- Make maintaining part of your daily work cycle. At the beginning of your day, take 10 minutes to plan, set up, and strategize. At the end, take 6-8 minutes to put things back where they belong. The formula – for every hour that you work in your office or home, spend one minute maintaining the area.
In the home. My home clients find out the hard way that if they don’t update and eliminate they will accumulate. There’s no place where this is more true than in our clothes closets. How often do we go out and see a cute outfit that we simply must have, only to bring it home and cram it into an already overcrowded closet. We must update – and eliminate – seasonally, or we will accumulate. Here is another saying, “When you buy something new, give away two”. In addition, read how four simple steps will take your closet from overcrowded to delightful!
One of my associates recently had an opportunity to help out her friend who was expecting a baby. The frustrated homeowner had an overcrowded pantry that desperately needed organizing and purging. She had not taken the time to update nor eliminate things in her pantry. Like most young moms, the demands of children and home life had robbed her of time, so her pantry desperately needed some help.
My associate walked the homeowner through the whole process. They took everything out of the pantry, and set up stacks of “like” foods on the table. Soon the stacks of pastas, snacks and cans took up every nook and cranny of the table.
Then the updating and eliminating phase began. She eliminated all outdated foods as well as all the things that did not need to be stored in the pantry. The updating of the pantry consisted of installing new organizational baskets and bins from the dollar store or purchased from my website in order to containerize like items. Can organizers and lazy Susans are also fabulous gadgets for organizing a pantry or kitchen cabinet.
When the updating and eliminating were complete, the restocking phase began. This was a breeze because the items to go back in were fewer and more functional. The whole process took just about an hour, and the pantry looked like a work of art! The mom was amazed!
The bottom line. Believe me, if you take this little nugget, “Update and eliminate, or you will accumulate”, and put it into practice, you will experience less stress and a more enjoyable life. Your home and office will be more efficient and you will experience more peace. Try it and see!
Read more: Part II: Do the worst first; Part III: Remove small irritants; Part IV: Finish each project completely; Part V: When more is less; Part VI: A place for everything and everything in its RIGHT place; Part VII: Clutter gets in the way of the life you want to live.