11 Jan 2016
2016 is in full effect and we all are starting strong…getting in shape, eating better (for now) and getting organized. Will it stick? I sure the hell hope so, but that really is up to you. My reason for writing this is to get all of you in the O.C.D.- Organize & Create Discipline mindset of getting organized. We all have different ways to battle chaos in our lives…hide from it, toss it in a corner and hope it never reveals itself again, stare it in the face, battle it and figure out why it is there, or simply toss it away so we never have to see it again. But the clutter never really goes away, does it? Unless we deal with the reasoning WHY it is there and WHY we keep bringing it back in the first place, chaos and clutter will ALWAYS stare US back in the face and laugh. It will laugh as it takes over our home, car, office, computer and mind. DUNNN DUNNNN DAAAAHHHHH!
Regardless of what method you use to rid yourself of clutter, some kind of system must be put in place that works for you. Some of you might be familiar with Marie Kondo and her Japanese methods for tidying up. She hit the world by storm, even clients of mine were asking me about her, telling me to look at her book, and curious to know what I thought of her methods. I found some of her methods very familiar, as some of the practices I teach in my method, Organize & Create Discipline, are exactly the same except the way we arrive to the same conclusion is a little different. Other parts of her methods scare me as she is teaching millions of people to form attachments to their belongings, which is why they have such a hard time letting go of them in the first place. By thanking our shirt everyday for covering our backs even saying “have a good journey. See you again soon,” when we decide to let an item go, we are teaching our brain to connect on a level with inanimate objects. All of us are unique individuals and we all take different routes when trying to achieve a similar goal, but this troubles me because how will this affect the way our children view items if we are setting this example? Are we leading by an example that may be teaching a younger generation bad habits, even if we aren’t do it purposefully?
Let me break down my thoughts on a few areas for you on how life changing organizing can be regardless of what method you use…O.C.D.- Organize & Create Discipline or the Marie Kondo, KonMari method. Organization isn’t rocket science, it is finding your own voice and creating systems that work for YOU! My way comes from a place of efficiency and time saving and treats items as they are intended to be treated…serving a purpose in our lives to better our day to day existence. O.C.D. is a little more direct and to the point while Marie’s is a little more fluffy and comes from a place of love and care. No wonder why she has the world embracing her…we all could use a little more TLC. The short term effect of Kondo’s methods seem enlightening, euphoric, and cleansing, but at what expense? Will you continue to have conversations with items in your life everyday? (By the way I tried this out for a full day. It takes a lot of energy) Also, parents, or soon to be parents, how will this affect the relationship your children have to their belongings? Will your children start to talk to all of their belongings because they see Mommy and Daddy doing it too? The issue with this to me is that they have no frame of reference to WHY you as the parent are talking to your shoes. Will we eventually be creating a world of schizophrenics?
HOW TO LET GO
First of all….we all have had difficulty throwing items away or letting things go. No one likes to waste money, time or energy, period. Kondo suggests the way to let go is having a conversation with your items and thanking them for bringing joy into your life. For many this rings a bell because it give a sense of completion and ending like you would have when breaking up with someone and find closure in a relationship. The reason this works so well for many is because closure permits us to move forward and let go. Imagine how easy ending a relationship and moving forward could be the KonMari way? However, it isn’t always that simple in life. Our emotions and our feelings change like the weather and unfortunately how we feel in a moment might not always translate to the next day. For this reason, I suggest being realistic about your possessions before letting them go. When discussing an item ask yourself has the item served its purpose and will you wear, use, touch the item again. Not everything will have the same significance and there are many items that serve a purpose once a year…holiday decorations, turkey baster, YSL studded clutch, tuxedo…you following me? Understand the importance of an item and the place it has in your life before you ask yourself if the item brings joy as Kondo suggests. Some items you just need and some you don’t. Be realistic and then figure out where the item belongs in your life and IF you have the space for it. THEN organize accordingly OR let it go.
WHAT TO DO WITH PAPERS
I am shocked that in a culture like Kondo’s where technology has far surpassed many cultures, she suggests using vertical organizers for filing papers. We are in a digital world! I agree with her that when sorting papers you should “throw them all away,” HOWEVER she doesn’t go into how digitizing paperwork can be effective on many levels. Naturally, there are documents we should not throw away that serve serious purposes such as a passport, birth certificates, social security cards, deeds, titles, etc. These papers need to always be kept and in hard copy format, but there are many paper documents that should be scanned for reference purposes that will save you time and energy in the future. Where O.C.D.- Organize & Create Discipline thrives is digital organization. Don’t throw all your papers away before truly assessing what can be kept digitally. In today’s world everyone should have some kind of scanner and backup hard drive. I agree 100% that keeping credit card statements, manuals, used checkbooks and payslips are a waste of space and time, BUT totally disagree of letting go of all greeting cards and the majority of trip photos. Digitize and realize that we have many dimensions of space now, including a digital one. Let’s start thinking about how to organize that space as well. This can and will seem overwhelming because, once again, we are talking about organizing a new dimension of space, but I promise once you can fully understand the simplicity of this space, you will be shredding and digitizing in no time.
WHO PRINTS PHOTOS?
Kondo says “cherish who you are now” which is a beautiful thing BUT what about remembering who you were and why you are who you are now? What happened to the journey of you and your partner and how you built what you have now? Telling someone to keep only 5 photos per day of a special trip in this day and age seems crazy, but I admire her minimalist mindset, but when it comes to photos I know my friend Cathi Nelson, Founder of the Association of Professional Photo Organizers, would lose her mind to this statement. Yes, let go of unexciting, blurry, unrecognizable photos, but hold onto the ones that matter. I am truly shocked that Kondo suggests PRINTING photos and organizing them into albums! In this digital world photos take up minimal hard drive space and the memories they can bring back are priceless. Digital frames line people’s homes and offices. With the advent of Apple TV and Chromecast, we can use our 60in TV sets to display photos, which add a life of its own to your space. Rather than lining your walls with heavy albums, wasting paper on printing, be selective of the paper photos in your home and get going with technology and use it to your advantage. Photos will eventually deteriorate, so scanning them and keeping them preserved for future generations is a must.
DESIGNATE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
100000% agree with this Kondo statement, in fact this is what CREATE in Organize & Create Discipline is all about. Creating a lasting system and place for everything in your life. This placement allows you to effortlessly put things away and stay organized in your daily routine. It has been in our motto for the last 7 years. The difference between Kondo’s approach is that in O.C.D. we don’t consistently thank our belongings as we put them away. Don’t get me wrong this is such a beautiful approach, but in my humble opinion, not realistic at all. We all have a difficult enough time keeping up the DISCIPLINE of putting our belongings in the same place, every day, regardless of what is going on in our lives at any given moment. To add the stress of having to thank our wallet, purse, shoes, jacket, dress, while we are putting them away, just perplexes me. Go for it though! If you feel the need to share love with your belongings, every belonging, every time you are done using them, good for you. It will not make you a bad person, it will most likely make you happier, but for me it is a little excessive and draining. What happens when you start to forget and neglect these everyday items, will they start to resent you and will you start to have a love hate relationship with them because you forgot to pay attention to them? What matters most to me, is something Kondo neglects, which is putting your belongings away immediately. Kondo waits to put most things of daily use away until later, however get in the habit of putting things away immediately. Now is always best time. I have been saying that since my role of Prince Chulalongkorn in the King and I at the age of 11.
ORDER FOR ORGANIZING
Kondo and I agree on this…creating order is FUN! It can be super fun, but depending on the lack of order in your life, it can be time consuming at first. We also agree that the assessment process of the items in your life come from examining what is going on inside of yourself first. In fact, my colleague Julie Morgenstern has been preaching this for years and her method is called Organizing from the Inside Out. This isn’t a new concept, but is something important that all people should know when getting ready to organize their life. As for finding the order, Kondo says start with some garbage bags and prepare to have fun, but there will be no fun until you truly examine WHY the chaos and DISORDER came about in the first place. If this isn’t the first thing you examine, which is where I would suggest to start, then it will keep happening and not even the KonMari method will save you because you have yet to deal with yourself. You can’t stick yourself in a garbage bag and toss yourself out, that is just so dark and sad, so start within and then grab those garbage bags and start at it. Don’t forget that with O.C.D.- Organize & Create Discipline it is all about creating systems that will support the life you are looking to simplify. Joy is important in ANY area of life, including organization, but you won’t feel joy in your newly simplified life if the organizational structure is lacking because life will start to pile up and eventually fall apart.
Remember no method is perfect, but you have the ability to perfect any method you choose. People choose pilates because Barry’s Bootcamp is too exhausting, and move away from Crossfit because they need more cardio and think SoulCycle works better for them. The main goal is one of the same…healthy mindset, physical strength, and lose some weight. Everyone has a different way to achieve it and a different method that works for them. Find one that works for you, but remember to sustain it.
If your New Year’s resolution was to stay fit and be healthy, check out the latest The Talk! video below where O.C.D. Master Organizer: Justin Klosky reveals tips to help you towards your goals. Whatever your resolution though, remember that the point of setting a New Year’s resolution is to better yourself. If things don’t go as planned, don’t beat yourself up, just refocus your goal and try again. The important thing is to use organization in an effort to do your best.
Stay tuned as I continue to take the stress away from getting organized, while making any method acceptable for you.
Happy New Year from the O.C.D. Experience!