Make an Organizing Plan, Naturally

Organizing your stuff shouldn’t be that hard, but it is. if it were easy, you would have done it already, right?

You’ve read some books, taken a workshop or two. Maybe you’ve gone through my ecourse. The concepts make sense to you. As soon as you’ve got a free weekend, you’re going to start.

The free weekends get filled up with more fun things to do, though, don’t they? Your plan to completely de-clutter the study falls by the wayside. And stays there.

To be honest, planning an organizing project is a tricky thing. It may be that your whole house needs an overhaul, clutter-wise. If you plan out the whole enchilada, you’ll probably just get discouraged.

Yet if you don’t plan, not a heck of a lot gets done.

Let your plan be an outline, a set of goals, instead. It’s a tool to keep you on track. You don’t have to fill in the details until you’re going to get in there and do some organizing.

Here’s an example from a recent client. She downsized a few years ago and has things in storage. Her taste is changing and she doesn’t want as much clothing or decor. She wants to make room for art in her life.

The plan is to set up her house the way that pleases her, by decluttering and then organizing what she’s going to keep. Then we’ll sort through what’s in storage and find places for it so she can stop paying for a storage unit and have room to paint in the downstairs room.

That’s it. Your plan is like a mission statement, if you will.

When we do the work, we’ll get specific about the day’s tasks. Organizing the paper on her desk, for instance. Once we do that, the next logical step will present itself.

This is what David Allen describes as the natural planning model. You notice the difference between where you are and where you want to go and start filling in the blanks.

It’s not necessary to plan out every single step in advance, as long as we keep the mission in mind to guide us. Whenever a question comes up, we’ll use natural planning to get the answer.

Question: Shall I keep this chair? Natural planning investigation: How does it fit in with my vision of a beautiful, comfortable home? Do I like sitting in it? Does it go with my decor (an important consideration for this client)? Do I need it for entertaining (ditto)?

She knows the answers to these questions, so the decision isn’t hard, once we lay it out this way. (The answer is no, FYI).

Natural planning can really reduce overwhelm and help you keep progressing with your organizing mission. Can you think of some ways to use it? Or success stories to share? Let me know in the comments!