Creating an Organizing Map

Posted by Sue on May 18, 2012  

Confessions of a Professional Organizer, Chapter 3

Embarking on this organizing adventure, I’m reminded of all the trips I’ve taken over the years. Even after the advent of the GPS, I begin my trips by pulling out a map. Without a map it’s easy for me to get lost. In truth, I get lost even with a map, but at least a map gives me a reference point. It keeps me focused on my destination and points out landmarks along the way.

When you’re embarking on an organizing adventure, you also need a map. If you’re heading into difficult territory or planning to move through several different spaces, a map will keep you motivated and focused on your desired outcome.

As with most trips, you first need to determine your destination. With an organizing map the destination is both the finished effort and the target date. The towns along the way are the projects which take you one step closer to completion. The map also helps you determine how much time, money and energy the “trip” will take: how many hours you’ll need to set aside, what the cost with be in shelving and containers and where the energy landmines might be.

My first organizing adventure is cleaning out the 2nd story of my barn. I’d like to complete this by the time I leave for vacation the 3rd week of August ~ thus, my destination/target date. I’ve broken my adventure into discrete projects, each of which should take me less than 3 hours. This helps keep me focused, on task and (hopefully) avoiding overwhelm.

The first four stops, with target dates, on my organizing adventure are:

  • 5/20: Knitting projects and yarn stash ~ culled and organized
  • 5/27: Electronics (old TV’s, etc.) to recycling
  • 6/3: Pull together all the various organizing bins that are stashed up there so that I know what I have to work with and what I need to purchase
  • 6/10-17 (week off): Build shelves, chorale the kids’ boxes and set dates with the kids when they will consolidate (and maybe cart away) their stuff

I’ve written my projects in my calendar and scheduled time to work on them. With this map I’ll know where I’m going, how to get there and when I get off track. Without a map it’s just wandering around looking for a place to eat.

So, what’s your summer organizing adventure?

Happy map making!

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