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Inch by Inch

Posted by Sue on May 15, 2014  

luggage full and ready to travelLast week when I was in the throes of final packing for a trip, I called my dear friend, Joan for moral support. After gently listening to my overwhelm, she reminded me of my own organizing advice: do one small area at a time. I’ve shortened that to Inch by Inch (after my favorite David Mallet song).

Elaborating on this sage advice, Joan shared with me her recent decision to deal with the most challenging clutter-area in her life: the mountain of mail underneath her dining room table (I can hear several of you groan in sympathy). She decided that she could and would deal with just three pieces of mail at a time. She knew she could handle three because it would take less than five minutes.

And she did! By dealing with just three pieces at a time, and then the next three, and then the next three, over the course of a week, she reduced the mountain to an empty box!

So I climbed my own mountain, reciting the mantra: Inch by inch. Inch by inch. Starting with just my socks, and moving, one by one to each area of my wardrobe, I reduced my mountain of overwhelm to a packed suitcase.

This Inch by Inch strategy can be used to make sense of just about any organizing project: from a linen closet (one shelf at a time), to a bedroom (first the top of the dresser, then the top right hand drawer), to the garage (gather and sort all the garden tools, then move on to the automotive supplies). There’s no single right way to break down a project; any way that makes sense to you is the right way.

Back from my trip, I’m using Inch by Inch in reverse. I’m unpacking my bags, first all the clothes that need to be washed, then everything that goes in my top drawer, followed by the next drawer down, and the next, and finally, all the clothes that need to be hung. But that still leaves my books … How many did I think I could read in 4 days away???

Inch by inch: That’s the magic!

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