The morning before our week at Hume Lake, I zipped into town for groceries and supplies. First stop-- Sprouts. As I'm situating the bags in the "trunk" I don't notice the key slip out of my hand. I close the hatch and boom, I'm locked out of the car.
We all find ourselves stuck at times. Whether you’re overwhelmed with a chronically messy closet or struggling with kids who leave trails through the house, circumstances like those cause stress, frustration, and a sense of “stuck-ness.”
When we're stranded with a car that won't move, we know what to do. We make the call and help is on its way. It's not so cut and dry with home management issues. If nothing changes, then nothing changes. So rather than hoping for things to automagically improve, become a problem solver!
Here are seven questions that can get you on the road to a more peaceful and productive environment. I’m using a cluttered closet as an example, but after you read it through, grab a pen and paper use these questions to create a solution to your own problem.
TIMELY TIPS - become a problem solver
Question 1: What’s the problem? My master closet is a disaster area. I can’t walk in without stepping on stuff. I can’t find things. Everything’s wrinkled from being in piles on the floor. I get stressed while trying to get ready in the mornings. When I clean it up, it doesn’t stay that way.
Question 2: What’s contributing to the problem? Everything gets thrown in there. Even if I want to put stuff away, I don’t know where to put it. I keep buying more of the same stuff because I can’t find things. I have three different sizes of clothes in my closet. I have a zillion shoes, and a half-zillion purses. It's a catch-all for things I don’t know what to do with, or whatever I’m carrying when I walk into the bedroom.
Question 3: What’s the goal? My goal is to walk unimpeded into my organized closet. It has only what I need, use, and love, and only what will comfortably fit (on me and in the closet). Everything in it has a home. Things I use often are easily accessible. I have a simple system for keeping it that way.
Question 4: What are the benefits of achieving the goal? Getting ready in the morning is stress-free! I can always find what I’m looking for. I’m saving time and money not purchasing replacements for things I already have. The maintenance plan eliminates spending hours at a time sorting piles, rewashing, and hanging up clothes.
Question 5: What actions/policies/procedures will solve the problem? I’ll remove everything I don’t need, use, and love. I’ll do an additional purge if there’s still more than will fit. I’ll relocate all the items that aren’t wardrobe related and resist bringing in more. I’ll designate homes for everything I’m keeping. I’ll use the “in with the new, out with the old” policy to maintain balance. I’ll establish a “don’t put it down, put it away” policy to maintain order. This will include hanging up/putting away clothing, shoes, etc. when changing clothes and bringing in clean laundry. When tempted to throw stuff on the floor, I’ll remind myself of the benefits as incentive. I’ll do a Ten-minute Tidy on Saturday mornings, as needed.
Question 6: How will I monitor and update the plan? I’ll schedule a date to review one month after implementation. I’ll assess the closet based on my goal. If it doesn’t measure up, I’ll adjust my actions, policies, and procedures accordingly. (And maybe throw in a reward incentive!) Repeat, as needed.
Question 7: When will I begin? This coming weekend I’ll do the purge. I’ll assess what, if any, organizing products I need (shoe rack, slim-line hangers, etc.). Next weekend I’ll purchase products and designate homes for everything. I’ll start hanging up my clothes when changing tonight!
You can't solve a problem until you're asking the right question. --Unkown