It seems every time I clean up, I always find random scraps and bits that don’t seem to fit anywhere. This happens whether I’m tidying up physical or electronic stuff. For example, I organize emails with folders and labels. However, I usually have at least one email that doesn’t fit anywhere. Then I have a dilemma, do I create a special place for one email? Leave it floating around? Or try to shove it somewhere it doesn’t quite fit hoping to remember where later.
With electronic stuff, I have the option to search for things using keywords. In the physical world, if I put something somewhere and can’t remember, it’s lost. Usually this results in a time-consuming hunt around the house.
When these niggly things hang around for too long, I often end up shoving them in a bag or box, in frustration or desperation, as a to-do later. Believe it or not, this strategy has benefits.
Strategy Pros and Cons
- The mess is “neatened” up and strategically all located in one place, even if it takes me a while to plow through if I’m looking for something.
- I have a starting point when I’m feeling motivated to purge and organize stuff.
- It gives me a chance to evaluate if I really need the stuff that didn’t have a home. Chances are if I don’t remember it, or think about it, for months (years), then I probably don’t need it.
There are also downsides to this strategy.
- I have to touch something multiple times before making a decision.
- The mess isn’t resolved. It just moves around from box to bag to corner to pile.
- Finding things is sometimes difficult. Plus the clutter builds up.
The main goal is to make sure I can find things when I need them. Hopefully I can locate them with minimal effort and searching. I like to use a combined strategy.
- If I find something unique, I leave it for a while to see if I will receive other things that fit with it. This gives me a solid starting point for organizing the items.
- I set my timer for a short period of time over a week to chip away at things with a slow and steady pace.
- Finally, when all else fails, bagging stuff up for later works in a pinch as a temporary fix to maintain my sanity.