Thing-a-Day 03: Decluttering System

Decluttering System

Monday was very chilly, and I decided to stay in. Looking around, I felt that the space was sucking vast amounts of energy out of me because it is not pleasant. If I want to sit down, there’s always something in the way. If I want to spread out and think, there’s junk on all the tables and couches. I will go to Starbucks and work there because it’s easy to go to and ignore the problem at home, but TODAY I am putting some time into fixing it.

Si after doing a little bit of work, I switched to the decluttering task, which produced today’s “thing”…a diagram of where things should go:

The Process

First, I just got a bunch of shoeboxes and started grouping items together. I didn’t have any preconceived notion of what groups would exist; I just kept moving things around until a particular box had a theme that I could relate to.

Declutter Piles

After I got all the boxes sorted out, I looked at each one and determined what they were, eventually coming up with this working list:

COMPUTER DESK

  • computers, printer (next to filing)
  • timer

ELECTRONIC SUPPORT

  • speakers and receiver
  • speaker routing and sound mixing
  • uninterruptible power supplies
  • networking routers and wireless access points
  • power distribution

WORK TABLE

  • clear of junk, facing away from computer desk
  • physical storage of active projects (in shoeboxes)
  • current catalogs and reading material
  • timer

EVERY DAY STUFF

  • paper, continuity pads, note cards, pens
  • filing: work in progress

OCCASIONAL STUFF

  • printer, scanner
  • staplers, punchers, tape, measuring, scales, label makers
  • calculators, extra keyboards
  • digital scales
  • printer supplies
  • monitor cleaning supplies
  • filing: physical mail
  • filing: expenses
  • filing: business tax records

READING MATERIAL & REFERENCE

  • books, magazines
  • drawings

DESK ACCESSORIES

  • teacups, teapots, toys, robots, fountain pens, business card holders

PRODUCT RESEARCH / REVIEW QUEUE

  • planners, notebooks, soylent, toys, stationery, pens

DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION

  • cameras, audio field recorders
  • chargers, batteries, tripods, bags
  • dongles, flash drives, cdr

MEDIA BACKUP

  • DVDR, CDR, BLURAY Backup Storage
  • Hard Disk Storage

BUSINESS FILING

  • business card folders, bills, invoices
  • process and strategy
  • meeting minutes, agendas, review material

PROJECT: LRC

  • wood samples, paint swatches
  • hangers

MY PRODUCTS / SHIPPING CENTER

  • etp5885, etp50, etp75, etp4X6
  • boxes and boxes of them
  • tape, shipping supplies
  • scale

Some things, of course, just file themselves:

Self-filing cat

Evaluation

After looking at all the groups and their purpose, I decided that there probably are two different working areas: the upstairs one and the downstairs one. That’s what this diagram attempts to convey:


Diagram

The next steps are to label each shoebox and move them downstairs to the Shoebox Filing System, which I have just expanded with another shelf unit. I should be able to squeeze a lot of stuff onto it, and then I can start taking down the ugly shelves I have in the living room.

I should have a less-cluttered living room by tomorrow morning.

In hindsight, the declutter system is this:

  • Get a bunch of empty shoeboxes, and make sure you have a place to rack ’em up on shelves.
  • Start taking everything in the room and putting them in the boxes by “group”, which is just your notion of what belongs with what.
  • Figure out what stuff NEEDS to stay in the room, and what gets used most often. Find a home for them.
  • Figure out where to store everything else. Shoeboxes can get filed in the shoebox storage. Other things may require moving furniture.
  • Hustle until it’s done!
  • Take the stuff you don’t need to Good Will.

It’s not a particularly well thought-out system, but it’s easy enough for me to follow without having to worry about correctness in my filing approach.

UPDATE

DeclutteredFilingThe next morning, I took a picture of the living room as it starts to re-emerge, and the shoebox storage downstairs. The shelf in the middle of the screen contains boxes with the stuff moved from the living room.

There are still quite a few pieces of stuff on the shelves, but they are my “daily use” items or are larger pieces that will be moved once I have the basement cleaned up a bit more.

I also just ordered some business card self-stick top-loading poly sleeves to replace the Post-It notes on the boxes with some cool hand-typed labels. The nice thing about the top-loading poly sleeves are that they can also take index cards if I need more space to write on.




About this Article Series

I'm challenging myself to create something new every day for the month of November 2014! The November Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!

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A message from Dave:

I believe we all benefit when we respectfully share our perspectives on common experiences. My house rules are "please be respectful of divergent views" and "enjoy the flow of ideas!"

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