On Wednesday we met Marie, who generously supplied us with pictures of her bedroom so we could get a look at her particular organizing challenges. Marie is a single mom, who put herself through school while working full-time and raising four kids. This spells A-M-A-Z-I-N-G in my book. Now that the three eldest are out of the nest (or not? in any case, safe to say they're no longer in poopy diapers), Marie is now working two jobs with sights on her MBA. What can I say? Some people are born slackers. Marie isn't one of them.
And so Marie's comment in that post shouldn't come to any surprise: the problem, she wrote, is time. It's hard enough to come home from one job and face chores. When you add a whole another shift, the complexity more than doubles. And so the question is: where do you find the time?
There is one technique that has worked for me when I have been completely exhausted and unmotivated to do a single thing, much less tackle a big project: I call it the pass-by approach. Basically what I'll do is focus on one small area--maybe a counter or table top that is heaped with mail, accessories, make-up, and all kinds of household odds and ends, maybe a drawer that has collected clutter until it no longer closes properly--and I'll commit to picking up one thing from the pile and putting that one thing away every time I pass the counter or table or drawer or whatnot.
Because the places that collect the most clutter are often the places that get the most traffic, the pass-by approach often works well in such areas, because every time you pass it, you are putting something away. I can usually clear a small area quite easily this way, with pretty much minimal effort. It works less well those times the whole place feels like a disaster zone, but in Marie's case, she can definitely make headway in her bedroom just by concentrating on one table top or one pile at a time.