Sunday, February 04, 2007

Project Organization - Part 1 - My House

I have made it a resolution to get my life under control. Things are just completely out of whack!! My house is a disaster and I have way too much stuff. My schedule is chaotic. I am always forgetting to do really important things!!!

Join me as I begin Project Organization. Starting with my bedroom and kitchen, I am going to gain some peace in my life and chronicling the whole experience online. I will be searching for systems, life-hacks, and ways of organizing that will let me get, and then stay, organized.

I challenge anyone who feels the chaos building around them to join me. I will share my story and struggles here at Fearful Symmetry. Feel free to join the conversation and leave comments.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life
I started my journey towards organization by taking everything out of my bedroom.I was going to start by focusing on two areas: my kitchen and my bedroom. Every item that was in my room that wasn't too large, I put into my living room which I am using as a holding area for all my unsorted stuff. Then I took the time to reorganize my bedroom furniture to a layout that was a little more useful and fresh.

Then I tackled my kitchen. With the help of a friend, the kitchen got clean and trash/recycle got sorted. For the first time in months, I now have a perfectly clean kitchen!! I highly recommend getting a friend to help you clean. It is funner and easier to clean with a partner. (And it goes faster!) My cleaning friend and I made a deal to help each other clean our apartments.

So now my room looks bare and my kitchen is usable. Now onto the heftier stuff...

Before I could start bringing stuff back into my room, I had to set up a couple systems in order to contain my stuff. For this, I turned to David Allen's book Getting Things Done. The first is a reference system. David Allen suggests using a simple alphabetical filing system. He recommended using manila folders without the hanging folders, but since I own a large deep file cabinet made for hanging folders, I decided to just not use manila folders and just use the hanging ones. I bought 50 hanging folders to start. (David suggests starting with 100 in the book). I also bought a new cartridge for my labeler so that I could have very neat folder tabs. I only put tabs on the center of the folders so that they would be neat in my drawer and I would not have to worry about placing a new folder in between two existing ones and messing with the tabs.

Another system that I set up is my tickler file. I use a 4 X 6 index card box for my tickler with Jan-Dec dividers and 1-31 dividers. I set them up so that there is a spot for every day. And the numbers already used for this month, just go after the next month's divider. Here is a picture of how the dividers are suppose to look:

I also bought myself 4X6 index cards that I can make lists on. Each card is a context for Next Actions or a category list (such as Projects and Waiting on). Now I am ready to begin the sorting.

I started with the drawers to my Elfa cabinet (which I had taken out of the frame and put in the living room), so that I could get the drawers free to hold other stuff. I began by taking out one item from the first drawer. For each item, I would go through the GTD workflow diagram (From How to Save the World) with one modification. I added "Memory Box" to the list of things to do with a non-actionable item. I have a lot of souvenirs that I don't want to get rid of but which are cluttering my life. I don't want to trash them, or do anything about them in the future, or have them cluttering my reference cabinet, so they get a sturdy plastic box to be put in. In the end, this box will be going into my living room closet.

Most of the stuff that I got through today was reference material that didn't need an action and therefore got filed away. But I did find one thing to do in less then two minutes (I did it) and a couple things to put as next actions. My friend that I mentioned earlier sorted through my living room, so now even that looks doable. In the week to come, I will be sorting through more and more and running everything through the workflow diagram. Soon enough my house will be under my control once again. That will be a fine thing indeed. :-)

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Anonymous said...

One of the most important items in a bedroom is furniture. Bedroom furniture usually consists of the cot where the bed is usually kept. Other important items include a lampshade that one might find useful for reading in bed Similarly the bed should consist two sets of bed and pillowcases. If necessary you may have a mattress. Many of the bedrooms also have a full sized mirror. Antique Bedroom Furniture

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