Begin with the End
It's easier to know when you've arrived, if you know where you want to go. So before you file that paper, store that item, create that great filing system or organize your stuff, begin with the end in mind.
1. How will I find it again?
If you want to file that great article or keep that extra package of whatnots just in case you need it, great.
But how you will remember you have it and where it is?
The information or the object doesn't do you any good if you can't find it.
My solution for storing ideas & possibilities in an IDEA box
2. How much time is it going to take to maintain my system?
Think about how you will maintain your filing system and set aside that time each week, each month or once a year for upkeep. If you aren't willing to do it, maybe the system needs to be simplified a bit more.
I don't know how many times I've created an amazing financial system that required hours of filing and data entry each time I used it. In the end, I quit doing the maintenance because I didn't have the time or the desire to keep it up. Now, anytime I create a system I focus on keeping the maintenance to a minimum.
My solution is to build in the maintenance
Though I'm focusing on filing systems here, you can apply this question to any system you build. Keep the maintenance requirements to a minimum and you're more likely to keep your space and your things organized.
3. When am I definitely going to use it again?
If you don't have a specific time frame in mind for an item, don't keep it.
You tell yourself that...
someday you'll have the time to finish that project; or
you'll keep that old microwave just in case your new one dies someday; or even
you'll fix that lamp someday.
But if you haven't already noticed, someday rarely comes.
My solution is to keep memories — leave the stuff
Let it go now. Live in the now, not the someday.
Whether you begin at the end or somewhere else, start making the small changes to have more fun and enjoy your life now.
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