Bookcases and More

If you have been following along using my Once-a-Week Organizing Calendar, then you know this week we are still focused on clearing flat surfaces.

Before we jump into the toss tip about flat surfaces that have turned into clutter catch-all’s I want to let you know I NEVER want to waste your time. If you tried to print (or re-print) your calendar last week you were directed to a page to enter your email address before you could get the calendar.

I made a mistake – I wanted you to go directly to the calendar WITHOUT having to enter any info. Today, if you use the links in this email you will go right to the calendar.

Going forward I’ll try to keep things super simple!

Now onto the Toss Tip…

We are still focusing on flat surfaces. But instead of talking about piles of reading material, mail to be sorted, and other miscellaneous stuff I have something else to show you. How about the flat surfaces that are meant to be more decorative – like a bookcase.

Here is one shelf of my four-shelf bookcase.








Originally I envisioned this shelf as the place to keep my flameless candle, the vase with light up branches and maybe the cute blue-nosed bear.

Here’s what really happened:

I have the vase with branches, partially obscured by the extra dragonflies on magnets, holding up my X-ray file. I left it there with the hope I’ll remember to take it with me to my appointment.

The flameless candle is there but I pushed it back so I could fit the essential oils and used printer ink cartridge. The cartridge is there so I can remember to take it with me to the store for recycling.

Apparently I dropped a random bracelet on the flat surface instead of putting it in the jewelry box- which is one step away.

And then there is my most favorite thank you card which is so pretty I want to frame it. The ironic part is there is an empty photo frame on the next shelf of the bookcase. Let’s not talk about that.

Like me, if you have a space that was meant to be decorative but has now become a catch-all here is what to do:

  1. Remove everything from the shelf or flat surface
  2. Dust – I’m just guessing here – but I sure needed to dust
  3. Place back one item at a time until you have filled, but not overfilled, the space
  4. Resist the urge to just move all the leftovers into a pile to deal with later
  5. Give everything else a home or deal with it so you won’t have to move or touch it again

And the best step of all: look away to clear your mental picture of the space – then look back and see the improvement!

A few hints:

  • Give yourself a time limit by setting a timer for a short amount of time otherwise the task will expand and you could spend all day on this one shelf
  • Don’t give into distractions. Stay on task.
  • Do not allow the task to morph into an all day cleaning project where you take everything off all the shelves, move the bookcase, get out the vacuum and so on.
  • Do it now. If you have a card to frame – frame it! If you have an ink cartridge to recycle put it by your car keys so you take it with you. If you have too many dragonflies – wait – what am I saying – you can never have too many dragonflies.
  • As a reminder for the next week or two leave a note on the shelf as a reminder to put things away instead of just putting them down.