Tuesday, November 11, 2008

30-Day Organizing Challenge: Buddy Up

Day 17's goal: Get Help and Have Fun

Ever feel like you're on the losing end when you try to face down a pile of clutter? Maybe it's because you're doing it alone. Today, the fantastic organizer June Bell is back with another entry in her ongoing guest-blogging series on the fundamentals of organizing. This time, it's about safety--and effectiveness--in numbers. If you have questions directly for June, feel free to email her at junebell at aol dot com. Otherwise, leave a comment below.

You’ve got a friend …



A big part of my job as a professional organizer is to be an empathetic listener, a fresh pair of eyes and a low-key encourager. You probably take on those roles from time to time for a friend, colleague or partner. So if either of you needs help getting organized, you can tap one another for support.

Here are some ideas:

 Smashin’ fashion show:

Hang the contents of your closet on a clothes rack and ask a trusted friend – the one who’s French, always well dressed, or works in a boutique (or all three!) – to suggest some new outfits using the separates you own. Also ask her to flag any garments, shoes and accessories that look dated, shabby or worn. Don’t argue with her. Just discard or donate them.

 Two’s company:


If you dread tackling stacks of paper in your home office or fear getting your tax papers ready for April 15, find a friend in the same boat. Work together at your home to halve the burden of filing and sorting. Then commit to meet at his house to do the same for him.

 I’ve got your back:

There’s no one like a good friend to help you become a better version of yourself. That might mean getting you back on track when you’re slipping or helping you acquire a new, positive habit. When you’re out shopping and begin eyeing yet another black sweater, this friend will kindly remind you that you already have at least six similar items in your closet. This very same friend will, for your birthday, upload your favorite ‘80s songs onto your iPod so you can discard those dusty cassette tapes under your bed.

 Set a goal together:

If you’re both committed to reducing clutter or using a new calendar to better manage time, work together to achieve your aim. Break down the steps you’ll each need to follow to meet the goal, set a timetable for action and then check in with each other daily, every few days or weekly to chart progress. Make sure to set an appealing reward that you’ll both enjoy upon achieving your mission. Having a “goal buddy” lets you draw energy from your pal’s motivation even when you don’t feel so enthusiastic.

Next week: So much for a paperless society. Despite our reliance on (and addiction to) e-mail, we’re still deluged with paper. I’ll have some tips on how to manage it, organize it and control it.

I can vouch for the goal buddy idea. I have one of those, and have used her to help me make scary phone calls to my student loans, to help me face my taxes and other scary tasks. And I've sat there and helped another goal buddy face down the clutter on his desk. It really works.

Have you ever had a friend help you with your organizing? How'd it go? Would you do it again?

What keeps you from inviting a friend or partner into your disorganized space?

1 comment:

my backyard said...

I have someone come in monthly to do filing and light bookkeeping.