My entire adult life I have fantasized about having a summer off. I have dreamed of open time to play, to be in nature, to be a kid again. This year my dream is coming true. At the age of 58, I have lots of open space on my calendar. And I know how fast the summer will fly by. So I am taking today to go through the See It and Map It steps for my summer. I invite you to do the same.
What did you long for most from your childhood summers?
For me, it was freedom. Delicious freedom from predictable schooldays. Freedom to lay in the sun, devour ice cream, and float for hours in a turquoise pool.
My summer longings have not changed much. A sun-drenched break from the routine sounds too good to be true, honestly. As a working mom, however, I know poolside paradise will elude me. Instead, the season will welcome busyness.
From where I sit, summer’s two major opponents are sky-high expectations and the pressure to “do it all.” Corporate socials and family get-togethers. Planning a picture-perfect getaway or entertaining kids from dawn ‘til dusk (and then some). Then there’s laundry and groceries and shouts of “who left the screen door open again?!”
The tension is palpable. Often times, our knee-jerk reaction is to purely survive. Sanity, money, rest—these are common sacrifices on the altar called Summer.
But believe it or not, a simpler more satisfying summer is within reach, regardless of our individual situations. The pursuit is straightforward and anyone can start today.
It boils down to pausing before the chaos and tuning into your desires.
Time for the SEE IT. MAP IT. & DO IT. Steps!
If you could choose a word or theme for this summer, what would it be? My summer theme is Summer Sabbatical.
Sit down with your loved ones and ask what do you most want to do for –
fun & play
travel & exploration
relaxation & healing
My choice for fun is 2 motorcycle trips with my man Bob, for travel I am taking a road trip to my home town of Bozeman Montana for my 40 year high school reunion, for projects I am creating a family picture wall in our new home, and for relaxation I am sitting on our deck in the evenings to wind down and breathe in the sweet country air.
Now take your map it list and put those things on the calendar. Make them happen by putting them first.
It is time to learn the simpler way to organize. Earlier we talked about the foundation system of SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. You start with the SEE IT – take a look at where you’ve been. Then MAP IT – make a plan for where you want to go. Now it is time for the DO IT step. Now we are touching the STUFF and trouble starts. Because this step is so loaded it gets its own set up steps called STACKS.
S – SORT
T – TOSS
A – ASSIGN
C – CONTAIN
K – KEEP IT UP
S – SIMPLIFY
Organizing can be overwhelming because we are trying to make many decisions at once. Should I keep it or let it go, where will it go, how did it get here, who will take care of it? It is exhausting and we typically give up after a couple of hours. STACKS breaks down the process into 5 distinguishable steps that you take one at a time. You ask one question at a time, make one decision at a time, and take one action at a time.
These steps make it possible to break down the process into bite sized pieces. And the steps build on each other. When sorting just sort! The toss is easier once you can see exactly what you have, then what’s left needs a place to go followed by what it will go in. Once everything is contained, it is time to ask how to maintain it and lastly, how to simplify? If you really give STACKS a try for a couple of small projects, you might get hooked.
Did anyone ever tell you that organizing is a SKILL that only 10-12% of the human population on the planet earth is born with (see note below)? Most people assume that everyone should just know how. Parents expect their kids to know how to clean up their rooms. Bosses expect their employees to know how to organizing their office. Yet, 90% of the human population on the planet earth really struggle.
So believe me when I say… – If clutter clearing was easy, the piles wouldn’t be there. – And if organizing was easy, the chaos wouldn’t be here.
If you are part of the 10% then:
Walking into a room filled with clutter and chaos gets you excited
Your hands get itchy and you want to start touching and moving the stuff
You go into a trance or creative zone when you are doing the work
You are often helping other people with their disorganization and maybe you have even started an organizing business.
If you are NOT born with the innate skill then:
You struggle with where to start, what to do and how to keep it up
Even thinking about clutter clearing or organizing is draining
Your attempts to get organized have left you feeling helpless and hopeless
You have probably ready many books and tried many approaches only to give up
My story of how it all began… It was April of 1999 when I met my first organizing client. I was there to work on her home office. I was excited and also terrified. We had only spoken on the phone so I didn’t know what to expect and I felt clueless about how I would help her. I had many tools and lots of experience to draw from but I didn’t have a system to take us through the process.
Throughout my first year I witnessed over and over again that my clients were wired differently from me. They got confused and didn’t understand the steps. This is when the Clear & Simple Systems were born. I realized I needed a way to teach them the SKILL. And I wanted it to be fun and easy.
Coming up, I will be sharing SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. and STACKS. These systems teach the SKILL. These simple steps are what make organizing easier. If you want more information now, go to www.clearsimple.com/systems
NOTE: In the last 20 years, I have consulted with hundreds of clients and audiences. According to my research only 10-12% of the human population is born with the organizing gene, with the innate skill. The other 90% really struggle.
Your Guide, Marla Dee – teaching the Clear & Simple Way to live free of clutter and get organized at last