organizing solutions

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle? I learned of it years ago, and I think it really can apply to the process of getting your home and/or office more organized, and also, re-examining your schedule to be more productive. In essence, the 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of results will come from 20 percent of action.

Applying this principle to all of your “stuff” works like this: many people only use 20 percent of the things they own on a daily or even semi-daily basis. For example, owning 10 pairs of shoes but reliably only wearing two. 20 cookbooks sit on a shelf but only 4 show quality kitchen love.

Back in terms of time productivity, I flip this explanation a bit and approach it from one other perspective as well. Oftentimes, when I am working on something, the last 20 percent of the work, takes 80 percent of the time! Many times I will think “oh, it’s only going to take me 10 minutes to finish the last of this project.” Only to realize that is actually going to take twice as long, or more. Some how what should be the easiest “finishing” part always turns out to be the longest last mile.

And when it comes to a big organizing or tidying project, inevitably, only in the last 20 percent of the project will 80 percent of the result be realized. That is why it is so hard for people who don’t truly have a passion for organizing (like me or Marie Kondo who says herself, she “loves messes”) have such a hard time staying motivated at the beginning—or even middle— stages of an organizing task. It’s because it looks like no progress is being made.

The Organizing Solution Often Overlooked: Putting Things Away

The Organizing Solution Often Overlooked: Putting Things Away

There is one aspect of organized living that I think gets highly under-emphasized by organizational professionals and how-to magazine articles and books. That is: simply the act of picking up after yourself. Or, put another way, putting things away. I know, it isn't a sexy answer, and even may sound overly simplistic. It isn't even really any fun, either, because it doesn't involve buying anything and it does involve the one commodity we all say we don't have enough of: time. Time we'd rather spend being entertained, relaxing, spending time with our friends, or doing one of our hobbies.

But trust me when I say this: The time you invest in picking up after yourself will greatly increase the time you have to do other things in the long-run. Putting things away is the most cost-effective, highly productive ways you can keep your home or office organized. And when things are organized, life is simple, and life is good.

10 Random Time-Saving Tips

10 Random Time-Saving Tips

For today's post I want to offer up some random time savers. These are all things that I do, I use, and I swear by. Hopefully one of them (or more) provides you a solution to a pesky problem you've been having! Cheers!

Tip #1:  Who says Ziplock baggies are good just for storing left-over foods? Use them to store bits and pieces of office supplies, children's toys, hardware screws, nuts and bolts…. the possibilities abound!

Tip #2:  Invest in a label-maker. The P-Touch is a great brand. Everything just looks more finished when it is labeled!

Tip #3:  A small accordion file provides a great way to keep your home or business receipts organized. Go through them once a month and it will help you stay on track with budgeting your spending.