Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
I realize it’s a little early to be considering New Year’s resolutions, but I would like to recommend one end of the year activity. It’s one we all think about, often with a sense of dread, but it is critical to your success.
If you are an arborist, you trim trees to help them grow. You weed around your garden plants to help them thrive and prune your bushes to allow them to flourish. Do the same to your office, workspace or home to prepare for the next year as well.
The Japanese even have a name for this:
The end of the year, Kure, is an extremely busy time for everyone. Grown-ups are intent on tidying up unfinished business, organizing cluttered offices, and finishing off uncompleted projects. It is the occasion for the once-a-year thorough cleaning of homes, and for shopping and preparation for the celebrations of the New Year. – The Japan Forum online
I have done this with several clients over the years, usually on a Saturday morning. One client inherited an unbelievable mess as the Business Manager of a school district and it took us more than one day. We quit on the first day because we had filled all the dumpsters!
I would like to suggest the following 5 things for your Office Kure:
1. Set aside a day for doing this.
If you have some downtime during the holidays, plan it for then. Give yourself at least 4 hours to Purge, File and Reorganize.
2. If you are a leader, make this an event.
It can get really boring to do this by yourself and if you make it a group event, consider:
- Have some food and music;
- Bring in some extra trash receptacles / recycling containers;
- Have someone else be your accountability partner and help you sort through your “stuff“;
- Have extra folders and expandable files readily available.
3. Make lists / piles of stuff for filing or storage.
Try to touch things only twice!
4. Set ground rules for various types of information.
- If it was something you intended to read, but it’s over six months old, TOSS IT!
- If it’s material in a file about a project you intended to work on, but haven’t touched in 6 months, is it still a viable area of focus? If not, TOSS IT!
- If it’s material someone else may need, prepare it to send to them.
- If your office gets nice and tidy but your staff gets all of YOUR stuff, you are not doing this right.
5. Reflect on your progress and learn for the future.
When you are done, or the time expires (because you are too indecisive, nostalgic or addicted to clutter), ask yourself, or sit with your team and have everyone consider these questions:
- What will I do to stay more on top of this in the coming year?
- Is there a project I had neglected that I am now re-energized to pursue?
- What tricks or ideas did I learn from my coworkers that are insightful and I will use going forward?
I wish you the very best for your Office Purge or Kure. While you are filled with the joy of accomplishment for your efforts, also consider:
Clothes Closet Kure: Go through the clothes in your closets. Have you worn that item in the last two years? Do you think you will ever wear it again? If not, donate it! Your gently worn garments may be a real blessing to someone else.
Winter Wear Kure: Same as above but for all your winter wear. It’s only November 17 here in Chicago, but its 14 degrees with a wind-chill of 2 right now. Do you need 7 hats or 6 pair of gloves? Someone else might really make good use of them. For those of you in warmer climes, please don’t rub it in that you don’t have this stuff!
Christmas Decorations / Ornaments Kure: I realize all of these have some sentimental value, but consider the storage alone.
Car Kure: Many of us use our cars all the time. Is it time to clear out the trunk and keep some winter wear there for emergencies? Should you clean out the glove compartment? Give the inside a good clean before all the sloppiness that is winter sets in.
I realize these suggestions will not rise to the level of “Boy, that sounds like real fun”, but each is important. And like the Office Kure, each of them is better done with others. Get some help to make it easier.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. – Henry David Thoreau
- What areas need De-cluttering the very most?
- Will I set aside time and ask for help to do this?
- What did I learn from this?
Please share your experiences or ideas with us all in the comments section at the end of this post.