iStock_000013410716LargeOops! I did it again.

My number one possession obsession is books. I love them! I love to surround myself with them. I some times go into my room just to look at the spines and flip through them.  One of my happy places is the library. In fact, I daydream about sitting in the public or a college library when I’ve had a  stressful day. It helps me reconnect with myself. I feel as though all the wisdom I need to have is at my fingertips.  Books open up so many possible worlds and answers.  I consider my self a life long learner and books just fuel this fire.

So, what does this have to do with my #1 organizing mistake? My obsession with books leads me to collect them.  Buying books lead to clutter yes but, that isn’t my mistake. My mistake is when I got brave enough to purge my books. I was in a mind set to make hard decisions and get rid of books that have not been used and won’t use in the future.  I put them in boxes to get rid of them. Then decided to call it good. Didn’t I just expend a bunch of mental and emotional energy to get rid of these “teachers” of mine? I walked away that day feeling accomplished.  Then crazy life set in. Days passed the books sat in their boxes waiting to be donated. Still hanging out in my office.  Then came the day that I passed the boxes. One of the books caught my eye.  My mind quickly sent up flags, “Why am I getting rid of THIS book?”  “Don’t I NEED it?”  I was done for. All the work that I did on decision day went out the window. Of course, there were other books that I NEEDED to keep also. Luckily, I did remember my “WHY” of wanting to get rid of the books in the first place. My priority of a nice home. I promptly, put the books back. Closed the boxes. Marched them downstairs and drove them to the thrift store.

Why did I act the way I did?

Well first of all it starts with me knowing that my clutter hang up is books. I feel guilty letting go of books. As though I am throwing away knowledge.  Secondly, I wasn’t ready to let go. All my brave moves and pat on the back for making decisions wasn’t final until I actually physically removed the books. The task was physically and mentally draining that I lacked energy to follow through.  When I was tired of dealing with the books, I didn’t  give my self an exit plan. I only figured out part of the process and was unwilling to take the necessary steps to finish the process.

What you can learn from my mistakes. Or how to avoid what I did.

Know yourself. 

Learning about your self and knowing how you tick is important when setting up organizing systems for yourself.  I’ve learned this the hard way or shall I say the only way, because that’s how us humans learn; by mistakes. 

Tape up the box to be donated.

I know if I had taped up the box on the first day and labeled it to be donated. I wouldn’t have been tempted to start going through it…again.

Put the donated items in the car.

If you don’t have time or energy to drop them off that day, at least you get the items out of the original space and you create an automatic to-do with it in your car. Of course, this only works if your car isn’t your personal hang-up. My car need to be clean most the time so I don’t let big boxes linger.

Schedule a pick up from the institute you are donating to.

I like to donate to the ARC. A local charity that creates opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.  I’m able to call them and they gladly give me at day to have them ready for pick-up.

Ask for help.

A buddy is great for emotional as well as physical strength. Specially if you are dealing with heavy items. Books are one of those items for me that are both emotional and physical weights that are hard for me to get rid of. Your help could be a friend or a professional organizer.  A professional organizer has the stamina and wisdom to get you through any decision or mistakes you may make when organizing.  They provide more insight then a friend might to tackle some larger purging and organizing projects.

What’s your hang up when de-cluttering or organizing? Let me know. We can all learn from each other.