30 January 2008

Organizing by the Numbers: A Comparison of Principles

Since its inception in 1985, NAPO has exploded to almost 4,000 members and is still growing. A plethora of books on organizing has followed suit. I am fascinated by how each author finds a different approach to presenting the basic principles – or, in other cases, the basic process – of organizing. What follows is a comparative presentation of 15 different sets of principles. They are listed in order of the number of principles they put forth, ranging from 14 to 3. If you know of other books with different approaches, please e-mail the information to me at organized@humboldt1.com. Also, if you find this comparison valuable, please bookmark it on del.icio.us, Digg, or the social bookmark of your choice. Happy organizing!
Organizing Solutions for People with ADD
by Susan Pinsky

14 Rules of Organizing

1. Give everything a home.

2. Store things on the wall or a shelf, never on the floor.

3. Take advantage of vertical storage space.

4. Use hooks instead of hangers.

5. Don’t increase storage, reduce inventory.

6. Touch it only once (mail, laundry, etc).

7. If you haven’t touched it in a year, discard it.

8. Duplicate where necessary to store things where you use them.

9. Eliminate items that duplicate functions (electric and manual can opener, for example).

10. Arrange items in activity zones.

11. Don’t overcrowd your storage.

12. Easy to access and easy to put away.

13. Name your storage (sock drawer, dish cabinet).

14. Make sure “rough” storage (garage, basements etc.) are well lit and easily accessible.

The Spiritual Art of Being Organized
by Claire Josefine

12 Basic Principles of Being Organized

1. Think! Think vertical, think verbs, think function, think consequences.

2. Put like with like within zones created by function.

3. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetie).

4. Create, and use, habits and schedules.

5. Be realistic.

6. Set boundaries.

7. Dishes before dusting.

8. Slow down and pay attention.

9. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

10. Base decisions in love instead of fear.

11. Remember that we have choices.

12. Ask for help.

All You Really Need
by Jane Campbell

The Elements of Order

1. Own Less.

2. Give Stuff a Home.

3. Make it Pretty.

4. Categorize.

5. Handle Paper Centrally.

6. Store, Don't Obscure.

7. Files are Better than Piles.

8. Wean Yourself.

9. Travel with Care.

10. Be in Charge.

11. Respect the Earth (But).

12. Invest in a Professional.

The Spirit of Getting Organized:
12 Skills to Finding Meaning and Power in Your Stuff

by Pamela Kristan

12 Organizational Skills

Witness Skills develop a point-of-view
1. Observing gathers data

2. Acknowledging places value

Threshold Skills get us into and out of organizing
3. Beginning decides where to start

4. Ending disengages from the work

Shaping Skills intervene in the physical world
5. Sorting reveals order within the chaos

6. Staging set up an active area

7. Storing sets up archives and collections

8. Shedding identifies what you don’t need and moves it out

Option Skills
open up or settle down possibilities
9. Imagining opens up options

10. Choosing settles down options

Skills to Carry On place organization in context
11. Sustaining renews the system

12. Engaging makes connections

The Fly Lady's
11 Commandments

1. Keep your sink clean and shiny.

2. Get dressed every morning, even if you don't feel like it. Don't forget your lace-up shoes.

3. Do your Morning Routine every morning, right when you get up. Do your Before Bed Routine every night.

4. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by the computer.

5. Pick up after yourself. If you get it out, put it away when you finish.

6. Don't try to do two projects at once. ONE JOB AT A TIME.

7. Don't pull out more then you can put back in one hour.

8. Do something for yourself every day, maybe every morning and night.

9. Work as fast as you can to get a job done. This will give you more time to play later.

10. Smile even when you don't feel like it. It is contagious. Make up your mind to be happy and you will be.

11. Don't forget to laugh every day. Pamper yourself. You deserve it.

How to Conquer Clutter
by Stephanie Culp

Ten Commandments on Clutter

1. Stop procrastinating.

2. Quit making excuses.

3. Use it or lose it.

4. Learn to let go.

5. Be a giver.

6. Set limits.

7. Use the in and out inventory rule.

8. Less is more.

9. Keep everything in its place.

10. Compromise.

Smart Organizing
By Sandra Felton

The Bare Bones

Three STEPS to set-up in the house so it works well -- and easily:
1. Consolidate - Group everything together with like items.

2. Containerize - Store them in an appropriate place in containers with labels.

3. Condense - Get rid of duplicates, unused, unwanted, unneeded items.

Two ROUTINES that work consistently in the set-up you have created. Set clock for 10 or 15 minutes:
4. Four things in morning - your choice.

5. Four things at night - your choice.

Five HABITS to keep clutter on the run:
6. If you get it out, put it up.

7. Apply the 30-second rule consistently.

8. Follow the forest camping rule today.

9. Look, really look, at your surroundings.

10. Use little minutes.

The Organizing Sourcebook
by Kathy Waddill

9 Strategies of Reasonably Organized People

1. Make your systems fit you and your life.

2. Sort everything by how you use it.

3. Weed constantly.

4. Use the right containers and tools.

5. Label everything.

6. Keep it simple.

7. Decide to decide.

8. Get help when you need it.

9. Evaluate honestly and often.

It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys
by Marilyn Paul, Ph.D.

7-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized

1. Establish Your Purpose.

2. Envision What You Want.

3. Take Stock.

4. Choose Support.

5. Identify Strategies for Change.

6. Take Action.

7. Go Deeper to Keep Going.

Order from Chaos:
A 6-Step Plan for Organizing
Yourself, Your Office and Your Life

by Liz Davenport

1.The Cockpit Office.

2. Air Traffic Control.

3. The Pending File.

4. Make Decisions.

5. Prioritize Ongoingly.

6. Daily Habits.

Odd One Out
The Maverick's Guide to ADD

by Jennifer Koretsky

5 Essential Skills for Managing Adult ADD

1. Break the cycle of overwhelm.

2. Work with your ADD, not against it.

3. ADDjust your attitude.

4. Take control of your space and time.

5. Live out loud.

Organized to Last:
5 Simple Steps to Staying Organized

by Porter Knight

1. Plan

2. Purge

3. Sort

4. Place

5. Use

Zen Habits
by Leo Babauta

Four Laws of Simplicity

1. Collect everything in one place.

2. Choose the essential.

3. Eliminate the rest.

4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely.

Organizing from the Inside Out
by Julie Morgenstern

1. Analyze

2. Strategize

3. Attack, using SPACE

Assign a Home

Clear and SIMPLE™
by Marla Dee

1. See It

2. Map It

3. Do it, using STACKS

Assign a Home
Keep It Up

Finally, although these affirmations aren’t exactly principles, they are so right-on that I couldn’t resist including them. They are from Clutterers Anonymous.

Clutterers Anonymous Affirmations

We have found that saying affirmations helps us replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Take what you like and leave the rest.

1. I nurture my spirit by surrounding myself with beauty and harmony.

2. I believe I am entitled to surroundings of serenity and order and a joyous life.

3. I set reasonable goals, remembering that my first priority is my well-being.

4. I schedule what I can do at a comfortable pace. I rest before I get tired.

5. I allot more time than I need for a task or trip, allowing a comfortable margin for the unexpected.

6. I decide which are the most important things to do first.

7. I do one thing at a time.

8. I schedule quiet time for communing with my Higher Power. Before I accept any new commitments, I first ask for guidance from my Higher Power.

9. I eliminate an activity from my schedule before adding one that demands equivalent time and energy.

10. When I feel overwhelmed, I stop and reconnect with my Higher Power.

11. I allocate space and time for anything new that I bring into my life or home.

12. I simplify my life, believing that when I need a fact or an item it will be available to me.

13. I affirm abundance and prosperity, thus I release the need to hoard.

14. I ask for help if I have any difficulties in working the program.

15. I schedule time for play and rest, refusing to work non-stop.

16. I believe that I can recover from cluttering and use my experience to benefit others.

17. I accept my progress as proceeding in God's time. I know that patience,tolerance, and taking my time aids me in my recovery.

18. I am gentle with my efforts, knowing that my new way of living requires much practice.

19. I do not yield to pressure or attempt to pressure others.

20. I realize that I am already where I will always be, in the here and now. I live each moment with serenity, joy, and gratitude.


Allison Spitzer Carter said...

Great job Claire. I too am fascinated at all the different ways we solve the same problem! Thanks for the list.
-- Allison Cater

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Claire; you are a Giver and a Unifier. --Jane

Jeri Dansky said...

Stephanie Culp's Ten Commandments on Clutter, from How to Conquer Clutter:

1. Stop procrastinating.
2. Quit making excuses.
3. Use it or lose it.
4. Learn to let go.
5. Be a giver.
6. Set limits.
7. Use the in & out inventory rule.
8. Less is more.
9. Keep everything in its place.
10. Compromise.

Claire Josefine said...

Thanks to everyone who's praised me for this list. The truth is, though, that several people contributed content. And thanks to Jeri for continuing to contribute!

This has been a collaborative effort. So gratitude goes to everyone who wrote in with their suggestions!

The Family Matters Organizer said...

Thank you for this list - it is very useful and great to have on hand! I appreciate your effort to put it together.
Now to put you back to work... :)
How about those acronyms in the organizing world??

Tami Gallagher

Claire Josefine said...

Ah, yes, the acronyms...

I've actually thought about putting together a list of these, too. My problem is acurately attributing them. Maybe I'll make a beginning stab at it, though.

Thanks for reading!


Evelyn Ward de Roo said...

Thanks for this Claire.