I often see the words, “once and for all” noted on magazine covers and blog posts when it comes to getting organized and clearing clutter. It’s irksome. It’s so misleading and sets people up for feelings of failure. It reminds me of too-good-to-be-true weight loss solutions. You don’t eat your fruits and vegetables once and for all; you start over every day.
I think it’s good news that you cannot get organized once and for all. It takes the pressure off. You can set up systems that work for you, a filing system for instance, and not reinvent the wheel every time you need to file paperwork. But you still have to file the papers. There is no “once and for all” about that. No amount of pretty folders and nice bins are going to get the job done for you.
We are all tempted to get the “perfect” supplies for our organizational projects only to be disappointed that they don’t work. That’s because it’s work to do the work. I know, that sounds obvious. Just like eating healthy and exercising are also obvious. We resist the obvious solution. It’s work to lose and maintain a healthy weight. It’s also work to get and stay organized.
The key is getting systems in place that work for you, having a home for everything, and spending time every day, yes, religiously every day, putting things where they belong. It does not save time to let things accumulate; it only drains your energy as an undone thing. And if you have too much stuff, it’s impossible to put things away. No one I know doesn’t keep acquiring stuff, myself included, so clearing out the old can never be done once and for all either. So, go deal with your mail or your clean clothes that aren’t put away yet, and while you’re at it, eat a carrot or two. You’ll feel much better.