Cleaning the closet.

Well, I did it. I tackled my clothes closet — cleaning out, throwing out, and organizing things until it was a much less offensive area.

Before

After

This means this is the first project I’m able to move to the “Done” section of my Kanban Board (more on that soon.)

I’ve been working on this project since mid-November. Now, I know that two months is a rather long time to work on something as simple as cleaning out a closet. In the past, I would tackle projects like this when I had several hours or even a day to work on them. However, I’ve changed my approach for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s very difficult for me to have several consecutive hours to work on anything anymore. I work, I write, I cook, I clean, I mother, I connect, I play, I relax — I have a very, very busy schedule. Secondly, it’s very easy for me to become overwhelmed or burned out on a project if I spend too much time at once on it, especially if it’s something I really don’t enjoy doing (like cleaning out closets.)

So, I adopted a technique from Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, or SARK in order to tackle these large projects. This technique is using MicroMovements to break a large project into a lot of small bite-sized pieces in order to avoid procrastination and feeling overwhelmed (I suffer from both of these conditions on a regular basis!) While I didn’t create a MicroMovement wheel for the project, I did have it on my Kanban Board, and I just committed to working on the closet for about five minutes (or less!) every day (or, at least, most days. There were a few days I didn’t get to it.)

The process of cleaning out my closet looked a little like this:

Monday: Pick up five pieces of clothes from the floor and sort (Hang up, or put in “To Goodwill” bag.)
Tuesday: Pick up three pieces of clothes from the floor and sort.
Wednesday: Remember closet at last minute before bedtime and sort one piece of clothing.
Etc.

Once I’d sorted all the clothes, I did take about an hour to finish up the organization (putting the hats in the closet organizer, arrange all my shoes, etc.) but it was a much, much less overwhelming project after I’d spent weeks and weeks chipping away at the closet in all these small ways.

I’m using MicroMovements for several other projects that I’m working on, including finishing my Thank You notes that I STILL desperately need to send out for my wedding (my most sincere apologies in the lateness of getting these out!) so hopefully all of the other projects will be as successful as the closet reorganization. I will definitely keep you posted!

3 Comments

  • January 11, 2012 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Have been meaning to read some SARK. Thanks for reminding me. The closet looks great. Maybe I can use this method for my craft room, which has been a complete wreck for months and is just getting worse. I suffer from procrastination/overwhelm, too, (as well as insane rumination) and my schedule is not nearly as busy as yours.

    Nice post.:)

    • January 12, 2012 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Missy! I completely understand, and even learning to use the micromovement idea has been in itself a micromovement — I’ve been aware that I could try this out for about a year now! :-) Hopefully it will help.

      I just noticed this resource is on her website: http://planetsark.com/pdf/MicromovementSheet.pdf — funny enough, the first example is cleaning the closet! :-D

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