Last week I discovered Paperclipping Roundtable, a weekly podcast that offers a fun, light-hearted group discussion about scrapbooking. Each week’s show features a different discussion topic and different panelists. The theme of last week’s roundtable was Why People Don't Scrapbook and the panelists were Noell Hyman, Nancy Nally, Lain Ehmann and Izzy Hyman.
If you’re a scrapbooker or a used-to-be-scrapbooker (who isn’t doing it much any more) or someone who is stuck when it comes to getting started getting organized, I encourage you to have a listen. It is a very interesting discussion, not only because it involves scrapbooking, but also because there are so many parallels between why people don’t scrapbook and why people don’t get started getting organized.
Parallel #1: People don’t scrapbook because they are overwhelmed. This is what I hear most when people call me inquiring about my organizing services. People have a difficult time getting started with getting organized because they are completely overwhelmed by their clutter and they simply don’t know where or how to begin.
In the case of scrapbooking, the scrapbooker becomes overwhelmed by all the choices she (or he) faces when it comes time to scrapbook. Which products should I use, which photos should I use, and then how do I put all these elements together into a layout? Since I started scrapbooking, one thing is for sure—the options have absolutely multiplied! There are more products on the market than before, and for all the problems digital photography solves it has created a new one: more photos and consequently more choices about which photos to use!
Parallel #2: Perfectionism prevents people from scrapbooking just as it keeps people from starting and finishing organizing projects. Oh my goodness, how did we all become such perfectionists? I know that I was raised by a very well-intentioned perfectionist and this has definitely had its consequences in my life—some good and some not too good. But I find it so ironic that our desire to do something perfectly often prevents us from doing it at all.
Parallel #3: Time constraints get in the way of scrapbooking and getting organized.
It’s interesting how these three reasons for not scrapbooking (or for not getting organized) work together to work against you! If you’re a perfectionist, for example, it’s even harder to make choices, making you even more overwhelmed. Then, since you’re worried about making the perfect choice, you second guess your decisions, which means decision-making takes even more time (something you’re already short on.) When you’re overwhelmed, it feels like getting organized or scrapbooking will take forever…and if you’re striving for perfection, chances are you’re right! See how these obstacles create a snowball effect?
Last week’s Paperclipping Roundtable offers terrific ideas to help scrapbookers get past these obstacles. Below are some quick ideas for getting past these obstacles when it comes to getting organized.
Overwhelm: The best remedy I know to organizing-overwhelm is to simply get started taking action. It really doesn’t matter which room you begin in; what does matter is that you simply get started clearing out some clutter, creating space, and creating momentum. When you’re taking action and moving forward, you won’t feel overwhelmed any more—you’ll feel energized and empowered. So pick a room, set your timer for fifteen minutes, remove some clutter, and see for yourself. (By the way, Help—I Don’t Know Where to Begin covers this process in detail. Plus, you get started getting organized with the support of a friendly and encouraging online community—which also really helps in the motivation department.)
Perfectionism: When it comes to getting organized, focus on progress instead of perfection! There really isn’t a perfect, one-size-fits-all organizing solution. So you can stop your search for the perfect solution right now. (How freeing is that?) Instead of trying to find the perfect organizing solution, look for a solution that is better than what you’re doing now. Focus on incremental improvements—gradually making things better and more organized, instead of going for the perfect organizing solution all at once. This approach is easier and takes away a whole lot of pressure. Additionally, when you’re making progress—even if you haven’t found the perfect solution—things are getting better. You’ll find yourself living with less clutter and living with more order and peace.
Time constraints: To combat this obstacle, enact a policy of use what you have organizing. If you have five spare minutes a day, use those five minutes to clear out some clutter! Or set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier, and start your day with a quick and speedy dose of decluttering. How about spending the first fifteen minutes after you get home from work decluttering, instead of catching the news or having a quick snack? Look for the little, available pockets of time, and focus on using them to make progress. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with just fifteen minutes of decluttering!
So what do you think? Do these obstacles apply to you either in scrapbooking or organizing—or both? What strategies have you developed to overcome these obstacles? I look forward to hearing from you!