“Quotes in Action” – Day 14

"When you put things into a pile to deal with 'later,' you have lost the battle. ~ Peter Walsh

Do you have piles in your space? Are they organized, containing “like” items, or a mishmash of various things? Do you wish they would go away? Today’s quote is all about piles like these, and it comes from famed organizer Peter Walsh. He says, “When you put things into a pile to deal with ‘later,’ you have lost the battle.”

Peter touches on the reason why piles accumulate in the first place. They contain items we have chosen to deal with not in the moment, but rather at a future point in time. In some cases, a pile might be a rational collection of items, such as a stack of “bills to pay,” or client files separated on shelves, one pile for each client.

Unfortunately, most of us have piles that aren’t quite so organized. Our piles are on the floor, on a chair, or on the kitchen counter, and seem to have spontaneously appeared. We aren’t sure what they contain, or what potential tasks they contain.

If you have piles like these in your space, today is the day to deal with them. Separate the contents into matching items, and then walk around your space and get them where they need to be. If you have items leftover that don’t have a natural home, mindfully choose where these pieces will live. If you have lots of piles, focus on one a day until they are gone.

“Later” is one of those words that can get us in trouble. When it comes to clutter and piles, the best thing we can do is try to put things away rather than put them down. Admittedly, we may not always have the opportunity to put things back in their rightful homes immediately, but there should be times each day – or at a minimum each week – when we do this. Similarly, it is wise to avoid the temptation to sweep a collection of disparate items into a bin, box, bag, or drawer simply to make a space look “tidy.” All this does is create a future headache.

Maintaining an organized space is largely a discipline of “walking around and putting things away.” There is no way to get around it.

What do you tend to put in a pile? How can you interrupt this habit and keep it from happening in the future? What pile will you tackle today?

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2 thoughts on ““Quotes in Action” – Day 14”

  1. Later is a word we use when we don’t want to schedule the task. When clients tell me “I’ll get to it later”, I know what they are really saying is that they do not want to do the task and that it will not happen.
    Wonderful reminder, Seana, to assign a day and time to putting things away in our home. And, later is not a time.
    Diane N Quintana recently posted…Time Spent with FamilyMy Profile

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