Staying Organized: The Lesson of the Weeds

Lessons come in the most unusual of places! I remember the time when the lesson of the benefits of staying organized really hit home with me.

I was pulling weeds in an effort to make bring our yard under control and make it 22998127_spresentable for a visit from my in-laws. As I worked my way around the yard I noticed that in the areas where I had been regularly weeding periodically there were fewer weeds, and they were much less well established.  In other words, I could pull them with relative ease. In one particular area that I hadn’t touched at all that summer, the weeds were a thick mat and very difficult to pull. Those weeds required that I put my whole body weight behind each pull in order to make their roots give at all. It was frustrating, exhausting work.

There I was on my knees, yanking away at those tenacious weeds when it occurred to me that the lesson of the weeds is the same as the lesson of the stuff. If we regularly manage our stuff, putting it away, cleaning it up, pitching on a regular basis, it really doesn’t get out of hand and overwhelm us. We can restore order with minimal effort.

It’s when we ignore those maintenance tasks for a period of time that it seems that a superhuman effort is required to bring our space back to order. Instead of taking minutes to get organized and on track, it can take hours and even days. And, just as I had avoided tackling that garden with its spreading masses of weeds because the task seemed overwhelming, so too is it a common inclination to avoid those areas of accumulated stuff. That doesn’t work at all because things only go from bad to worse.

I didn’t finish weeding that overgrown garden. It was too much for me to do in one session. My back, arms and shoulders weren’t up to it. I did, however, get a major chunk of it done and have a plan to return to finish it the next day.

What areas of your home or office are becoming an overwhelming task to tackle? Do something today to improve one of those areas, and make a plan to return to it regularly to chip away at it until it’s gone. Then, guard against a return of the chaos. Remember what it cost you before. Use that memory to motivate you to take regular action to keep order in your space!   

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