Focusing on Organization

In our homes, we all have a personal dumping ground for items we are not ready to discard, but we also don’t know exactly where they should go. Tucked back behind our master bathroom is our master closet. This is my dumping ground. My dad’s dumping ground was always around his lounge chair. There were literally hundreds of magazines and other items towering near his chair.

It was time to tackle my dumping ground. Starting in the back of the closet, I began sifting through boxes of old mementos. It was very time-consuming, as each item brought up a specific memory, causing my mind to drift to faraway places. Without a system, the exercise of cleaning my closet would take months, if not years. Remembering that most successful people aren’t smarter than we are, they just have better systems, I realized I needed a system. The system I came up with for memories and mementos was to ask two questions.

Memento Discarding System:

  1. In twenty years, am I going to want this? Will I actually miss it if my wife accidentally discards it?
  2. In forty years, if I give this to my daughters, will they want it?

95% of the time, the answer to these two questions is…no.

For clothing, the system was even simpler:

Clothing Discarding System:

  1. Not worn in the past 11 months? Donate it. Can someone else benefit from this? Speedily donate it.
  2. Is it useful for Halloween? Keep it.
  3. Saving my clothing for a special occasion? Not doing it.

As it relates to #3 above, I had a pair of white shorts that I loved but rarely used since I didn’t want to get them dirty. I’d only wear them on special occasions. Guess what? They went out of style. I should have worn them!

My new motto became, Wear your best every day. Also, if we have a favorite shirt that fits perfectly, we are always going to wear that over the average shirt that fits so-so. We need to buy more of these same shirts and donate the average shirts to charity. Another credo I started to live by was, this piece of clothing has had its time with me, but that time is not now. It’s now time for someone else to wear it.




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About the Author: Erik Qualman

Often called a Digital Dale Carnegie and The Tony Robbins of Tech, Erik Qualman is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker that has spoken in 49 countries.

His Socialnomics work has been featured on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling. Qualman is a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT's edX labs.

His latest book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is a Pulitzer Prize nominated work.
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