The 7 Disorganisations of Stuff

Recognise the 7 types of disorganisation that prevent you from enjoying your stuff.

Our possessions should contribute to a peaceful and fulfilling life. But, all to often, material things become a hindrance to a happy and productive existence. Sometimes, it is obvious that our possessions are causing us pain: we get frustrated when the car breaks down, or you’ve misplaced your biro or even when things just look messy. At other times, we are unaware of disorganisation: we get used to the way things are, and don’t even notice that things could be better. Either way, taking steps to eliminate disorganisation will both reduce stress and make you more productive.

But, where to start? The first step to dealing with disorganisation is to recognise it. So, take a look around your environment, and see how many things fall in to the following seven categories of disorganisation, then decide what you’re going to do about them:

1. Homeless Things

Anything that are not put away properly, or which don’t have somewhere to belong, or which I can’t find when they’re needed.

  • Whenever something new comes in to your life, find a home for it as soon as possible.
  • Follow the “one in, one out” rule.
  • Develop the habit of putting things away whenever you’re done with them.
  • Make it as easy as possible to put things away.
  • Regularly search your environment for homeless things and find them a home.

2. Things I Don’t Need

Anything you don’t actually need, or don’t need yet, or of which I have too many. All too often, these kinds of things do have a home, and are taking up valuable space that could be used for the things that don’t.

  • Regularly weed out the possessions you don’t need any more.
  • Whenever something new comes into your life, ask yourself if you really need it.
  • Borrowing or hiring is often better than owning.

3. Things that Aren’t Ready to Use

Anything that needs repair, cleaning, new batteries, assembly, or unpacking before I can use it. An item isn’t ready for use if I need to pay attention to the item rather than just using it for its intended purpose.

It is harder to maintain than to obtain.Edwin Louis Cole

  • Keep a small stock of generic spares: batteries etc.
  • Work on regular cleaning and maintenance schedules.
  • Whenever something new comes in, prepare it for use as soon as possible.
  • When a maintenance need arises, get the maintenance done as soon as you can.

4. Things I Need but Don’t Have

This waste is often the easiest identify and eliminate, and that can be a problem in itself. We live in a world where buying things is usually made very easy. As a result, I tend invest too much of my time and energy on obtaining things, when I should instead be realising the value of the things that I have already obtained.

  • Plan work in advance, so that you have the appropriate materials and tools when you need them.
  • Get to know the best places to obtain things quickly when you need them.
  • Find an alternative that will do the same job.

5. Things that Are Inconveniently Located

… thus making them hard to get at or put away.

  • Store things as near as possible to the place they’re needed.
  • Improve the type of storage you use.

6. Things that You’re Waiting For

This includes things that are on order, in the repair shop, or which other people have promised to lend to you but which you don’t have yet.

  • Let people know when you need things and why.

7. Poor Quality Things

Things that don’t do their job well, or which are difficult to use, or which break easily.

  • Obtain fewer, higher quality things.