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Clutter Campaign - Maintain Your Success

To want in one's heart to do a thing for its own sake; to enjoy doing it; to concentrate all one's energies upon it-that's not only the surest guarantee of success. It is also being true to oneself. Amelia Earhart

Live Clutter-Free Forever. Have you noticed how clutter is like a boomerang--it seems to come back quickly? The best way to prevent the "boomerang effect" is to commit to a way of life that supports your new resolve to stay clutter-free forever. The five-step Clutter Campaign is not a step-by-step linear process. Instead, it is like a circle continuing in an unbroken line. You continue to design your vision, eliminate your excuses, commit your time, select your tools and maintain your success. As each new setting or challenge arrives, you know exactly what to do next.

Here are six options for you to explore:

? Revisit the freedom of your clutter-free, ideal setting. As you continue the circle of your Clutter Campaign, remember your picture of your ideal setting. Remember how that setting helped you feel and operate. Identify some symbol of how good your setting can feel. This might be a set of "before" and "after" photos, a piece of art, a special set of linens, fresh flowers. Revisit this symbol regularly and use it to help you stay committed to a lifetime of living clutter-free.

? Explore holding on and letting go. Record some of your thoughts and discoveries as you have had experiences with holding on to items and letting go of other items in this Clutter Campaign. What were three items easy to let go of? What are three you now have a renewed appreciation for? What are three things you can pass on to others to watch their pleasure in using them?

? Identify other users who will benefit from your surplus. List the organizations and individuals you enjoy donating to. List their contact information and terms of accepting donations from you. Does donating your surplus make it easier to let go of things?

? Schedule time/select plan for regular attention to organizing. Identify specific times for regular organizing tasks and time blocks for the intermittent ones. Is it better for you to set aside one week a year and get everything all accomplished, or do you prefer to do twenty minutes a day, three times a week to keep it all under control? No system is right unless it works for you. Note below the time and plan you will follow.

? Create systems of support and/or accountability. What does it take to keep your resolve strong? Do you operate better from attraction to your vision or from a desire to escape the Clutter Trap? Who encourages you in your process? What method, person or process keeps you on target? Do you use rewards or incentives to keep yourself going? List three elements of support or accountability that work for you.

? Celebrate successes. In every lifetime process, we need to take time out to celebrate our successes. This helps remind us how far we have come and strengthens our resolve to continue. Sometimes the celebration is small and private, sometimes is it extravagant and public. Do you allow yourself to a special pampering, take luxurious time with a friend, take time for a hobby or passion? List some of the ways you celebrate success. Ask other people too, and record some of their responses.

Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at

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