PrintThis is the big one.  This is the trunk of the tree from which all my other organizing philosophies branch out.  But what exactly do I mean by circulation?

A truly effective organizing system must circulate freely, just as your body’s blood supply must circulate freely.   In both cases, when there’s a blockage there’s a problem.  It’s also important to note that the circulatory system moves forward in stages.  It advances forward to the next valve, then it stops and moves forward to the next and so on, but it is a reliable circular flow forward.

Let’s compare this to the daily mail.  When it piles up on the dining table, it can be overwhelming and it can easily lead to trouble like bills not getting paid, opportunities missed, and late fees.  The opposite extreme would be to pay the bills the same day they come in.  I admire people who can do this, but for most of us that’s not practical.   What IS manageable is to move the bills FORWARD to the next stage, the next valve if you will.  Do a quick (2 minute) divide-and- conquer and dispatch with the magazines, catalogs, newsletters, junk mail, etc. then place just the bills in a bill organizer, ready to pay a week before due.  Now the next stage is FORWARD to bill paying, not backward to the dining table.  The bill paying stage will flow more freely because the bills are isolated, ready to go.

A complete organizing system must have a complete cycle.  To continue the bill paying example, after the payment is sent the record goes in your file cabinet; after the statement stays handy for the tax year it can be archived; after it has been archived for 7 years (usually) it is safe to recycle or shred; after it has been recycled into new paper it can (at least theoretically) be used for new bills.  Thus the cycle comes full circle.

Some items in our homes tend to circulate more naturally.  For example clothes: they need to go from dresser to body, to hamper, to washer, to dryer, and back to dresser again.  Another example dishes:  they need to go from cupboard to table, to sink, to dish rack, to cupboard again.  We know that when the laundry and dishwashing don’t get done, the clothes and dishes start piling up.  These examples may seem pretty obvious, but the point is you need similar systems of circulation for EVERY item you use.

Every healthy living thing requires systems that circulates freely.  Blood, oxygen, and water are just a few examples of things that need to circulate.  If you want your home and office to feel alive, it must have organizing systems that circulate too.

TODAY’S KEY TO UNLOCKING CLUTTER:  Circulation prevents accumulation.