A simple 3-step process for tidying up anything in your life

Clear out, process, store… three steps to a tidy life.  Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

There are three main methods for tidying anything up:

  1. Clearing what is not important
  2. Processing what is important
  3. Storing what is important
That’s it.


Imagine you have a dirty sink area, with washing up in it.  It makes sense to first remove anything that belongs elsewhere.  That way, you clear much-needed space for processing.  Then you clean the dishes.  Then, finally, you place all the kitchen equipment where it can easily be found next time you use it.


Visit a temple and you will find the same system in action.  Everything unimportant to the function of the building is cleared away.  On a regular and orderly basis, the important items (people, religious artefacts, literature) are processed.  Then, after processing, everything is put away carefully, where it can be found for next time.  This is why temples and churches are often such peaceful places.


This sounds harsh, but it’s not meant to be.  The idea is to create focus by removing distraction.  Your resources divide into four types: people, physical resources, systems, and finances.  So make sure your central contact list is relevant.  Make sure your physical environment is cleared of redundant objects.  Regarding systems, make sure that any faulty patterns of operating are eradicated (this can be addictions; damaging patterns of relationship; unhealthy binge-and-starve mechanisms… you will know what they are).  Regarding finances, only keep the costs you absolutely need.


Now you can process what is left.  Socially, you can attend to the people you have decided to help, using the specific objects you have kept in order to do it.  You can use therapy or self-therapy to rid yourself of unuseful patterns of thought or action.  Financially, you can attend to any contract or service renewals so as to choose the most efficient spend.


Finally, you can make sure that, when you are not in contact with them, the resources you have are kept nicely.  You can make sure the people you help can look after themselves when you are not there.  You can make sure that all your physical objects (house, car, clothes, foodstuffs, etc) are well-arranged so as to be easy to find and use when you need them.  Regarding systems and patterns of living, you can ensure that your list of events and contacts is backed up and easy to access at any time.  Regarding finances, you can make sure your record keeping and summarising is tidy and accurate.


Start with something easy and see how it goes.  For instance, you could target a wardrobe.  First, ruthlessly remove anything that is not going to stay in there, and dispose of it.  Secondly, clean anything that needs it.  Thirdly, store the rest back in there, in a way which serves you next time you need it.



Do I feel well-organised?

In the areas where I don’t feel organised, what is going wrong?

Firstly, have I removed from my life anything that is not important to it?  Can I be ruthless in losing what is burdening me?

Secondly, am I daring to process the important stuff?  (Or am I wasting time procrastinating on unimportant stuff?)

Thirdly, do I have everything stored logically and well, so that it does not interfere with other tasks, but is easy to access when I need to?

I can start anywhere I like.  If I don’t start, I won’t get tidy.  If I do start, I’m on my way.