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ORGANISING - who knows ....how to decide how to be and stay organised????

 
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CALLING ALL ORGANISED PEOPLE to SHARE THEIR TIPS:

(if this is somewhere else already, can the power-brokers of Permie.com please relocate this to the proper site - thanks)

Some people are organised, and some are super organised.
Some are organised but it does not look organised to the outsider.
Some just have not idea how to be organised.

It is the latter that I am interested in opening up for discussion.
But not for a WINGE, and CONFESSION of how disorganised this or that is per se.

HOW EVER..... SOLUTIONS from those that want to offer their time of typing their experiences of transformation or, of JUST HOW THEY ARE - e.g. they have always been organised and this is how they keep their kitchen or the workshop or their truck or their green house etc etc etc.

Maybe people can say..... I WOULD LIKE TO ORGANISE >>>>BLA BLA BLA>>>>> e.g. cool room. whole home, green house, tool shed, pantry.

AND the naturally or transformed ORGANISED folk can respond.

Its time to make better DECISIONS, to enable more organised approach to the next season of our journey.
ANYONE AGREE?



 
pollinator
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I am very organized. It irritates a lot of people around me as I expect them to put everything back where it belongs. I think it's useful to divide organization into two categories, organizing your things or stuff, and organizing your time or routine.

As far as organizing your stuff, I find it best to keep things where I use them and keep the things I use together, together. Sometimes this involves duplicating. I have three basic gardening tool buckets, one in each of my major gardens, so I'm not running from garden to garden for basic tools. Specialty garden tools are all stored in one area. Same thing with tools, each house has basic tools inside and then the workshop has the remainder.

I can definitely quite neurotic about organizing, my herbs are in alphabetical order as are my fiction books. Non-fiction by subject matter.

Routine is something that I've found a lot of people struggle with. As a mother, I've always been very good at it. Most children like routine. Neurodiverse children seem to like it even more. A lot of people seem to do better with externally structured routine like from school or work, etc. But I think it's very useful to be able to do it yourself. I have a general daily routine. Dealing with animals, watering, checking our water supply, etc. but I also make a list the night before for the next day. I write out our dinner menus at least a week in advance. Shop for groceries the same day each week, as well as Mail Monday. I like a little alliteration in my life. When we were doing dump runs, we had Transfer Station Tuesday. I know I'm weird.

I'm sure more will come to me, but I'm off to do some watering.
 
Joyce Harris
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I am very organized. It irritates a lot of people around me as I expect them to put everything back where it belongs. I think it's useful to divide organization into two categories, organizing your things or stuff, and organizing your time or routine.

As far as organizing your stuff, I find it best to keep things where I use them and keep the things I use together, together. Sometimes this involves duplicating. I have three basic gardening tool buckets, one in each of my major gardens, so I'm not running from garden to garden for basic tools. Specialty garden tools are all stored in one area. Same thing with tools, each house has basic tools inside and then the workshop has the remainder.

I can definitely quite neurotic about organizing, my herbs are in alphabetical order as are my fiction books. Non-fiction by subject matter.


...............I know I'm weird..




WE are ALL  weird in our own beautiful unique way.

I know what you mean about structure.
At work, where there is structure I thrive.
And I have to recreate structure to get things done at home/garden/shed etc, but it is more passion driven or necessity than ROUTINE.
Oh to have routine, like what you day, WASH DAY WEDENESDAY.
I think for me, shift work has been the downfall to maintaining any opportunity for day to day structure but with my days, not matter what day of the week it is, there is informal structure at least.

Thanks for the encouragement.
What was a PET FRUSTRATION that you over came through your gift of being organised?

 
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For someone who wants to become more organized in life, it may help to start with two guidelines.

Rule #1: Say "No" to things more often.
At the root of this, it's about prioritizing. But don't freak yourself out with big, abstract questions like, "How will I get more prioritized?" (As if that's a sensible question anyway...)
Instead, think of this more as taking time back for yourself, so you have enough time to finish the things to which you actually say "yes."

Rule #2: Have a good night's rest, as frequently as possible.
Again, this is about making sure that when you do something, you have the energy to do it all the way.
You may need to say "no" to some things in order to make sure you have a good night's rest. That's part of the benefit of this, too.
Trained professionals in the realm of getting a good night's rest will have routines evolve around setting themselves up for a good night's rest, even if that's the only "formal routine" in their lives. That's just to show you how much they value and appreciate a good night's rest.

Speaking personally: In following those two rules, I've transformed my own life for the better. I have no undesirable drama, and I continue to do really interesting, creative things. I also think the quality of the work I do - when I actually do "work" - has improved. In terms of general organization, I end up with fewer extraneous things to worry about, so everything I attempt to organize is something important to me. I naturally want them to be organized, and since I now have the energy, time, and head-space to make it happen, they become organized.

I hope this is useful...!
 
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Hi,  It might help to let us know what you would like to organize.  Things, plants, animals, or part of your daily activities. Maybe your spiritual life, or your artistic life, or life in general.

Everyone's preferred method of organizing can be different, and it can evolve as we gain experience. Don't confuse organized with clean. A place for everything and everything in its place could mean it's in that pile there. A person's way of thinking helps a person to organize. Like you said there are neat freaks to sloppy pile people. Yet they all know where things are. The key and goal is to focus on yourself and find which kind of person you are and then focus on the task at hand. What you focus on expands.

So, what do you wish to organize? How do you wish to do it. Super strict, sloppy thrown in a cupboard, or just thrown all over the ground with no clue where anything is?  "These are your clothes. This is your suitcase. You can pack them in there anyway you like." Lady Katherine will never know."
 
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As far as organizing "stuff" my motto is:  "A place for everything, and everything in its place."  Let's unpack this.

A place for everything:
- Tools, kitchen equipment, whatever, should all have a home. This "home" should be a location that makes sense to you.  For example "tools" versus "materials."  A drawer for paper, a drawer for paint, a tool box for paintbrushes.  If you have problems with grouping things together, I find it very helpful to think about how things are organized in the store and then just do it that way.  Grocery store, hardware store etc.   This is especially true of produce for example - room temp veg  (in the store) goes out on the counter, veg that are chilled go in the fridge.
- Ideally your item should be fairly close to the task that you are going to do so you're not always getting up and going to find the thing.
- Sometimes this means I have more than one of something.  For example I have a "pencil cup" on my art desk in the studio, on my regular desk, on the fridge next to the grocery list, and in the shed.  This pencil cup, in addition to containing writing implements, also contains scissors.  So I have at least 3 pairs of scissors, one for each cup.  
- I find it especially helpful to label everything that goes inside something.  The act of labeling is soothing and helps me to remember where I put things.  I even label my leftovers.  You can do this with just a roll of masking tape and a sharpie.  Label your drawers.  Label your boxes.  If putting lots of different things in a box, make a list of everything in the box and tape it on top.
- Invest in organizational systems.  Pantry organizers, shelves, nice boxes, label makers, more shelves, more containers.  

Creating these "homes" for your stuff is a super-satisfying thing to do and if you've got a problem area you can usually knock it out in a day or a half day (pantry, small toolshed, closet) but it is also an ongoing effort.  I am always thinking about my "systems" and usually do a good rework about once a year.

Everything in its place:
- This is actually the really important part and this is what people forget.  
Once you have done your organizational project of that area (pantry, etc.) take a mental snapshot of how it looks.  Now, install in yourself the habit of keeping it that way.  It is NOT OK to just shove stuff in anywhere.  Take the extra five minutes to put the thing in the right place.  When you enter or leave a room, compare your mental snapshot to the room.  Is the room at "organized" level or does it need a little help?  Take five minutes to put stuff away.

Key rules
- No storage on the floor
- No storage on flat surfaces (kitchen table, dining room table, counters).  
The exception to this is if you have a designated zone for storage on that flat surface.  But don't let your stuff creep out of that zone!

Make organization a daily habit like brushing your hair or brushing your teeth.

Hope that helps - I think about this a lot.  

I have not always been organized!  In fact as a young person I was disorganized to the extent that my parents would yell at me frequently and I could never find anything!  I trained myself to be organized and find it a much more satisfying way to live but I had to deliberately install the habits in myself.
 
Joyce Harris
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Wow
THE common theme appears to be...
Returning "everything to its place", after you have designated a place for it.

And included amongst the post so far we have tips like

group like with like.

have easy access to the things that are commonly used.

have groups of used-most near where you use them.

have multiple of the small things that matter, if you need them in multiple places e.g. have three hand spades for your large yard if you have three gardens so you store one in each, or three sets of pens and scissors etc in a pen holder in each of your desks or benches where you need them.

AND,

Organising is something that can be learned.
Your style may not be the same as another persons style, as long as you are organised within your system.
Be prepared e.g. organised, so you can be most functional, including a good sleeping pattern prepares you for a good days work (in your organised environment).

AND for those that want to start.... or reorganise

Know what you need help with? And choose which area you will start with.
Start small and address one wardrobe or area at a time. Designate a time e.g. a day or so and do it.
Know what you want it to look like, and prepare ahead with storage containers or shelves etc to make it happen.
When you have it sorted and your satisfied, then take a pic of it, either mentally or on your device, to help you refer to how to keep it that way!

AND

Not here but elsewhere, but it fits with something one of the above have mentioned.... TEN MINUTE RULE or 2 mins or 20 mins, or *2 hours etc.
To keep an already organised areas TIDY or maintained as organised, at the end of the day or in between guests or *projects,
Visually look  over the area.
Set time aside asap.
Set the timer - for 10mins to clean up after friends visited for a coffee or chat, or 2hrs after you have finished a considerable project in the workshop etc.
And put everything back in its place before the timer goes off.

I sometimes use this rule if I am using the microwave (yes I am not offgrid) for reheating something, and I double it as a timer and food prep.
So off I go and get this and that and that and this back into place.
Or quickly do those dishes etc.

Oh but ask some of you asked...
WHAT is it your want organised? then you will throw in some tips specific to that.
That is so very kind of you.
Yes I will indulge, and ask,

But I do think a qualifier is that every home has its various or limited amount of storage (hidden storage) options.  Some have a vast amount and some scant. The scant storage options seem to create a blessing for some folks and not for others.  People are so uniquely personal and peculiar - aren't we?? LOL.  Do you know anyone that is not peculiar?

 
Cris Reed
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What a lovely summary, Joyce!  I finally returned to this thread and I'm glad I did.  I agree with you that we are all peculiar in our own way.  

As far as having more or less storage space, you are correct about that.  I think that (1) storage space (2) time / energy and (3) "tidyness mindset" that we have discussed in this thread all directly impact how much "stuff" you can keep in your life while still keeping it "under control."  I like to have a lot of stuff.  However, if I can't find what I need when I want it, that feels bad, wastes my time, and could even result in me wasting money and resources if I go off and buy the thing again.  Also, if my "stuff" does not have an appropriate safe storage place for it, it could be ruined by dirt, mold, etc. which is again a waste of resources.  "Produce no waste" definitely comes into play here!  

So for me, if I don't have enough storage space to keep my stuff, that means I need to move it on down the road (donate, recycle) in order to keep what I do have organized.  Ditto if I don't have enough time or energy to set up the storage solutions I need (mental or otherwise).  
 
Joyce Harris
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Cris Reed wrote:What a lovely summary, Joyce!  I finally returned to this thread and I'm glad I did.  I agree with you that we are all peculiar in our own way.  

As far as having more or less storage space, you are correct about that.  I think that (1) storage space (2) time / energy and (3) "tidyness mindset" that we have discussed in this thread all directly impact how much "stuff" you can keep in your life while still keeping it "under control."  I like to have a lot of stuff.  However, if I can't find what I need when I want it, that feels bad, wastes my time, and could even result in me wasting money and resources if I go off and buy the thing again.  Also, if my "stuff" does not have an appropriate safe storage place for it, it could be ruined by dirt, mold, etc. which is again a waste of resources.  "Produce no waste" definitely comes into play here!  

So for me, if I don't have enough storage space to keep my stuff, that means I need to move it on down the road (donate, recycle) in order to keep what I do have organized.  Ditto if I don't have enough time or energy to set up the storage solutions I need (mental or otherwise).  




Waste
Control
Sanity
Energy
And systematic way of finding what you need, stored so it is ready to be used on demand.

I love it.

thanks for your overview.
 
pollinator
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Hi, this is an interesting question. I started reading the comments, but did not yet read all ... So that's clear, I am not such an organised person ...

I know how to be organised, I am very good at making lists, schedules, a.a. and to find out what's the right place to put some-thing ... But then I do not follow my list or keep myself at my schedule and I put things back at a different place than where they belong ...

I think I will never become a really organised person, no matter how hard I try.
Maybe for you that's the same.
 
gardener
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Joyce,

So I am hardly an example of an organized person.  That being said, I had a brief, 6 month “career” in retail management (a really bad decision on my part but I needed work) and time was always in critically short supply.  One organizing tactic that was positively ground into me during those painful months was the importance of a checklist.

I eventually became a teacher and time was no less precious.  Making and keeping a checklist kept me on track, especially for the numerous bits of minutiae that simply need to get done.  Today, my checklist includes grading some homework that came in late.  It is a pain to grade late work but I just need to get it done and having it on a list staring me in the face pretty much assures that it will get done.

I don’t know if this is the type of organization that you were thinking about, but organizing time I found to be critical.

Eric
 
pollinator
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Re - "returning everything to it's designated place". My wife drives me absolutely nuts with this. Her idea of putting things away is to put things out of sight. Usually in response to knowing that someone is going to be coming round. But she is completely indiscriminate about where things get put. I've found hammers in sock drawers, a cordless drill in a kitchen cupboard with the pots and pans, packets of seeds wedged into my office desk drawers. It. Does. My. Nut. In.  But I love her dearly, and she tolerates me forgetting to put my socks in the laundry basket.

So putting everything back in it's designated place is part of it, but it only works if everyone does it.

I also think that just having less stuff is super important. If you only have one hammer, then ensuring it ends up in the right place becomes really important. If you have three you may get a bit sloppy about using it and not returning it. I've love to have an absolutely ruthless cull of stuff, but it has been made clear that is a non-starter.

We are a family of 4, with seating for meals for at most 8 people. We have more than 20 full sized dinner plates, 40 tea mugs, etc... We'd be absolutely fine with half the number, and would have more space in the kitchen. And with fewer to start with you don't end up with a backlog of washing up, simply because you need to wash up when you run out of something.

The Mari Kondo book has been a big help for me personally, but we'd make MUCH more of a dent if the whole household were onside and participating.
 
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I loved your summary, Joyce, at the very least we know you're very organized at managing forum threads! Haha

I am by nature a choatic mind, or maybe I work at the big picture which for me includes everything. So for me, cleaning the kitchen means walking all over the house; putting away something in the bedroom, then returning from there with something for the laundry, then stopping to fill the dishwasher, then taking jackets from the kitchen chairs to the kids' bedroom, etc. It drives my sweet husband nuts because he likes to talk to me while I'm working but he can't keep up with my erratic movements. He always says, "would you make like a fly and light somewhere??"

So I am not by nature organized, but I have accepted that and try to use it to my advantage in keeping the house a bit less messy than the interior of my head. In the kids' room as well as in closets and kitchen storage--well ok pretty much everywhere--we now use boxes and baskets that are roughly categorized. Coloring books and notebooks have their own box for example, and small stuffed animals go in another while the giant stuffed animals go on the beds. We have bookshelves for "reading books", but I have given up on keeping those neatly organized and am happy enough if they are all just piled on the shelf. In the kitchen I have a cabinet for herbs/spices, another cabinet for dry goods like pasta or dried fruits, and another cabinet for things in bottles (olive oil, whiskey, vinegar, etc). We also have a bag drawer, a towel drawer, a "kitchen tool" (ladles, measuring spoons, knives, etc.), and a silverware drawer. In each of those, the contents are thrown in with no thought to organization per se--but we know that they are in that drawer. We have always kept a "junk drawer" for things like batteries, tape, broken (for repair) toys, etc. In the barn we've done the same, with separate boxes for screws, nails, pipe fittings, hinges, etc. You see I use "etc" a lot; it's not a strict system, but it's far more likely to stay a system if all it entails is throwing a thing in a place. Being more specific than that just seems to get put off indefinitely until there is no organization whatsoever. I don't even fold laundry anymore, it also gets vaguely sorted and put into a drawer or shelf.

I've found that it's helpful to think without preconceptions about *where* to keep your things. For example, hand pruners should go in the barn, right? Not for me. I keep a pair in my truck and another in my purse or backpack. If I keep them in the barn, I'm always running out there after them or forgetting them when I need them. If they're already with me when I go, I have them when I need them, which is for taking clippings of other people's plants, or harvesting weeds/herbs from the roadside.

Something else that others have mentioned is keeping less stuff. I have always been around doomsday prepper types, and although I still understand and appreciate the concepts behind all of that, I am trying to define the lines between being reasonably prepared and being a hoarder. In the end having too much stuff can be a real hindrance to happy healthy living in the now, and so long as we have shelter and a reasonably sustainable food supply I think we'll be able to deal with it if SHTF.

I guess the key for me to becoming reasonably organized has been giving up on the idea that I'll ever be that person who has everything perfect all the time. At least not while I'm running a business and raising children and caring for a farm. I guess if your goal is to be that person, then my suggestions won't be very helpful. But if you just want to be a little less scattered and be able to find things, then maybe something I've said will help you along the way.
 
Marie Abell
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Another quick tip that has helped me immensely: accepting that if I don't feel up to organizing or cleaning, it's not a good time for me to do it. My energy levels fluctuate, which I've noticed is based on my monthly cycle and also the moon phase. Maybe it isn't that way for everyone, but I definitely notice a correlation there. So on days when I have energy to get shit done, I get it done. On the other days, I focus more on working from my phone, making lists, making a trip to the city (because those are generally my only coffee days so I don't need energy hehehe) or supervising the kids on indoors projects. That way I'm not frustrated or behind on either front, and I get breaks from everything as time goes by. Sometimes it means leaving the kitchen a mess for a couple of days, but I calm myself by reminding me that I am still getting important things done and it won't stay that way forever.
 
pollinator
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I'd venture to say there are 2 types of organized: physical and mental.
Physical is the obvious stuff like storage. I think it helps to accept that things will change. You'll always find better ways to organize your STUFF so you do the best you can and know that, for example, a project might drag out all your tools and you can give yourself permission to wait for a more down day to put them away, or take the opportunity to re-organize (put them away better!)
Mental organization is equally important. Otherwise you can spin yourself out trying to juggle priorities and projects until you're over stressed from just thinking about things. My approach to this is to white-board it out. Or in my case, the poor mans white board, which is just a piece of Plexiglas. I'll always have a list going of short term and long term projects and even a "days of the week" list to jot down a rough plan of how to tackle these things.
 
Joyce Harris
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[quote=Eric Hanson]Joyce,

So I am hardly an example of an organized person.  That being said, I had a brief, 6 month “career” in retail management (a really bad decision on my part but I needed work) and time was always in critically short supply.  One organizing tactic that was positively ground into me during those painful months was the importance of a checklist.

I eventually became a teacher and time was no less precious.  Making and keeping a checklist kept me on track, especially for the numerous bits of minutiae that simply need to get done.  Today, my checklist includes grading some homework that came in late.  It is a pain to grade late work but I just need to get it done and having it on a list staring me in the face pretty much assures that it will get done.

I don’t know if this is the type of organization that you were thinking about, but organizing time I found to be critical.

Eric [/quote]

YES organising TIME is so applicable.
There are so many decisions in each day and our TIME resource is one of those priorities as it is just as much a limited source than most others.

 
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Hi,
when I read your opening post, I thought you where asking how to convince someone who is not organized to be organized. And this is a crucial question. Organized people have their strategies, but unorganized people just don't feel like doing that much work. What are all these strategies good for if you are not going to follow them?

So let's start with motivation and discipline. Motivation is the reason why you want to organize things (or thoughts, or your time), discipline is the strength to continue to do it even when you don't feel like doing it.
First you need motivation. Everyone thinks that order is needed, but is it? Keeping things in order takes time and energy. Does the resources that you invest in tidying make up for the extra productivity? Usually yes, but it is not always the case. It depends on the level of disorder. How can you know? Because it annoys you to watch that much disorder. When you see that you will need more than 10-15 minutes to remove the mess it suddenly becomes a chore. This annoyment is a response of an instinctively learned fact: that you will lose more time looking for hard to find stuff than you would have lost by tidying.
So here's the motivation: Tidy things up just before it annoys you. If you leave it for later, it'll make your life harder.
If you are the type who is not bothered by disorder, then ask yourself how much time you need to tidy things up, if that's more than 15 minutes, it's way too much disorder.

Then you need discipline. Discipline is a skill you need to learn for everything in life. This is a battle between the lazy animal in you and the rational mind. There are some strategies involving building self-confidence (small successes leading to bigger successes), negotiating with the animal (if we clean this mess, I'll let you have some cake later) or building a strong will (I am much better than this).

Now that you have the motivation to be organized and the discipline to make it happen, you are ready to learn the tips that help naturally organized people to be organized without much effort.

My tips:
- Stuff must be EASY TO FIND. This includes being in the right place (tools in the toolbox, kitchenware in the kitchen), and at sight (avoid stuff hiding under other stuff, labels for boxes, etc.). Sometimes it requires a few folders, or some boxes to group things together.
- Live with LESS. If something is too hard to find, you may as well not have it. We live with too much stuff, learn to keep only what you have the means to keep. I'll stress this, if you have too many things, keeping them tidy and organized is very hard. This includes saying no to new stuff if you can't find a place for it.
- SCHEDULE a time for organizing. We like to order things just before diner. There are some naturally organized people that can tidy on the go, but they are not reading this for help.
- The empty shelf. Try to have just one shelf plank or drawer with nothing inside. This is a temporary home for stuff that you want to include in your life, while you decide what you are going to let go. This is also an asset when you reorder your things (twice a year, for example), as you will have some place to temporary locate them.  The equivalent in managing your time is to leave some free time with no mandatory things to do,
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Matt Todd wrote:...
Mental organization is equally important. Otherwise you can spin yourself out trying to juggle priorities and projects until you're over stressed from just thinking about things. My approach to this is to white-board it out. Or in my case, the poor mans white board, which is just a piece of Plexiglas. I'll always have a list going of short term and long term projects and even a "days of the week" list to jot down a rough plan of how to tackle these things.


That's exactly what I do too. On a 'white board' I have listed the days of the week, each day divided in three parts (morning, afternoon and evening). In this way I can write down the most important things I have to do (or that need to be done) that day. The 'white board' is in the kitchen, where I see it often enough to remind me.
After something is done I wipe it away. I can use the seven days over and over again, every week.
To plan further ahead I have a calender with much 'writing space'. I have to turn the page every time for the new week, but I can easily flip through the pages too. To see what plans I have for the next week(s).
 
Stephen B. Thomas
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I don't have a smartphone, and I never have. It's a running joke that the "first line of IT defense at the office is a guy who hates technology." Personally I'm wary of something designed so well to take up all my time, so in general I avoid them.

To stay on time, to keep appointments, and to plan for the future, I carry a pocket calendar. I write it myself. Scout Books creates 32-page notebooks of various sizes (I use 3"x5"). I label each page with the name of the day and its date and the cover with the month and the year. Lately I've been using stamps and/or illustrating the covers to add a bit of colour. There's also room on the inside covers and the last page to add notes, reminders, or quotes/sayings that are significant to me.

Scout Books sells them in boxes of 50, so I invested in this a couple years ago, and have used them ever since. I think they're great, and I will definitely do this again as I approach the end of my current supply.

https://scoutbooks.com/
(No, I don't work for them. I just think they're wonderful.)
 
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Hey Stephen, oh kindred spirit! Please answer this question:
Where do you store all the filled notebooks?
 
Stephen B. Thomas
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Amy Gardener wrote:Hey Stephen, oh kindred spirit! Please answer this question:
Where do you store all the filled notebooks?

Would you believe I put them back in the box in which they were shipped to me?
Right now, there's a fair amount of extra space in the long box, because I use their notebooks for other things (like, you know, taking notes) or giving them to people I know who need something to write on.

I'm not someone who needs to archive my old notebooks or day planners, but since I write things like website passwords in them (and since I also write them on the same page in every book) it's useful to look back at a given month if I brain fart and forget a password or something like that. When I eventually go for another batch of blank ones, I'll likely hang on to the previous six months of notebooks just in case. The rest will be composted, recycled, or turned into firestarter. The old box I'll use either to ship something to someone, or it will suffer the same fate as the notebooks themselves.
 
Amy Gardener
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Thank you for this detailed response, Stephen. After reading the list of suggestions written in this thread, I realized that my main problem with organization is limited space for accumulated letters, school essays, and yes, small detailed notebooks — 13 banker’s boxes of them. They are taking up space along a 12 foot wall in my shop: a place where I would like to build a rocket mass heater bench. Unlike you, I am fairly attached to my memorabilia as some touchstone of identity: who would I be without these archives of my former self? Yet at this point, I realize that my house is not big enough for a cluttered past and a creative future: my former self is holding me back. Though it sounds black and white, I am at the proverbial fork in the road: either revel in the memory of bygone creativity or move on to new adventures (like a rocket stove). Your willingness to let go of your little notebooks and compost them to release the old into some new firmament for creative expression is just the nudge that I need to have some ritual burial of these remembrances.
 
Stephen B. Thomas
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Amy Gardener wrote:Yet at this point, I realize that my house is not big enough for a cluttered past and a creative future: my former self is holding me back.

However it happens, the paradigm shift you're articulating here is a -massive- step forward, in my opinion. Good for you.

Amy Gardener wrote: ...I need to have some ritual burial of these remembrances.

Again, if you want my advice: burn 'em. It can be so, so satisfying.

Seriously though: if you want a complete shift in your way of thinking, permanence, and attachment, this is a solid way to go. There's no way to backslide to those old habits you were trying to kick when you can come back to only a pile of ashes.

(Meanwhile: please accept my apologies for going just a -bit- off-topic here.)
 
Amy Gardener
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Well Stephen, burning is out for now. I just dug a 6' circular pit, dumped the notebooks into the depression and soaked them with water. They are officially irretrievable. I am now on my way to the neighbor's horse barn to gather manure to break the paper down faster. I'm thinking about what tree would like to grow in this beautiful spot amidst all the diaries and documentation. Yes, this feels incredibly life affirming. Thank you again!
 
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Pre-cellphone I would keep a little 2x4 notepad in my pocket with a pen, as I tend to get an idea and think "oh yeah! I should do that!" and then I see a butterfly and wonder off after it, and totally forget. So the notepad would accumulate ideas or to-dos, and the page would be tossed once done.

Now with a phone I have the free Evernote app installed to keep various notes including a to-do, grocery list, and long term project ideas like building projects at the Lab next year. It also has an option for taking pictures or recording an audio note to insert, and as I've begun the clean-and-prune phase in my house to downsize prior to moving, I've come across old items that have sat in boxes for decades untouched. So now I figure I can take pictures of those things to save online, and then toss out the original when it's only the thought/reminder of the past event which counts.

I found that a list of "organize to-do" items can also help when times are stressful or the list gets overwhelmingly large, and your brain starts to avoid that additional source of stress. I make that list into 5-10 minute items, and then maybe do one a day knowing "it's just 5 minutes", and by the end of the week the list is gone or is still smaller and not overwhelming.

Having a place for things really helps, I have a room of stuff that is mostly items I no longer use and need to donate or toss if it's broken. Normally I don't go in there so items sit ignored/forgotten. Same with a corner in the garage, this weekend I have a note to buy some shelving for the garage to get items off the floor.
 
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I am NOT organized, it has been a problem, forever. A problem I've only seriously been able to even attempt to solve in the past 15 or so years.

Background: I have chronic, complex PTSD from emotional abuse, by our housekeeper, since very young, around 3. One manifestation of this is that I'm a hoarder.

I do NOT have a hard time getting rid of things. I have a hard time not being in a mess. I have panic attacks when my space is very clean. The reasons for that are way too much info for most people, and it doesn't pertain to the question anyway...

After my PTSD was diagnosed and I did the work that I could on the PTSD, I decided I'd tackle the hoarding. I've been doing that for the past 15 years or so.  It was ... difficult. It's very hard to stop yourself when adreneline is pumping into your system to tell yourself things are  "really fine -- keep going".

However, some things worked better to try and deal with the hoarding/panic attacks/disorganiazation than others:

1) As much as possible, figure out what the underlying issue is and deal with that. If you keep doing x or y or z and it drives you nuts, you probably had a reason back in the archives. If you can figure it out, you may be able to solve the problem.

2) Try making it a game and give yourself "prizes," I started getting rid of things and counting them. I started with the year number, 2018, then doubled it the next year 2019, then tripled it... etc. Until the process was triggering panic attacks and quit, about 5 years later.

3) I realized that I had to deal with the panic attacks. I figured the minimum I wanted to get done daily (dishes, laundry, cat box, sinks, toilet) and worked for 90+ days to make it a habit. The reasoning behind this was that if I made it a habit, I wouldn't think about it anymore and I might be able to get around the panic attacks. It takes 90 days to set or change a habit. When I failed, and I did, I just ignored it and kept going. THAT worked.

What hasn't worked is trying to repeat the process. Which is just annoying.

My latest iteration of this is to send things to auction and sell things in larger lots. They go away in swathes. It's working.

And, amazingly enough, the woman who has been taking the extra furniture and housewares for auction said something to me I never thought I'd hear, "You're the most organized person I know." Say what? Me?

Part of that is that the process of writing down things I'm culling is my emotional touchstone, if it irks, the piece gets pulled. If not, it goes. Part of that requirement is also that some of this is the end of my bookstore's stock, etc. and I need records for the accountant. A lot of it too is that I know if I don't back myself into a corner beforehand, send her a list, and move the pieces out of the house into the yard or porch, that I will find reasons to keep it all.

I don't know if anything in here will help anyone else change, but I will say that I've read housekeeping books from the Civil War on, and the problems with getting organized are NOT new....



 
Joyce Harris
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Amy Gardener wrote:Thank you for this detailed response, Stephen. After reading the list of suggestions written in this thread, I realized that my main problem with organization is limited space for accumulated letters, school essays, and yes, small detailed notebooks — 13 banker’s boxes of them. They are taking up space along a 12 foot wall in my shop: a place where I would like to build a rocket mass heater bench. Unlike you, I am fairly attached to my memorabilia as some touchstone of identity: who would I be without these archives of my former self? Yet at this point, I realize that my house is not big enough for a cluttered past and a creative future: my former self is holding me back. Though it sounds black and white, I am at the proverbial fork in the road: either revel in the memory of bygone creativity or move on to new adventures (like a rocket stove). Your willingness to let go of your little notebooks and compost them to release the old into some new firmament for creative expression is just the nudge that I need to have some ritual burial of these remembrances.



OH Amy,
this resonates with me so strongly.
And the underpinning for the start of this thread.

Wondering how we  evolve in making decisions and unpacking why we keep or dont keep.
The layers of meaningfulness and the 'just because' without any real decision having been made over the years.
But when I stepped back one day,  to STOP to LOOOOOOOOOK, and SEEEEEEE, and then it all began to SPEAK to the tiny commonsensical matter within the sanity compartment of our mind, heart and soul, and SAYS.... [b]its time. But TIME FOR  WHAT??? is where is am at with all this.[/b]

Time to address the visual archived storage and e.g. like you Amy, I want to turn one of my spaces into something else.

I want to turn my garage into car storage, yes but not urgent, but hands on everything that is in there.
And a RADICAL thinking.  
HAS anyone else every done this? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> please let me know if you have.

I REALLY WANT ?NEED space to do wood working. To tinker and recycle and repair junk that others throw out onto their verge /street. Its just a thing that generates joy in the brain and the skilling. Whether is is worth something or not, it brings satisfaction to my soul.

My garage is not light, bright or spacious enough e.g. my car has to be flush to the brick wall on passenger side, for the door to open on the driver's side.  A narrow 80s build. Why I dont know, I think it was more storage than garage as the owner then was a builder!!! but had a builders truck apparently that was never parked undercover anyway. So that couple did not opt for a wide garage for car storage.  So it is frustrating although solid and strong brick. Ive painted the interior white so the dark brown of the brick is not gloomy. It helps but still its NOT a workspace joy. I keep dragging my gear outside in the open LIGHT outdoors when it is dry weather which is a tell-tale that I need light and bright space to enjoy my tinkering.

SO, literally next to the garage is my front door vestibule or such, then a front room which was added on with that 80s extension.  I love that SUNROOM especially in winter when it becomes sun soaked whenever the clouds are restrained.

But this front/sunroom calling for a calling (separate from the 1950s original section of the home).  I have pondered and pondered and wondered and wondered why I am just not able to be content and make this home work and flow.  But something that has begun to sit with me (and especially during the long extended govt deranged covid lockdowns in Melbourne Aust. where no one can visit anyone or go anywhere except front line workers and some outdoor business and of course all local or state government workers can continue from home or office).  (did I actually post this following idea, somewhere else on Permies??? I dont think so, but I have been toying with this for some months).  This sunroom would be ideal for entertaining and so forth but I just dont aim do that in large capacities in the future. So effectively I have two largish living rooms, hence the front/north room has already become more PLAY ROOM with hobby things, but now I am looking at the serious designation of making it my workshop.

<<<<<<<<<<<RADIACAL drum roll please >>>>>>>>>>>>.
what are the do's and dont's about creating a workshop inside my home?
This room would be NORTH (sun room for the southern hemisphere folk)

The overall aim is a permanent work space that I dont have to pack up each time, its undercover, light, ventilated, inspiring, and where I can have more than one project on the go, and ticker between the projects as time permits and so forth. But set up with all my equipment/fasterners/tools at hand, and home for everything and everything able to be returned to its home.

# Contain the sawdust - I would install perspex (to light the east rm) to seal a double arched doorway from that sunroom/north room to the east room (rest of the house).
# Obviously contain the wood dust - have a great exhaust - currently the 80s wall air conditioner has a 'window slot' which can host an exhaust unit i hope.
# And I need to install an new door way from front vestibule into the house, since I am sealing off the double archway.  So that would be STRAIGHT ahead and into the bedroom which would become (ideally if the code people let me) and open plan consisting of my east and west rooms (essentially living and kitchen installation dreams).
# Access to the WORKSHOP: install a double swing door (the saw dust etc is likely to clog the tracks of a sliding double door).  
# it has natural lighting of 3+m x <2m windows. cum double doors and windows.
#the current door left, from the front door vestibule will be the interior access /exit.   And I can instal  curtain of sorts that is a dust barrier from the floor upwards to keep from trudging anything from that room into the front vestibule, into the rest of the house.

# I am likely to continue to store my lengths of timber in the garage adjoined to the front entrance, on the suspended unit above the car height.
# I am catering for easy access from the driveway to the front window/cum double door access, in my redesigning of my front food garden
# I can have a simple curtain (from either side) over the perspex/dust seal (of the double archway between that front and east room behind it) to block the sight of the  NOT  wood working area if ever that was necessary.
# The room again can be repurposed for whatever in the future if I change my mind, or my needs change or I sell, or whatever. Its not major.

THOUGHTS please.
COMMENTS please.

Have you done similar? it was a disaster?
Or was it absolutely fine, after you figured out the quirks?
What worked best?
What didn't work so well?
TIPS?
and warnings?


Again thanks Amy for your post.
And for all the posts in the thread on decision making and organisation in our projects and home, shed, gardens, trucks, etc.



 
Joyce Harris
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Jennie Little wrote:I am NOT organized, it has been a problem, forever. A problem I've only seriously been able to even attempt to solve in the past 15 or so years.

Background: I have chronic, complex PTSD from emotional abuse, by our housekeeper, since very young, around 3. One manifestation of this is that I'm a hoarder.

I do NOT have a hard time getting rid of things. I have a hard time not being in a mess. I have panic attacks when my space is very clean. The reasons for that are way too much info for most people, and it doesn't pertain to the question anyway...

After my PTSD was diagnosed and I did the work that I could on the PTSD, I decided I'd tackle the hoarding. I've been doing that for the past 15 years or so.  It was ... difficult. It's very hard to stop yourself when adreneline is pumping into your system to tell yourself things are  "really fine -- keep going".

However, some things worked better to try and deal with the hoarding/panic attacks/disorganiazation than others:

1) As much as possible, figure out what the underlying issue is and deal with that. If you keep doing x or y or z and it drives you nuts, you probably had a reason back in the archives. If you can figure it out, you may be able to solve the problem.

2) Try making it a game and give yourself "prizes," I started getting rid of things and counting them. I started with the year number, 2018, then doubled it the next year 2019, then tripled it... etc. Until the process was triggering panic attacks and quit, about 5 years later.

3) I realized that I had to deal with the panic attacks. I figured the minimum I wanted to get done daily (dishes, laundry, cat box, sinks, toilet) and worked for 90+ days to make it a habit. The reasoning behind this was that if I made it a habit, I wouldn't think about it anymore and I might be able to get around the panic attacks. It takes 90 days to set or change a habit. When I failed, and I did, I just ignored it and kept going. THAT worked.

What hasn't worked is trying to repeat the process. Which is just annoying.

My latest iteration of this is to send things to auction and sell things in larger lots. They go away in swathes. It's working.

And, amazingly enough, the woman who has been taking the extra furniture and housewares for auction said something to me I never thought I'd hear, "You're the most organized person I know." Say what? Me?

Part of that is that the process of writing down things I'm culling is my emotional touchstone, if it irks, the piece gets pulled. If not, it goes. Part of that requirement is also that some of this is the end of my bookstore's stock, etc. and I need records for the accountant. A lot of it too is that I know if I don't back myself into a corner beforehand, send her a list, and move the pieces out of the house into the yard or porch, that I will find reasons to keep it all.

I don't know if anything in here will help anyone else change, but I will say that I've read housekeeping books from the Civil War on, and the problems with getting organized are NOT new....



FIRSTLY I want to say Jennie, how amazing you are for surviving life from that unnecessary childhood challenge and beyond.
You must be a resilient and determined person. Thank you for the encouragement you bring with your story.

I love your 90day challenge, and keep pushing through when/if there is a failure to comply to the standard you desire.
Do the basic CHORES necessary for all our context, but aim to do that extra project, e.g. re/organise this or that, or start on a new project or prepare for a new project, or TAKE TIME OUR for SELF, alone or with others - to regenerate our self, as part of the the LIFESTYLE choice of permaculture not for the building and outdoors but the innermost of the human self.

Yes, problems with being organised is not new, as you noted, that is true.
Problems with our personalities! is not new either, and
Problems with people!! are not new.
Problems with self!!! is not new either.
Life is a journey, of choices, and decisions, and values and desires, and and and and and the list goes on.

[color=white]"Humans, can't live with them AND
Cant live without them" Anonymous -

[/color]
(I say anonymous, as I dont think I coined this term yet  I have been saying for decades!
Just in case, I actually read it somewhere in the beginning, I put anonymous against it!)

 
Joyce Harris
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Amy Gardener wrote:Well Stephen, burning is out for now. I just dug a 6' circular pit, dumped the notebooks into the depression and soaked them with water. They are officially irretrievable. I am now on my way to the neighbor's horse barn to gather manure to break the paper down faster. I'm thinking about what tree would like to grow in this beautiful spot amidst all the diaries and documentation. Yes, this feels incredibly life affirming. Thank you again!



BRAVO
 
Stacy Witscher
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For my family, being organized and tidy is a way to manage our anxiety. It's difficult for others to understand. I have had friends and family that thought it was amusing to move things around and watch me get upset, needless to say I'm not in relationship with these people anymore. My ex used to say "sit down and relax". Relaxing is not relaxing to me until everything is tidy. And, honestly, even then, I'm a very active person. I don't really like just sitting around.

The issue in my family comes from us all have our different little things that set us off. My kid on the spectrum always liked doors to be closed, and would randomly pick things up and move them around without even realizing this. But they don't coil up the extension cord, just hang haphazard from the hook or squeeze things from the middle. As the mother, I have learned to adapt. They are getting better now that they are all adults.

All but one of us is very structured and into routines. It's a blessing and a curse.
 
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Oh, this is so beautiful! Many thanks to you, dear Joyce, and to everyone else who has made this amazing thread such a fertile bed of thought. Like Joyce, and some of the rest of you, I struggle with overwhelm. What to do with the stuff? I am at an interesting point in life where many streams of stuff have come together: items retrieved from an out-of-state storage unit, the things I had in the house before that, and the recent death of parents and all the extra items and memories that involves. Oh...and a recent move and resulting jumbled state. It is clearly not a situation that should remain as it is, but moving from overwhelm to a productive and purposeful strategy has been difficult with the other demands of life. You have all reminded me that intentionally structuring my time is a good thing.

Once I head to the pile in a disciplined manner, it is difficult to pick through the boxes (some mine or my children's, some my parents'). Like Amy, I also struggle with letting the past go. Or rather, to know what is OK to let go of and what isn't. For example, I began journaling in my teens so I could remember what it felt like to be a teenager. I knew back then that I wanted to write for young people, and wanted to leave a key to that "space" for my older, someday self.  OK, so keep those. But the box of souvenirs from a summer in Japan? The old clothing patterns and scraps of projects past? My parents' hundreds of wonderful books? Where does one draw the line? Somewhere there is the perfect balance of keeping just enough of what "was" for memory's sake, or what is truly useful for the future, and then letting the rest go.  I haven't found that quite yet. I do know that sacrificing present or future growth, creativity, and productiveness because I am looking backward (and schlepping the past from room to room, and shelf to shelf) is not a good option. No doubt most of us are on a sort of continuum here -- some having pretty much figured it out, and others just getting the hints of how to start.

All of this to say, I am very grateful for our thread starter, and for the shared tips, patterns, thoughts and struggles of all the others on this thread! You inspire me!
 
Jennie Little
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Stacy,

I know a lot of people for whom order is a requirement of serenity! I wish...

For me, it’s the opposite.

My stuff was given away, stolen, etc. without my consent as a kid. I didn’t “own” any of it. The more I was attached to something, the more likely it was to be broken, belittled, stolen, or given away.  I learned camouflage and to treat the things I cared about the most as if I cared little for them.

Programming works, however you’re programmed. And it’s damned hard to undo.


 
Abraham Palma
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Joyce Harris, " But something that has begun to sit with me (and especially during the long extended govt deranged covid lockdowns in Melbourne Aust. where no one can visit anyone or go anywhere except front line workers and some outdoor business and of course all local or state government workers can continue from home or office)."

Have you noticed? Principle #1 is to observe and interact, but we usually don't have the time to observe. We are too in a hurry, we want things done for yesterday, we become hands full with whatever we think is the urgent and forget the important. The lockdowns, hard as they were, were a godsend for some people. For boredom is the source of creativity.
In your design, if you want to use permaculture, next step is to capture and store ENERGY. In your case, how can you capture energy for your rooms? Sunlight? Temperature? Wind? Take the principles, step by step, to help you design this space.

For example, north faced room are usually darker, with smaller windows, because it is much easier to control sun exposure from south facing walls, and windows are usually ill insulated, so the smaller the northern windows, the better. So we use the northern rooms for things that don't require much light (like a garage). You may install bigger windows, if that is not a problem in your climate. Maybe you can increase the albedo of the street (remove trees that may be shading too much, paint exterior walls in white), maybe you can install enough lightbulbs.
But all these solutions are working against Nature, since Nature dictates that the southern rooms are brighter, so you are making your life harder than it should be. Instead, can you redistribute your rooms so the workshop is no longer facing north? Maybe a simple outside roof where you can place your bench?
 
Joyce Harris
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Abraham Palma wrote:Joyce Harris, " But something that has begun to sit with me (and especially during the long extended govt  lockdowns in Melbourne Aust.

..... to help you design this space.

For example, north faced room are usually darker, ,,,,,
.....Nature dictates that the southern rooms are brighter, so you are making your life harder than it should be. Instead, can you redistribute your rooms so the workshop is no longer facing north? Maybe a simple outside roof where you can place your bench?



Ah Abraham. THANKS so much for reading my text.
I may not have been big on detail, so I will expand a little here.


I see you are from Spain. the northern hemisphere.
I am in Australia the southern hemisphere, and it is easy to get our norths and souths confused regarding warm/light sides of the buildings/gardens when we have not go our heads upside down or the right side up. LOL.

Your SOUTH is my NORTH. LOL.

SO..... YES, the room of the house (and the garage opening, too) proposed for the potential workshop, is YOUR south side - light and bright.  (However my garage is not light and bright because it is smaller and medium brown coloured brick)
The garage does to appeal to me, and the front spare 1980s extension sunroom does for being able to accommodate a workshop.
BUT I am wondering JUST HOW WEIRD IS THAT to have an indoor workshop.
I mean people have ART studios, inside, isn't wood working ARTISTIC?

So I just have not got my head around the DECISION MAKING because I have not fully accepted whether is is ACCEPTABLE TO DO SUCH A THING??

And yes, Abraham,  I would like to have an undercover, outdoor permanent workshop but I cannot manage that.
I would have to install all manner of cabinetry that is weatherproof and theft-proof etc, and pack it all up every time for those two reason alone.
And packing it up and locking it up is more a deterrent to get on with project, for me at least, hence the desire to have a permeant workshop/studio be it inside or if I really could fit out the garage and INCLUDE my car oneway so be it. It would mean that it would be a limited season space. due to in climate weather and so forth.

Again, thanks so much for reading my post and YES, I agree that LOCKDOWNS/ or timeout from the run-of-the-mill do have a silver lining,
(Most of the time I have been working across the past two years, so I really have not had so much down times no like most of our families and households in my State - which apparently is one of the worst managed in the world. Grrr. Lots of praying has been more labour of love these past two years).

So...it currently stands that.... I just have not got my head around the DECISION MAKING process.
Because I realise I have not fully accepted whether is is ACCEPTABLE TO have a workshop on the outside room of a home rather than in a shed/garage, or if you have warm/mild climate outdoor workshops

Any tips?

 
Stephen B. Thomas
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Joyce Harris wrote:

Amy Gardener wrote:Well Stephen, burning is out for now. I just dug a 6' circular pit, dumped the notebooks into the depression and soaked them with water. They are officially irretrievable. I am now on my way to the neighbor's horse barn to gather manure to break the paper down faster. I'm thinking about what tree would like to grow in this beautiful spot amidst all the diaries and documentation. Yes, this feels incredibly life affirming. Thank you again!



BRAVO

Yep, I agree. This kind of thing takes a lot of courage.
 
pollinator
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Joyce Harris wrote:

So...it currently stands that.... I just have not got my head around the DECISION MAKING process.
Because I realise I have not fully accepted whether is is ACCEPTABLE TO have a workshop on the outside room of a home rather than in a shed/garage, or if you have warm/mild climate outdoor workshops



It's your house do what you want with it I have a seed room inside my house, with shelves and lights and compost everywhere, most people would have that outside but I don't see any point in heating part of my barn when I have space inside to do it. And who are you thinking of when you say Acceptable, acceptable to whom? Yourself? your neighbours? your family? random strangers who happen to call, all apart from yourself can go *** themselves it's not their business, the only thing I would consider is if you want to sell soon.

Here it is very common to have extended the house into the barn and the first room in the barn, or the last room in the house, whichever way you want to look at it tends to be the workshop.
 
Joyce Harris
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

Joyce Harris wrote:

So...it currently stands that.... I just have not got my head around the DECISION MAKING process.
Because I realise I have not fully accepted whether is is ACCEPTABLE TO have a workshop on the outside room of a home rather than in a shed/garage, or if you have warm/mild climate outdoor workshops



It's your house do what you want with it I have a seed room inside my house, with shelves and lights and compost everywhere, most people would have that outside but I don't see any point in heating part of my barn when I have space inside to do it. And who are you thinking of when you say Acceptable, acceptable to whom? Yourself? your neighbours? your family? random strangers who happen to call, all apart from yourself can go *** themselves it's not their business, the only thing I would consider is if you want to sell soon.

Here it is very common to have extended the house into the barn and the first room in the barn, or the last room in the house, whichever way you want to look at it tends to be the workshop.





BRILLIANT. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

It is only myself to please. And permission was already granted but the foundational firmness felt a little rocky.
And being an eccentric soul anyways I am used to not fitting into moulds. Even my own if I try to tame thy self!!!

IT WAS the next degree of turning this front room into a work zone, was just a little OUT THERE, more than usual.
And AMONGST like minded (sort of) folk HERE, I dared to 'reveal' the soul. OLL




 
Joyce Harris
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OKAY...... thanks to all who been contributing here to this thread of posts about decision making and being organised.

NOW.... as I have revealed, my desire to have my front room
become my workspace/wood working area cum whatever I can tinker with.......

LETS LOOK AT TIPS for organising a workshop!!

What are your MUST HAVES in your workshop?
e.g. what would make you miserable if you could not have it.
Or have space for if you relocated or such?


And....
How do you keep everything organised?


And...
is your work bench FIXED?
Freestanding with breaks?
Against a wall?
In the middle of the workspace?
One workbench or 3?


Any tips on exhausts for removing sawdust?
Any successful ways, on a budget?



Looking forward to any and all responses?
(and what are you working on, and need decisions or organising tips to assist your projects or planning?)
 
Jennie Little
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We have a good shop vac. DH makes sure the tools he uses can be hooked up to it for dust removal. Given what you already have and budget, which I don't obviously know, can you adapt some of your tools to connect to a vac/dust collector?

I've always wondered if something like the in-house grill fan have would work. The grills a neighbor has have a provision to remove smoke or whatever right at the grill level. I've wondered for a long time if you couldn't do some sort of workbench vac scoop that after a project is done and the tools removed you could just turn on and then brush the bits into?

I don't know if the ideas here are practical or useful? I'm just brainstorming.
 
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