Cleaning Up Along the Way

It should be obvious. Cleaning up along the way makes sense, a lot of sense.

It’s so nice to complete a project and have it really complete. When you sit down to dinner, what a delight to have the kitchen already neat and tidy. When you spend time in the garden and allocate the last 10 or 20 minutes to put away your tools, you earn a moment to step back and admire your work.

Whether your office is a place at the kitchen counter or an entire room, what a difference it can make when you clean up along the way. It’s the difference between a clear, clean workspace and a disastrous mountain of paper. Even when you go paperless, it helps to clean up along the way. A sea of computer files can be just as overwhelming as a mountain of papers.

Mardi Gras debris

After the parade
by Gika Rector

And what about our personal interactions? Thomas Leonard, the father of modern coaching, said, “When someone is doing something…you must communicate immediately or forever carry the extra burden of your unspoken reaction.” How many people or groups of people do you avoid because of something you didn’t clean up along the way? What if you addressed issues as they came up?

What if you haven’t cleaned up along the way? What if you have some piles of stuff, or baggage, to deal with? Start with baby steps. Don’t try to do it all at once. Pick a place, tackle a few things—keep allowing time to clean up along the way, even in this process—and then get on with the rest of your routine.

Whatever you do, notice. Notice what it’s like when you clean up along the way. Notice what it’s like when you don’t. Notice what it’s like when you go it alone. Notice what it’s like when you find some assistance along the way. Notice what you notice.

if you’re facing a mountain of stuff and don’t want to tackle it alone, consider working with someone like my friend Gayle Goddard, The Clutter Fairy. She’s a brilliant professional organizer. Better than anyone else I know, Gayle has a talent for understanding our relationships with our stuff. She even makes it fun!

If you’re facing a different kind of mountain and don’t want to tackle it alone, consider coaching. Coaching is one way to clean up old ideas and stories and expectations, making room for fresh possibilities. It might look like baby steps, but coaching often leads to surprising transformation. Simple baby step: e‑mail me.

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