December – A time for indulging in holiday cheer, cooking (or at least dining) on tasty treats, shopping for loved ones, and wrapping up our professional year…it’s also time for an even more important task – planning our New Year’s Resolutions!
If you are like most Americans, you make a long list of very similar resolutions that you full heartedly intend to stick to – at least for a few months anyway. And if you are like me, they tend to revolve around fitness, achieving professional goals, taking long-awaited vacations, getting organized and wrapping up all of those items on my “to-do” lists, volunteering more, and starting afresh.
At the strong recommendation of a close friend whose professional opinion I highly respect, I recently started reading the book “Getting Things Done”. There are dozens of “how to get things done”, “be more productive”, “achieve your goals”, blah, blah, blah. To be honest, I’m sure these books are great, but I’m typically too busy to commit to reading them. This one book is different and I couldn’t help but notice how following the advice of cleaning out clutter, getting more organized, and minimizing my “stuff” has increased my productivity, made me feel organized and in-control, and more importantly, I have provided tangible assistance to local DFW charities
(I am of course donating my beloved “stuff” to the Junior League of Dallas’ Rummage Roundup which distributes 100% of all proceeds to local DFW not-for-profits supported by the Junior League of Dallas).
I started with my holiday storage closet. Like you, I have a ton of decorations – some of which I love and use, some of which I inherited from family members, and some of which, I’m not even sure WHY I ever bought them. They are great decorations (some of which were expensive but no longer mesh with my current contemporary taste). So, unless I absolutely loved an item, I set it aside to be donated. I was amazed at how great I felt just from downsizing and reorganizing that one closet! And I realized – this is JUST THE BEGINNING!
So, I continued following the advice of the book and moved on to conquering my guest bedroom closet – and then to my bedroom closet – and then to each room itself – and then to my office, each time downsizing most everything by 20%. With each item I laid eyes on, I asked myself if I really NEEDED it. If I didn’t LOVE the item, use it on a regular basis, or if I planned to replace it once we bought a house, I boxed it up and put the box in the back of my car for donation. This is especially true for clothes and it didn’t matter how nice or how costly the item was. Picture frames, wall decorations, clothes, shoes, etc. I constantly asked myself “Will I really miss this item? Will I EVER be size zero again so that I can wear this? Wouldn’t it be better to donate it and help someone else in need?”
With each trip to my car, I felt GREAT! I found myself literally calculating the money that would be raised from my donations! I realized that I was making a tangible difference in the community. A family would have a hot meal and a bed to sleep in at a local shelter, a child would receive much needed educational assistance, a Senior would find solace in the company of a new friend. And so much more!
Now, I’m still in the procss of de-cluttering and haven’t yet completed reading the book, but I feel compelled to challenge everyone to spend time December sorting through your “stuff”, organizing and labeling each container, and donating your beloved “stuff” to the Junior League of Dallas’ Rummage Roundup. In addition to feeling more in control and more organized, you’ll feel blessed and thankful for everything that you already have. And…..I’m willing to bet that you’ll achieve a few more of those New Year’s Resolutions than you have in years past!
Cheers for a personally productive 2011 and for a record breaking Rummage Roundup!
Stacey J. Relton
President, Park Cities Careers