Similar to advice by cfoley and Oogie:
In the book "Confessions of a Happily Organized Family" http://books.google.ca/books?id=9CIN...Ag&redir_esc=y Deniece Schofield recommends
using four boxes: Throw away, Give away, Put away, and Don't know.
In that order (AFAIR). In other words, you have to lift the item over the Throw away
and Give away boxes in order to get to the Put away box; it's slightly less
effort to just drop it into the Throw away. Put away is for things to put
away in a different room. If they're to put away in the room you're in, you
just put them away immediately.
You don't spend a lot of time thinking; you just drop things in Don't know
if you're not sure. Then when that box is full, you label it with the date and
store it in the garage for a period of time (six months?). During that time,
if you think of something you want you can go and open the box and look
for it and take it out. At the end of the time period, you throw away (or give away to
a rummage sale) the whole box without opening it. I don't use exactly
that system but have done similar things (especially with papers).
Here's an idea: Take some boxes. Take
a whole bunch of stuff from your room and quickly put it in one box: maybe just
pick stuff up from the floor without sorting it, or pull everything off a shelf
or something. Then take the box somewhere else -- maybe the diningroom table,
or a picnic table outside (where dust can blow away).
Pick up one item at a time from the box and sort it into the other
boxes. I try to keep the number of categories fairly small, but often have
more than four, maybe as many as ten or more. The number of categories has to
be small enough that you can easily reach all the boxes you're sorting into,
and should also be small enough so you don't have to think too much.
I aim for the four simple categories listed above, but when there are a lot
of similar things in the box (e.g. "books", all to be kept and put on a shelf;
or pieces from a game) I find it helps to sort them that way.
I label the boxes as I go along, e.g. "paper recycling".
After sorting the box, you can take a few deep breaths and a drink of water,
check how much time has elapsed and how much energy you have,
and then decide whether to do another boxful. You need to leave
enough time and energy to put away (at least into
temporary locations) the boxes you've sorted things into.
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