On my Monday morning check-in this week, I shared photos of my latest knitting project, which quite predictably, was another scarf. I thought I’d share a bit more about this scarf…and weave in an organizing lesson. Sound fun?

Knitting scarf Every time I start a new knitting project someone in my family asks “What are you knitting?” And everytime someone asks me this question, I answer: “A scarf.” Their reply is just as predictable as my answer:  Another scarf?” they ask. Yep. Of course, another scarf. See I’m not just your ordinary knitter. Nope, I am a scarf knitter. And while this approach to knitting isn’t for everyone—it works for me. And that’s where my little organizing lesson comes in. Which is this:

Before you start a project, understand why you’re doing it.

My first step when I work with clients—whether coaching clients, in-home clients or workshop participants—is to help them understand their goals for getting organized. Sometimes we can get lost on the way to an organized space, and understanding our reasons for wanting to be more organized really helps. For some people, getting organized is all about how a space looks. We’ve all seen the organizing eye-candy in magazines—photos of stylish spaces filled with beautiful containers—and really who wouldn’t love that? But organizing can be about so much more than just creating a space that looks good. There’s function—creating a space that works well and makes sense to all of its inhabitants. There’s the feeling an organized space can give you—a feeling of calm, control, peace. And most important of all, there’s what happens on the other side of organized. The space you create in your home and life via organization opens up opportunities for doing other things…like spending more time with your family, or having friends drop by unannounced and being able to welcome them in without worry about clutter. And maybe just maybe, you’ll take up knitting. ;)

With any project—whether its an organizing project, a knitting project, or any other type of project you’d like to put on your to-do list, it’s incredibly helpful to understand your reasons for investing your time and energy into that project before you begin. What do you want out of this project anyway?

For me, knitting isn’t just about creating another scarf. Instead, it’s about the actual process of knitting. I find knitting to be incredibly relaxing, and because I spend so much of my time on the computer, knitting gives me the chance to do something tangible and create something that I can hold in my hands. It’s extremely rewarding to start—and finish—a project in a short amount of time. I also love knitting because it’s portable and it allows me to interact with and be with my family while I enjoy a hobby. Just think though—if I didn’t understand these goals I might find myself knitting a sweater or socks or something else more complicated than necessary to achieve my goals. And in the process I could grow incredibly frustrated. My creative outlet designed to eliminate stress, could become a burden that actually adds to stress to my life—which isn’t at all my desired outcome. Just as with knitting, with organizing there are many possible destinations and reasons for getting organized. And understanding your goals before starting a project makes it easier to navigate your way through the project and make decisions. So, before starting your next organizing project, ask these questions:

  • What’s this all about for you?
  • Why do you want to get more organized?
  • How will you know when you’ve arrived at destination organization?
  • And best yet, what things will you do in your freshly organized space?

Ahh…the possibilities!

Before I call this a wrap, here’s a quick photo of my latest scarf. (And wow, I have to tell you, doing a self-portrait in a mirror…not as easy as it looks!)

Another scarf

I found this pattern via ravelry which led me here. (Ahhh…love that site!) My scarf is narrower than the pattern called for (23 stitches wide) and shorter (because I only had two skeins of yarn.) I used Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton Yarn in Dusty Blue (from Michael’s.)

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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