Floor Tape Store

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Organize with A Thing A Day Challenge

When it comes to organizing, starting can be the most difficult.  For most of us looking at a cluttered area can be a daunting task from the shear magnitude of the effort.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week

Over at the organization blog Unclutterer an ambitious reader is challenging people to get rid of one item a day.  In less than two months, there are more than 400 posts in the discussion with 59 people already participating in the ATAD Challenge.

The rules are simple and provide immediate rewards.  An explanation about the challenge from the creater:

The challenge is about getting rid of one object a day, for … a month? A year? It’s up to you how long you want your challenge to last.

Whether you give away, trash or donate the object is immaterial, but it must be gone from your life and space. Putting it into storage doesn’t count; though you are allowed to, say, collect the things in a box to donate them at the end of the month.

Oh, and you’re also allowed to cheat and fill your quota ahead of time, like throwing out 7 things on Monday, making that a week’s worth of ATAD.

By telling us on here what you got rid of today will not only help with the accountability issues, you’ll also help others rethink their possessions (He got rid of his xyz? Come to think of it, do I really need mine?)

There are several Lean Lessons to be learned here.  First, when confronted with a large task you should look for ways to break the tasks down into smaller more managable activities.  Second, change is difficult and requires a new habit.  Doing activities frequently (like daily) supports establishing a new habit and routine.  Overtime this becomes the new norm and part of daily life. Lastly, friendly competition can be effective in motivating individuals and teams to change their mindset.

Learning is doing so how can you use this approach in your organization or at home to make a change that you have been putting off.

If you enjoy this post you may want to connect with me on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter.  You can also subscribe to this feed or email to stay updated on all posts.  For those Facebook fans join A Lean Journey on our facebook fan page.


  1. This extremely practical post reminds me of a crucial concept. When it comes to big topics like lean manufacturing or everyone's favorite (leadership), it's less about the ideas and more about daily behavior. An unapplied/unpracticed concept is merely information. If we seek wisdom, we must apply ideas repeated; i.e the application of senses/sensors produces data, the application of data produces information, the application of information produces knowledge, and the application of knowlege produces wisdom. P.S. I try to practice this with my basement--I must bring one thing up to throw away every time I go down there.

  2. Tim,

    Another great post! This could be a way to apply 5S at home or in the office. Sustaining is the tough part of 5S and getting rid of something daily would help to sustain the gain.

    Chris Paulsen