Follow the Decluttering:
Welcome to Part 2 of my decluttering operations order. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. Below is what I’ve written up for my son’s bedroom. In the Army, we would not only deliver this as a briefing but an operation could involve rehearsals and a demonstration using what’s called a sand-table or terrain model kit.
I need to execute this soon because his room is a disaster and seems to just be getting worse. To be fair, he did try to clean it up a little recently and we were able to see more of the floor than we’ve seen in a while.
I’m asking for feedback before I do this so feel free to make comments below or send me an email if you have a suggestion for something I missed.
Situation: Your bedroom is a complete shambles. It’s impossible to walk from the door to the other side of the room without stepping on something. The floor is covered in Legos, sheet music, Nerf darts and lots of dust. There are clothes on the floor and the desk because there’s no room in the closet. The closet is full because there are clothes that no longer fit and/or you don’t like to wear.
Mission: Together we (who) will clean up and remove excess items from (what) your bedroom (where) so that the floor is clear making it easy to clean and it will be a place where you can practice your music without distraction while being safe from tripping on objects (why).
Execution: This operation will be executed in several phases:
Service & Support: To keep this simple, we’ll just list the items that we’ll have on hand:
Command & Signal: As always, mom is in charge of everything. She will have the final say on pretty much everything, especially the disposition of all clothes. I will be the one helping with the room to keep things on track.
Safety: Believe it or not, safety is one of the prime reasons to clean up this room. There are multiple reasons for that. First, my son has allergies. With a messy room things get dusty and it’s very difficult to clean. Second, even without being in a rush, it can be a life-risking undertaking to walk through the room. Never mind what could happen if there was an emergency and you had to run out of the room. You could easily trip on something and knock yourself out on the desk.
So that’s pretty much it. I’ll try it out and then report back on how it goes. I’ll also refine it based on any feedback received and post the updated version. Thanks for reading.
So my first blog post was one year ago. Woohoo! It was titled “You Have To Start Somewhere” and if I remember correctly, I felt like a complete fraud because right after posting it I went out and bought my kids a piano to go along with the old Hammond Organ we rescued from the curb. Everyone needs both a piano and an organ, right?
In that first post I talked about just how overrun my house was with toys, clothes, and lot of other stuff. One year later as I glance around my house, I don’t really feel like I’ve made a lot of progress but my wife and I just had a conversation this weekend and she assured me that more things have left the house than have come in.
We’ve had Easter Seals and Purple Heart pick up piles of stuff multiple times and I’ve taken two large carloads of clothes and baby stuff to a nearby pregnancy crisis center. We’ve delivered or mailed at least three carloads of clothes and toys to family and friends. Somehow, I still find myself tripping over Legos and cars.
I started taking pictures of the piles of stuff we were getting rid of to have some inspiration when I start to feel like I’m not making progress. Here are a few for your enjoyment:
I’ve learned a lot in the past year about why we hold on to things we don’t need and some of the best methods to let them go. I’ve also learned a lot about running a website. I’ve learned some HTML and some search engine optimization (SEO). I discovered something called Markdown which is a tool specifically for writing content for the internet. You can write in a text editor or an editor made specifically for Markdown and then easily convert that into HTML. I’ve also learned how to use tools for automated emails and where to find quality free images to use on my blog when I don’t have one of my own.
Hopefully, you’ll notice some changes for my one-year anniversary. First, I created a new logo. Maybe I’ll have some t-shirts, hats, and coffee cups made up or something! Just kidding. No one needs more of that junk. Also, after a year of posting sporadically I’m committing to posting something at least weekly. Hopefully it will even be something worth reading and I really hope I can inspire others to rid their lives of the extra stuff sitting around taking up your time and space.
Thanks for celebrating one year with me. If you’re new, please take a look around the site and read some of my older posts. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Send me an email. It will come directly to me and I’ll be happy to respond. Cheers!
In the Army, we have a format for mission planning called an Operation Order, or op-order for short. When I was learning to be an officer, it was called the Five Paragraph Operation Order, even after the Army added a sixth paragraph for safety.
Since my mission is decluttering, I decided to make a basic op-order for the process. In this post, I’ll describe an op-order and then put a rough one together using my son’s room as an example. Later, I’ll put it to the test and let you know how it goes.
Here are the main parts of an op-order with a short description of each. The full Army version has many sub-bullets for each. See the link above for more details.
A Note on the Execution Paragraph
In the Army, we used a method called backwards planning to develop a timeline in the execution section. Backwards Planning is just a cool sounding term for something that most of us do every day when we figure out what time we need to get out of bed in the morning so that we get to work on time. I always thought it was ridiculous how much time we spent learning and practicing this process because it seemed so obvious to me. Unfortunately, I’m often surprised to find how many people just do not get the concept.
Backwards planning starts with a specific time that you need to be somewhere or do something. Then you work backwards from there taking into account what activities need to happen before that critical time and how long each of them takes. Some tasks can be done in parallel and some cannot. It’s that simple.
For example, you need to be at work by 8 am. OK. The last thing you do before leaving might be to pack your bag and grab your coat, etc. That takes about 5 minutes. Breakfast takes 15 minutes. 20 minutes for a shower. At least 10 minutes to pack lunch. Don’t forget the fact that you like to snooze the alarm for 10 minutes every morning and that it takes an average of 30 minutes just to get to work. Add all that up and it looks like you need to get up about 6:30 am.
I didn’t want to make this too long so I’ll save the actual op-order for later but I think that in general the Army is on to something when it comes to planning out how to accomplish a large task and share that vision with others with the operations order. I’ll let you know how it goes as soon as I can test this out and I’ll post my written op-order. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary since my first blog post so that might be a good topic to celebrate with.
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Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2018
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