I was listening to the radio on Sunday morning as I drove my daughter to dancing rehearsals (3 times). There was a man on air talking about controlling clutter and he made 2 points that really appealed to me.
First - Finish the Cycle
He used the analogy of a washing machine cycle. If you were to run a load of washing and turn it off after only 15 minutes, then come back to it in 3 days, you would find a mess of wet smelly mouldy clothes, and you would have to start all over again to get them clean. So it is easier to finish the cycle than to start and stop.
He gave an example of how to apply this. For example, when you bring the mail in and open it, don't just leave it on the kitchen bench. Finish the cycle. Put the junk mail straight in the bin, and put the other mail in your 'to do' or 'bills to pay' folder/tray so you can find them and deal with them. I am guilty of this. I create piles of paper and then get cross when I have to look for some form that needs to be returned to school,or find an overdue bill under one of the piles.
My daughter wrapped a birthday present on the weekend and left everything on the floor - the paper, scissors and sticky tape. She needed to finish the process by putting everything away rather than stopping half way through the cycle. This concept of seeing the cycle through to the end and finishing makes sense to me.
Secondly - Ban the word Later
The man on the radio said ban the word 'later'. In other words, don't just open the mail and think 'I'll put it away later'. DO IT NOW. Like the Nike phrase - Just do it!
If I can try to implement just these two things, I think I will go a long way towards controlling the clutter in my life or at least on the kitchen bench.