Ultralight or Ultrafast

I have a confession to make. I am a complete gearhead when it comes to any interest in my life. I like the latest and greatest along with the tried and true. I want the newest phone, laptop, hammock, backpacking stove, saddles, paddles…well…you get it. All of this gear ends up in different locations because of varying needs. This results in my current state of affairs: where is my [insert gear name here]? The task of organizing my gear can be daunting, but doing nothing accomplishes nothing. So, I decided to apply the organizing gurus’ tactics to tackle this issue. I will set a timer and work on it for 30 minutes a day. But how much can I really accomplish in a 30 minute organization sprint?


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Make a Plan

My software development buddies will notice my use of the Agile/Scrum term, sprint. A sprint is a time boxed effort to perform a large project in an iterative fashion. In non-geek terms, it means you break your work down into small pieces, accomplish each piece, and finish the project in its entirety and on time (theoretically [insert developer laughter here]). Before you can start a sprint in Scrum, you have to do a sprint planning. So the first thing I am going to do is plan this project.

  • Do I need supplies?
  • Do I need help for any areas?
  • Do I need to organize another area before my gear?

I actually use mind mapping software to organize my thoughts on this topic first. I throw each idea into the software like index cards on a table and then begin to move them into areas that “go together”. I organize the topics into a sequence and hash out dependencies, such as I cannot put items in bins if I have not bought the bins. (At this point, it still sounds like I am developing software.) I am only taking, you guessed it, 30 minutes to finish the planning.

Again, in Scrum, we have a thing called capacity. Capacity is the number of hours you can work minus hours you spend performing necessary garbage, such as answering email and going to the bathroom. My capacity for each of my sprints is probably more like 25 minutes. I have to subtract the time it takes for me to put my hair in a pony tail, find tools for the task, and wash my hands up afterward.

30 Minute Organization Sprint

There is a term in Scrum called velocity. It is how much work the “team” can get done in the sprint. That would be the subject of this post. How much work can I expect for each 30 minute block? Here are a few of the tasks I can accomplish in 25 minutes of actual work time (capacity):

  • Put all of my straps and guy lines in boxes for their application
  • Organize backpacker meals in a bin with separators by meal type
  • Place all water sport equipment into its own corner of the garage
  • Electronics:
    • Charge all lanterns and place in a bin
    • Gather duplicates of all chargers into a ditty bag
    • Charge battery packs and place in charger ditty

These are just few ideas for organization activities. I may add more to this post when I complete my reorganization (a new UI for my developer friends), but I decided to keep my writing time on this article down to, drum roll, 30 minutes.


You can download free mind mapping software here. YouTube has great tutorials for this software.