Before we get to my 5 tips for organizing anything, let’s talk about the struggles we face when we want to get organized. Then I’ll offer solutions to help make the process easier and more fun! As a Professional Organizer, these are the most common complaints I hear from my clients:
I don’t know where to start!
I know firsthand how overwhelming the piles of paper, assorted belongings and jumbled mess around you can be. The task seems overwhelming and stressful. Do you feel like you don’t even know where to start? As daunting as it is, you just have to begin and that can be the hardest part. You may want to consider hiring a professional organizer or recruiting a friend to work with in the beginning. This will help you get started and two hands are better than one.
I’m so overwhelmed!
As you work through a room don’t let yourself get distracted with items that need attention. Taking time to run something to another room, pay a bill or fit in other tasks can hinder your progress. Wait to tackle those items until later. This will lessen overwhelm and help you stay on track.
It doesn’t look like I did anything!
During the organizing process, it often looks worse before it gets better. There are piles of this and that, things we don’t quite know what to do with, paperwork, donation items, and others. By following these decluttering tips, you can work through each area to completion.
1. Set a timer
Choose one room or a small area at a time. A single cupboard, drawer, or counter is a perfect size. Set a timer for 30-45 minutes. Focused time blocks will help you accomplish more and make sure you take breaks to keep your energy up. Once the timer rings, take a few minutes at the end of your session for wrapping up. More on this below.
2. Gather your tools
Be prepared with containers like boxes or bins to use for sorting. Create labels for the Keep, Trash, Recycle, Donate, and Different Room categories. Go ahead and trash or recycle anything that is broken or of no use. Donate any items you no longer need, multiples you want to pair down, and items you no longer use. Put all the items that belong in another room in a basket and set them aside for now.
3. Work your way around the room
Start in one corner and work your way around the room. Pull everything out so you can see what you have and sort per the categories that apply. Use the containers mentioned above to keep things from getting jumbled up. Take this opportunity to do some housekeeping while the area is clear. Then you can put items into their final homes and add a label.
4. Stay focused
Stay focused on the area or room you are in and continue, cleaning each cleared area as you go. Don’t stop and take things to other rooms, just add them to the Different Room container. Set aside time-consuming tasks, like paperwork for a later date. This will keep you from getting tired or overwhelmed. Our goal is to focus and complete small areas at a time.
5. Wrap up
Wrap up by taking all the items in the Different Room container into the other rooms and put them away at end of your session. Take out the trash, recycle and put donations into your car, or schedule time for them to get picked up. If you have any items to return, repair or sell, add these to your to-do list and choose a place to keep them until you can take care of them.
Apply these tips as you move from room to room and get your home organized. The ultimate goal is to find a home for everything and only keep things that you need and love. This way as you go forward straightening up will be quick and painless. Start small and reward yourself for all your hard work. You deserve it! You will love your space and the feeling of accomplishment as you get more organized.
Go take the quiz What’s Your Organizational Style? You’ll learn how to work with your type, not against it, with solutions that are easy to implement and will last.