Organizing Basics: We all want more time- if I did a poll of what you would ask for if you could have anything most of us would probably say more hours in a day before we would even ask for money or fame. An organized life is a simplified life and a simplified life means more time for the things that are important. There is no easy fix! Organizing is an ongoing process not an event. People say I am going to “get organized”. That is a great goal to aspire to but I encourage you to reword it a little. Try- I am going to become more organized. First of all, everyone has some aspect of their life that is organized. Your house can be cluttered with mountains of laundry and three years worth of magazines but your spices might be alphabetized or you might need all the towels in your linen closet folded the same way. So, here are some tips for getting started in the process of becoming more organized.
- Just do it: Don’t be afraid and overwhelmed by the organizing process. Taking it one task at a time is the easiest way to dive into an unorganized space. Once you see progress you will be motivated to continue.
- Start small: Picture the one space in your home that you avoid, the place that makes you shake your head and cringe when you pass by. That spot that you really want to change but just don’t know where to start. The space in your home that bothers you the most. Start there. Set the timer for half an hour. Get done what you can, assess what you accomplished and what is left and go back later.
- What works for one might not work for you. Those organization articles in magazines have great ideas but they are very generic. Sometimes we judge ourselves if we fail after trying to implement some of those ideas from HGTV shows and articles. Please remember those shows represent hours and hours of work with seasoned professionals edited down to a half hour time slot. I typically spend 8-12 hours on a home office, 10 hours on a kitchen, etc (which is why I charge by the project and not by the hour). It all depends. One size does not fit all.
- Keep at it. Once you have invested the time and effort to become more organized you have to work at maintaining that progress or you will slip right back into old habits. This is just like losing weight, having a daily quiet time or any other new habit you try to form. Maintenance is key to keeping your life organized. I develop a maintenance plan for my clients. It would be a shame to invest your finances and your time in a project and three weeks later walk into the same mess that was there before. All it takes is being aware of what created the situation in the first place and being committed to changing the pattern. Take fifteen minutes at the end of the day to clear the clutter off the kitchen counter or pick up the mismatched gloves that have accumulated in front of the door. If you put everything in it’s place tonight you will have a better start to your day tomorrow and you will not face an accumulation of clutter.
- Enlist help- if organization is not your strong suit chances are you know someone who has the knack. Swap- babysitting or cook them dinner for a week in exchange for helping you tackle your cluttered family room. Hire a professional organizer- it is not as cost prohibitive as you may think!! Having an organized life means less stress and more time.