by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Becoming organized isn't a destination, it's a daily process. When you treat it like that, you won't feel defeated.
Back in January, you were determined that this would be the year you organized your home. You jumped into some big projects, started moving things around, got overwhelmed, got caught up in life, and now you realize you have more clutter than you had six months ago.
Although it can take a lot of time to complete a project, once it’s done you’ll save yourself time. You won’t be searching for misplaced items. You won’t waste time cleaning or moving around the objects that need to be decluttered. You won’t squander time thinking or talking about the same tasks that loom over you.
Determine Your Goal
Maybe you want to park your car in the garage, cook more meals, invite people over, spend less time digging through your closet. In each case, you have a vision for what you’ll be able to do in your life if you weren’t facing disorganization.
Schedule the Time
It’s easy to think that you can squeeze in a task when you see an opening in your schedule. However, this makes it too easy to put off the task until your calendar is wide open. When’s the last time that happened? Look for one or several two-to-four-hour blocks of time and write it onto your calendar. Plan for child care, ignore social media, and only respond to text messages or emails that can’t wait until you are done.
Break the Task into Smaller Pieces
You may think that two-to-four hours isn’t enough time to finish the project. Maybe it isn’t. However, your focus and energy will probably drop the longer you push yourself and you’ll be less productive. You’ll end your time feeling discouraged instead of looking forward to your next session.
Decide if You’ll Need Help
Do you need to involve your spouse or partner? Would a friend or professional organizer help you stay on task? If you’ll be sorting through things that belong to another member of your household (including the kids), get them involved since you shouldn’t make decisions about someone else’s stuff.
Declutter Before You Organize
Getting organized doesn’t start with buying storage bins, shelves, or organizing systems. Your problem may be that you have too much stuff that you don’t use or that is damaged and can’t be used. When you clear from your closet the clothing that doesn’t fit or remove the hobby and recreational supplies that you haven’t used for years, you’ll free up a lot of space. Organizing stuff that you don’t use, don’t need, and don’t like just wastes your time.
Determine Where Unwanted Stuff Will Go
Will you sell stuff at a yard sale, in a consignment shop, online, or through an app and when will you do this? Where will you donate items? (When can you drop off items or will the charity come to you?) What shelves and storage supplies do you already own? (You may empty some things, making space for other items.)
Give Items a Home
Know that mugs go on this shelf and plates on another shelf. Determine where sports equipment is stored. Know where items can be found and where they will get returned. Labels can help declare a space.
Just as you need to find the time to work through organizing projects, you also need to make the time for maintenance. Devoting a few minutes each day to returning items where they belong can keep disorganization at bay.
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The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).