New Year, New System
One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions people make is to organize their space. The popularity of Marie Kondo and the Minimalists gets many excited. It would be nice to find scissors when you need them and have space for new stuff. But, when you look around, you are overwhelmed. Where do you start? It’s such a mess!
First of all, relax! There is no right way to organize, but many methods get the desired result. Forgive yourself for the state of your affairs and get started.
Make a Plan
Planning will keep you on track. Having a purpose will give you motivation. Look at a room and imagine the possibilities. The den can become a home office. The basement can be a gym. Talk to your family and see if they are willing to help – don’t worry if they aren’t, you can do it. You do want their support to keep the decluttered space efficient in the future.
Breaking the task down into sections will make it more manageable. You can find calendars of tasks for each day of the year that will cycle you through your home. You can also create your own schedule – perhaps one room a month. For example, in January, tackle the kitchen. Then break down the kitchen into smaller tasks – utensils one day, pots and pans the next, and baking items the following day. By the end of the month, you’ve got a clean space. In February, move on to the bathroom.
I know you are looking for quick fixes but consider how long it took to make the mess. Be patient and do it right.
Slow and Steady
The most important thing is to start somewhere and keep going. Setting aside time each day (or every Tuesday) reduces the overwhelm. You may want to set a timer. Stop when the alarm goes off and continue the next time. Choose small spaces that you can accomplish in that duration. If you only have 15 minutes, choose one shelf in the pantry instead of tackling the entire closet.
Think Outside the Box
When organizing an area, think about how you want it to look or feel. Think about what you do there. Just because everyone else puts linens in the hall closet doesn’t mean you have to. It just has to make sense and be something you and your family can follow. While thinking outside the box, organize into containers that make sense to you. Label those containers so you and the other members of your household can follow the new system. In the future, when one of those containers gets full, you can work on that piece instead of the whole closet again.
Ultra-organized people tend to have less stuff. You do not have to get rid of your craft collection, but if you have two blenders in your kitchen, think about donating one. If your toaster is broken, toss it. One 30-day challenge gets rid of things each day – Day 1, get rid of one thing; day 2, get rid of two things; by day 30, you will have gotten rid of 465 pieces of clutter! If you are not sure you’re ready to part with something, place it in a box in the garage or on the top shelf. Put a date on the box. If you haven’t looked for the item in six months to a year, get rid of it.
Have containers available in every area you are working. You’ll be doing a lot of sorting. This is where Marie Kondo’s method can be helpful. If it doesn’t bring you joy, she recommends getting rid of it. At the very least, pick up the item and decide whether you should toss it, donate it, or keep it. Once something goes in the donate box, put it in your vehicle to drop off at the donation center the next time you are out. Remember that your items will find happy new homes.
There is a tendency to slip back into your old habits. After you clean out the medicine cabinet, try to keep it organized going forward. If it clutters quickly, maybe your method isn’t working for you. Think about getting rid of more items, adding a container for small stuff, or moving items to a different area. Remember, you are making incredible progress.
Ask a Professional Organizer
Professional organizers can come in and make easy work of your mess. They can work with you and provide an unbiased opinion on your space and stuff. They also have great ideas for storing and organizing the things you decide to keep. They can also give you much-needed mental support as you tackle big projects. A professional organizer can get you started or get you over a hump.
Remember your purpose for organizing. No job is too big, and it will be amazing in the end! Read more about our professional organization service and contact us for a free consultation.