You spend countless hours organizing your home, but just as soon as you get it done, it ends up in chaos again.  Perhaps your system is not working for you, or maybe you need to clarify your reasons for organizing.  If your home does not feel calm and peaceful despite all of your efforts, here are some ways to stop the frustration.  Check out these common organizing mistakes and how to overcome them for lasting change.

  1. Failing to declutter before you organize.

    There are limits on what you can place in a space – no matter how many baskets you have.  Place like things together and donate duplicates.  Discard things that are broken or no longer work for you.  Be honest about whether you are going to use an item someday or if you’re keeping it “just in case.”

    Almost everything has a use, but that doesn’t mean you will use it.  If you can’t bear to part with things, find a space in the basement or garage to store them, but be careful not to move clutter from one area to another.  Also, piles are fine when sorting, but being organized means a place for everything and everything in its place.  That place should not be a pile on the kitchen counter, even if it kind of looks neat.

  2. Failing to pick a system that works for you.

    There are so many tips and tricks on the internet with homes that don’t even look like they are lived in.  Remember, a picture is a moment in time, and that method was designed for one person.  Get ideas and guidelines and then sit back and think about how your life works.  If linens make sense in the corner of your bedroom closet near the bed, don’t stick them in the “linen” closet.

  3. Buying containers before you know exactly what you need.

    Many people get excited and run off to the store to buy baskets and boxes (everything matching sounds so lovely).  Then when they get home, those items don’t fit their space or their stuff.  Measure all spaces and determine how you will organize after decluttering and before heading to the store.  You might also find that the perfect container is already in your house.

  4. Failing to label your containers.

    Even if you are the only person using a space, labels keep you on track.  You don’t have to open each box or peek in the basket to remember what you intended to keep there.  If there are other people in the house, they can help keep the space organized by returning items to their designated spot.

  5. Over-organizing.

    Dividing things into too many categories makes maintenance tedious.  For example, unless you have a ton of hair accessories, place them in one container instead of one for barrettes, one for rubber bands, and one for headbands.  You can continually refine your categories later.

  6. Trying to do it all at once.

    Many people are overwhelmed before they start.  Take your kitchen, for example.  It’s a big area and used constantly.  It might take a while to get it organized.  Start with one shelf or just the pots and pans.  Set a time limit.  When your time is done, find a suitable place to stop and pick it up later.  Otherwise, you will spend all day buried in canned goods and be tempted to give up.

  7. Not being persistent.

    Your home did not become a mess overnight, and it will take some time to get it back into tip-top shape.  Whether you spend 15 minutes a day or all-day Tuesday, be methodical and keep at it.  Break your organizing into zones – the hall closet, the bathroom cabinet, the kitchen pantry.  Focus on one area before moving on to the next.

    When organizing, keep engaged.  It’s easy to hop down memory lane or imagine who you might give an item to.  When sorting, look at the item and decide whether to keep it or donate it.  Many people get caught up because the item costs a lot, or your favorite aunt gave it to you.  If you are having trouble with an item, place it to the side and come back to it in a while.  Don’t let one item derail your efforts.  Additionally, don’t stop and return each item that doesn’t belong in that area to its spot.  Place them all in a box or bag and deliver the items at the end of your organizing session.

  8. Failing to keep up with the maintenance.

    Organizing is not a one-time task.  You need to regularly revisit containers that seem to be overflowing and declutter them periodically.  When putting things away, you need to ensure they get back into their designated spaces.  A few minutes each day eliminates hours of work later.

  9. Thinking you need buy-in from the rest of your family.

    Start with the areas that you exclusively use or have control over.  Organize your side of the closet, and perhaps your partner might gain inspiration once they see how much easier life is.  Be careful stepping over boundaries and organizing spaces that are not yours.

  10. Counting on someone else to organize your home for you.

    Professional organizers have great ideas, but their job is to work with you and guide you in the right direction.  They have no idea what is essential and what can be tossed.  In one way, they are very objective, but ultimately, you’ll have to make any decisions regarding your possessions.

When organizing, remember that any progress is good.  Slow and steady wins the race, and you do not need perfection to reap the benefits from a new system.  Spend time thinking about your space and how you use items.  Put things together and improve systems that don’t serve you.  With some work, your space can be organized and beautiful.

Get Help from a Personal Organizer

If after reading these suggestions you’re still having trouble getting started, we can help. Totally Organized experts are ready to work with you on designing a system that makes sense for your home. Our Professional Organizers will show you how to establish and maintain habits for organized living. Call us and get a free consultation.

Let’s Do It!