Monday, January 12, 2009

Organizing Basics

A place for everything and everything in its place.
-Mrs. Beeton, from The Book of Household Management, 1861

It's time to start your organizing project but where do you begin?

Many people become very overwhelmed when it comes time to organizing their home or office. The task can seem very daunting. There are too many things to do. There are too many items to look through. There are too many rooms to overhaul. There is not enough time. Many give up before they even begin.

The first thing to know before you begin organizing anything is that not all of it has to get done in one day. It may have taken you years to get to the point that you are at right now, so why would you think that you can get it all done in one day or even in a matter of hours?

If you need to organize your home and there are many areas to work on, take it one room (or even one area of a room) at a time. Focus on one room per week or weekend. Start with the smallest room or even the smallest closet. Whatever you can do to ease the stress and anxiety you feel when it comes to organizing is the best approach. The more overwhelmed you feel when you do anything, the easier it is to just give up and leave things as is or in an even worse condition from when you first began.

When you start small, and actually get something finished, you have a sense of achievement and then those bigger rooms don't seem as scary to attack. Does it matter that it took you every weekend for one whole month or even a bit longer? No. What matters is, the room or area that you now have is clean and clutter free. You got it done. Be proud of yourself.

Here are the basics for getting started.

Begin with just one problem area in a room.

  1. In order to decide which area to start on, decide what bothers you the most. Is this a room that maybe has too many toys? Get out 4 large trash bags. Make a pile of what to keep, what to donate, what does not belong in this room and what to trash.
  2. If you have items that you are not quite sure what to do with, figure out the last time it was used. If it was used over a year ago (and it is not a seasonal item), put it in the donation pile. Don't think twice about it. The more time you take pondering on what to do with each item, the more time your room will look the same as when you originally walked in to it.

Go on to the next problem area...and then to the next with this same approach till the whole room has been completed.

  1. What to keep pile - keep these to the side. Donation pile - take these to your nearest donation center (Value Village, Salvation Army, etc.). Doesn't Belong pile - put these in the room that it belongs in. Trash pile - put these out for the trash man.

Keeping the area tidy with organization.

  1. Now that you have cleaned up the clutter in this room, what will you do to keep it looking this way?
  2. Figure out an organization tactic so that this is not a weekly project. However, it is certainly OK to do this type of assessment (especially with toys or clothes) with the 4 large bags on a quarterly or yearly basis.
  3. Decide the best tools to use for organizing this area. Baskets, bookshelves, toy boxes, and other storage ideas to hold items so that they don't overwhelm the space is ideal.

Put your tactics to good use.

  1. You have all your organization tools in place; now start using them.
  2. Take your what to keep pile and put them where they belong.
  3. Use your new organization tactics every day or every time you go in to this room. Make it a habit and it only gets easier.

Now that you have a room completed, hopefully you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Each room hereafter will have its own challenges but at least now you have the tools to face these challenges head-on.

Organization is not always easy but it does get easier when you practice the skills that you have learned on a consistent basis.


No comments:

Whatever It Takes