I often hear from clients and followers on Instagram that one of the obstacles you face with home organization is finding, and making, time. We are all busy individuals, being pulled in multiple directions with work and family obligations. I too am a busy mom and business owner and can empathize with finding time for household tasks. Finding time for home organizing, however, can have a lasting impact on the household in terms of time and money saved, better systems, increasing functionality of spaces, allowing for easier home entertaining, and reducing stress. All that being said, I’m sharing eight ways to “find time” for organizing so you can reap these benefits in your home!
Get Motivated for Your Project
If you aren’t a professional organizer like me, you might not enjoy the process of organizing, even if you value the end result. If this is true, motivation for your project may wane as days go by. To overcome this, ask yourself what your “why” is for wanting to get organized. Spend a few minutes thinking about this and write it down somewhere you will read this daily. Your why is unique to you and your household and keeping this top of mind by reminding yourself of it daily will help you get motivated and as a result prioritize the time needed for the project.
Make Organizing a Priority
Since you are reading this blog post, organized spaces is something you must value which is wonderful. Your home, however, won’t magically organize itself though so you do need to set a date for organizing and stick to it. You will need to make organizing a priority in your life and hold the time you set aside as sacred. Here are tips to avoid procrastination to help you prioritize your projects.
- Use positive imagery. Imagine the project being accomplished. How does this look to you? How does it feel? How will it change your life?
- Apply what’s known as the “Premack Principle.” Use your organizing activity as a reinforcer for a more desirable activity. For example, if you enjoy drinking coffee in the morning, tell yourself that you must organize a stack of papers before you can enjoy your coffee. On a larger scale, you can use a shopping trip, massage, or vacation as a reinforcer for a room or whole house organizing project.
Break the Project Down Into Stages
Organizing involves the process of five stages: sorting, purging, assigning a “home,” containing items, and labeling. Start to finish, an organizing project can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. Looking at the project as a whole can be overwhelming, especially when time is limited. You don’t have to do an entire project at one time though! Breaking your project down into stages and tackling each stage when time permits allows you to keep a project moving instead of stalling or never starting. Before starting an organizing project, make a list of all the steps involved, an adequate time allotment for each step, and a tentative date for each step. Organizing an organizing project ahead of time helps you stay motivated and engaged even if the project extends over several days or weeks. For more information on organizing an organizing project, read THIS blog post.
Say No More Often and Yes More Slowly
We all get 24 hours a day, ever day. No more, no less and thus, time is the greatest equalizer amongst us all. But, how we chose to spend that time is what matters. Are you saying yes to activities that you don’t want to do out of guilt or habit? Are you spending your time on activities that don’t align with your goals to get organized? Here’s an activity you can do to gauge how you spend your time each day. Write down everything you do in chunks of one hour time increments for a full 24 hours, including eating and sleeping. Do this for a few days and then add up the time you spent on activities that don’t align with what you want to accomplish or contribute in a positive way to your household. Can you eliminate those activities? Can you say yes more slowly and no more often so you own more of your 24 hours? Keeping your organizing “why” top of mind will help you greatly in your decisions to say yes or no.
Use the Concept of Time Blocking
Time blocking means that you set aside a chunk of time in your day for a specific activity, such as organizing. By doing this you can plan accordingly and minimize distractions. For example, if you block off two hours in your day to organize, say 10:00 am to noon, you might arrange for a babysitter to watch your kids, turn off your phone, avoid scheduling meetings or appointments during that time, etc. By planning ahead and blocking off this time on your calendar, you can create a success strategy to help you reach your organizing goals.
Declutter A Little Bit Each Day
Rome wasn’t built in a day and most organizing projects take time. While you might need to set aside several hours of an entire day or weekend for a larger organizing project, decluttering can be done on a daily basis. Regular decluttering means in the long run less time will need to be dedicated to big organization projects. Here are a few ideas to help you:
- Set a timer for 20-30 minutes and walk through your home with a trash/donation bag adding items in as you walk
- Set time aside each night for an “end of day clean up” – put items back in their homes, wash and dry dishes, clear countertops, open/recycle the mail, etc.
- Add a donation basket to each closet so clothes can be purged regularly when they no longer fit or serve a purpose. When full, schedule a donation drop off.
Don’t Get Caught Up in Perfection
Most homes do not look Pinterest perfect all the time. The homes you see in magazines and on Instagram or Pinterest are staged. Don’t let your drive for perfection stop you from doing what you can, when you can. Little changes make a big impact over time and even a quick purge or a donation drop off can help you feel more organized. Remember progress over perfection is key!
Ask for Help
You don’t have to organize alone! Recruit your family, friends, or neighbors to help you. Family in particular should be involved in the process, not only so that the space is maintained over time, but because those that have “skin in the game” are more likely to keep spaces tidy. If you need a little extra help after recruiting these individuals, a professional organizer such as myself can help in many ways such as creating and executing an organizing plan for your space! If you’re ready to reach out, I’ll be happy to hear from you! Contact me here to get started!