Have you ever wanted to be really good at something, but just couldn’t figure out why you weren’t succeeding? Nothing is more frustrating than trying your hardest, but not seeing the results you want. If you have tried in the past to get organized, but either experienced backsliding, didn’t see the results you wanted, or sadly gave up, I’m here to tell you it’s not too late! I believe that every one of us can become more organized and the trick is figuring out what’s held you back in the past. If history repeats itself, then let’s dive in, learn from previous situations, and get you re-started on that journey!
What Is Your Why
First, let’s identify why you want to get organized. Someone very wise once told me that we humans experience emotional struggle when our actions don’t align with our values. I believe this to be true. In terms of organizing then, do you want to be organized for yourself or someone else? Is living an organized life consistent with your values? If you place a high value on punctuality, then perhaps being organized aligns with this value. If, however, you value unpredictability and freedom, then you may experience internal conflict and struggle with the discipline required with organization. Once you feel in alignment, identify a goal, believe in your goal, and remind yourself of your goal every chance you get.
What Is Working and What Isn’t Working
Take a look at the space that you want to organize. Just as I encouraged you to think through your values and your why, I want to encourage you to take a hard look at your space and write down what is working and what isn’t working. Here are a few additional questions to ask yourself:
In an ideal world, how do I want to use this space?
What fits with this vision? What does not?
What items are most essential to me? Least essential?
Consider Your Timeline and Budget
Before I start any project with a client, I always ask about timeline and budget. Let’s discuss timeline first. Some organizing projects are small and can be tackled in just a few hours or a day, such as a junk drawer. Other projects need a significant amount of time, such as a basement or garage. If you don’t allow for the proper amount of time for the project, it will be incomplete and you’ll get frustrated. If you are short on time, break the project down into smaller pieces that you can accomplish in say an hour or less. Or, you can set aside a whole day or weekend knowing that this project will consume this amount of time. Either way, be realistic with what you can accomplish in a given amount of time.
Now, let’s discuss budget. Some clients of mine are able to invest in all new organizing products, including bins/containers, built in closet systems, or custom shelves. But, some clients are on a shoestring budget and need to repurpose what they have. Either way works, as long as you go through the proper steps of organizing (see more in this post HERE). Additionally, you can shop on a budget by finding products at IKEA or even The Dollar Store. Even better, get creative and build what you need!
Your Unique Life Situation
Perhaps you’ve successfully identified your values, your why, and what is/isn’t working. And, maybe you’ve even addressed your timeline and budget. But, you are still frustrated at a lack of organization in your home. Let’s explore a few other reasons that may be unique to you that can impact organization.
First, do you have clutter in your home because you haven’t assigned items to “homes” within your home? I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “a home for everything and everything in it’s home.” Therefore, first consider if have assigned homes to your stuff. Perhaps you haven’t thought of this or perhaps you just aren’t sure where to put items. If the latter is the case, give yourself a pat on the back and raise your confidence that you’ve got this! Second, consider creating zones in your home and make sure that you are storing items closest to where you will use them.
Pro Tip: Inconvenient storage is definitely a reason for disorganization. Keep items handy to where you use them and consider open versus closed storage. If you use something often, don’t put it in a bin that is closed with other bins piled on top.
Second, do you have clutter in your home because you have more stuff than storage? Are your current storage options packed full and as a result additional items are piled on the floor or countertops. If so, you may need to consider purging. I have a whole post dedicated to purging tips that can be found HERE. The opposite can of course also be true – you may have clutter due to limited storage. In this situation, you’ll want to get creative with your budget to determine how you can best maximize your space.
Pro Tip: Remember to always go up! Consider shelves and other products to take advantage of vertical storage opportunities.
Third, do you have clutter because you are a “out of sight/out of mind” person? If so, your clutter may be a result of the fact you need a visual reminder of your items in order to act on them. Again, be confident in creating a system of reminders so that you are not relying on visual clutter.
Finally, you may have clutter because you are in transition. Did you just move? Get married? Have a baby? Start a new job? All of these life events can throw our routines and systems out the window until we find a balance again. If this is your current situation, give yourself some grace and know that this phase of life will pass and when it does you will resume your organizing journey.
Asking yourself the above questions takes a lot of soul searching, but it’s worth it if you’re determined to live an organized life. The best things in life never come easy, but they are always worth the hard work and the wait. For more information on getting organized, check out “Secrets Professional Organizers Use to Help Clients Purge Items from the Home” HERE and “A Guide to Organizing Your Pantry” HERE.