Organization is a buzz word these days, and as professionals, we understand why. It feels SO GOOD to get organized, and can have multiple effects on your life, including a greater feeling of happiness, less stress, more energy and improved relationships at home.
So now that you’re ready to tackle some big organizing projects, how can you assure success in your efforts? These six tips will hep you get started.
Tip #1: Prepare Like a Pro
Think like an organizer and prepare everything you need for the job. This will save you time and energy. Professional organizers always show up to jobs with our toolkits, and for good reason! As George Allen Sr said, “Winning is the science of being totally prepared.”
We recommend the following basic supplies:
- Plenty of garbage bags in both black and white, and paper bags for recycling if you have them
- A couple of bins or cardboard boxes for sorting
- Sticky notes
- Cleaning wipes
- Tape and scissors
- Have your Project List on hand
- Remember to take before photos! These will help motivate you later down the line
Tip #2: Organize First, Shop Later
Don’t get me wrong, we love a shiny new organizing tool as much as the next person. But unless you do the work of organizing and decluttering FIRST, you’ll likely be spending your hard-earned money on the wrong items. If you have organizing supplies that you are holding onto for future use or are causing clutter, this is a good sign that you have prematurely purchased organizing supplies in the past.
When working with clients, we often find that we can repurpose containers, bins and shelving that clients already have. And if not, it makes sense to purchase them after decluttering is complete. Think of it as a reward for your perseverance!
Tip #3: Avoid “Sort Remorse”
As you’re sorting through an area and choosing which items to toss, donate or recycle, be mindful about getting caught up in the organizing portion of the task too soon. The point here is to avoid spending 20 minutes shifting items around to make room for something that you may ultimately throw away in the end. Stay on task and if you are unsure about what to do with an object, refer to Tip #5 below.
Tip #4: Focus on the Value of Your Organized Space – not the Object
When making the decision to donate or give away an item, remember the huge benefit you are giving to yourself in creating space in your life for organization. Often, we get stuck thinking about what we paid for something, and forget that it served it’s purpose and is now ready to be moved along. And hey – it’s “purpose” may have simply been a reminder to pause and reflect before hitting “add to cart” next time. That is perfectly ok.
By donating your item, you are providing someone else in need with a valuable resource. Our donation resources list is a great source of information if you are in the Portland, Oregon area.
Tip #5: When in Doubt… Put it in a “Maybe” Box.
If you’re having trouble letting go of something, put it in a “maybe” box with the date written on each item with a post-it. That way you can review the items from time to time and see whether you’ve missed or thought about them. If it’s been 6 months since they went into the “maybe” box, consider getting rid of it!
Similarly, you can create a “go elsewhere” box for things to put away at the end of your organizing work. This will help you avoid being distracted as you are working.
Tip #6: Focus on “Findability”
When choosing where to home your organized items, remember to put like with like, and don’t worry too much about making everything look perfect. It’s much more important that you are able to find the item quickly and easily. We like sticky notes affixed with a little tape as you are learning where things are, which you can then remove later. There is so much pressure these days to have a perfectly organized home, but the reality is that it just needs to be organized enough for you – the person living in the space.
We hope this list gets you off on the right foot to a successful organizing session! If you get stuck, give us a call.