Welcome to this year’s National Get Organized (GO) Month! To celebrate, professional organizer Veronica Bishop will be posting a unique, three blog series full of our all-time favorite tips, tricks and other organizing solutions to help you start the year off with a bang. Please let us know what you think by commenting below!
Tip #1: Just Start
Ok, call me Captain Obvious. But the truth is that, for many people, starting is the hardest part and as a professional organizer, I see this almost daily. There is always a reason to put off organizing: lack of time, energy, materials or knowing where to start. Schedule it in your planner, take the day off, ask for help; do what you have to do. But at some point, you must simply begin.
Tip #2: Be Realistic
Yes, the New Year is a great time to get organized. But beware! Like a crash diet, a one-time de-cluttering bonanza may give quick results, but they won’t be lasting.
In order to make your hard work stick, you must approach organizing as a lifestyle, not a quick fix. That means looking at your particular habits and seeing where high-impact improvements can be made. Approaching organizing with this attitude will start you off on the right foot.
Try jotting down areas where you feel stuck or stressed, such as finding your keys in the morning or having the right ingredients for a meal. Review your habits and consider making adjustments to them as an organizing project. Think of this as de-cluttering your brain and actions.
Tip #3: Prioritize
Part of getting started is knowing where to focus. Since each individual area in your home has its own quirks and systematic relevance to other areas, it can be easy to get distracted with “spillover” projects. Stay focused by creating the following list, or use our free printable PDF list here.
Start by listing the areas in your home that you want to organize. Keep them specific; for example, write “TV Area” rather than “living room”, or “Costco Shelf” rather than “garage”. This will help you to split areas up into bite-sized pieces that are manageable (for those of us without superhero status) and prevent project overwhelm.
Once you have your list, jot down how long you believe that area will take you to work through. Be sure to write in pencil, as your time estimates may change. Next, rate each area based on its importance, with 1 being your number one “hot button” area to conquer, and so on.
As you complete each project, add the actual time it took to complete. Building the muscle of estimating how long it REALLY takes to complete these tasks from start to finish is a great skill, and will help you as you move from room to room.
Remember: this list is an ongoing one. There is no pressure to do it all in one weekend. By breaking it down into prioritizable, measurable pieces, you are setting yourself up with organizing solutions that will have long-term success!