As we round out January 2019 and the end of this year-long challenge, it’s time to reflect back on all that you have accomplished!
Whether you started at the beginning and worked room-by-room alongside us, or are just jumping in, if you did even one thing to get organized, you have made progress! Well done.
Something that I recently learned when I wrote a review of Joshua Becker’s book, The Minimalist Home, relates to the intense power of motivation. For many of us, the thing holding us back is the fear that it will be too hard, that we won’t finish, that we don’t have time.
In order to conquer these fears, your desire to live a less cluttered life needs to be greater than the stories you are telling yourself about the challenge of organizing it.
A great way to make that happen is to do exactly what the rest of America seems to be doing right now. Whether that means getting on the Kondo train, reading Joshua Becker’s book or asking a friend to help you get started, motivation is a key component in the process of doing the work of organizing. That’s what this blog series was about, after all.
It’s all About Maintenance
Something we teach when we work with 5S Lean Office organizing clients is the importance of the 5th S: Sustain. This step is all about the work (yes, work!) required to keep your efforts maintained. When organizing systems fail, it is either due to setting up a system that didn’t work for you in the first place (like organizing Legos by color, for example), or the failure to set up a maintenance plan.
There are many ways to keep your organizing work maintained. Here are some of our favorites:
- Divide your home into sections based on the layout and size. For example, upstairs and downstairs, living areas and bedrooms, or main floor, attic and basement. Commit to spending 20 minutes per day in each section, rotating through them as you move through the week. Dedicate a specific time of day for this, such as right before dinner. Get everyone involved if you can!
- Create a checklist of the most clutter-prone areas and commit to tidying them at the end of each day. For example, the kitchen sink, front door area and kitchen counter.
- Follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice and be kind to your future self. Framing the maintenance work in this way is an incredibly powerful way to motivate yourself.
- Use sticky notes around the house to remind yourself of where things are now located, and what you need to do to put them away.
If you find messes coming back swiftly, you may not have decluttered enough. If that is the case, be gentle with yourself. Recognize that you did the best you could during the first round, and then return for some additional editing. Often, if we have done this work once, it becomes much easier over time.
I hope you learned something new about organizing, and about yourself and what you are capable of during this challenge. I do have one final takeaway for you: remember that there is no such thing as a perfect home – because people live there. We humans are imperfect creatures, prone to messes and that is okay. What matters most is that you feel at home in your space, and that you are living the life that YOU want.
We are all working on that, one room at a time.