Around this time of the year, with the kids back in school, we often look around and say “Now’s the time—I’m finally going to get organized!”
If this sounds familiar, reading this article is a great place to start.
As a professional organizer, I want to encourage you, and let you know that getting organized is completely possible. All it takes is a little planning and a willing heart.
The first step in calming the chaos is to identify where the problem is coming from. Almost everyone experiences a household mess at one time or another, so this is not the time for self recrimination! Rather, it is helpful to identify specific triggers of disorganization so the right plan can be put in place to address them. Typically, most of us suffer from one of the following:
- The overwhelming consequences of a life event. These include things like moving, having a baby, being called in to care for an ailing relative, changing jobs, etc. Situations like these are the most common reasons we get thrown “off our game.” If this is something you are facing, the first step is to show yourself some grace. You are already handling a lot of stress, so the climb back order will need to be steady, but slow.
- The relative ease & pleasure of acquisition vs. the stress of disposal. Let’s face it: shopping is more fun than clearing out. When we shop, we often experience fun, social interaction, and a sense of possibility. In contrast, when we sort our belongings, we find that our possessions often carry emotional significance beyond their functional purpose, so we struggle with letting go.
- The hindering power of a lack of knowledge. Having to complete a task for which we feel ill-prepared is very stressful. Maybe you don’t know where to dispose of belongings, or maybe you are terrible at recognizing what you need to keep verses what needs to be pitched. Identifying your stumbling blocks will be the first step in designing appropriate solutions.
- Fear! So often we are afraid to make a change. We fear we will get rid of something important, or won’t be able to function if we change the way we do things. These thoughts – though to some extent valid - are frequently out of proportion, and keep us from making progress. Again, being specific about our fears (bringing them “down to size”) is empowering and productive.
Over the next few months, I will be addressing each of these situations, and talking about some techniques for facing them. We will be learning a bit about what it means to be organized—and what it doesn’t mean! The series will culminate in January with GO Month—what organizers call “Get Organized” month.
By the time January rolls around, you will be ready to take action and tackle your stuff, time and belongings. Each weekday in January I will feature a 15-20 minute project you can tackle to get you on the road to experiencing the freedom that comes through organization.