One of the top organizing woes I hear from people is that they’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I hear you – thinking of getting a whole house organized CAN be overwhelming! But, we’re breaking it down today and kicking overwhelm away! There’s a method to the madness of getting from point A to point B. Here are 4 baby steps to organization.
1. Start Small
I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s the same approach that works for anything else overwhelming. The key is to start with a baby step – something that won’t take too long, and is achievable enough to get you moving in the right direction.
The big gains will take care of themselves once the small steps are in motion. No different than with nutrition and fitness goals. We fall off the wagon (or never get on the wagon) because we get too focused on the long term larger goal. If your eventual goal is running a marathon but you’ve never run 1/4 mile, of course it’s overwhelming and unrealistic to try to start with 5 miles a day. We work up to that as we gain stamina, just as we tackle harder organizing projects after we’ve achieved some quick wins.
2. Choose Your Space
You already know you’re going to start small. I see your wheels turning. You probably have some areas in mind. I suggest selecting something singular…1 drawer, 1 corner, underneath 1 bed. If your 1 space is still overwhelming, break it into smaller chunks of work that can each be completed in a single work session.
Don’t let your mind trick you into thinking it’s not enough. The objective here is to do what you can with the time and motivation you do have, not focusing on what you don’t have.
Worth mentioning here that comparison has zero place in this space. Kick it to the curb. Yes, your home may never look like so and so’s, or the images you see on social. We can get down a rabbit hole of “not enough-ness” real quickly with that train of thought. Instead, choose your space and get on with it, knowing that incremental improvements lead to big gains.
3. Make a Plan
You have your first space identified! Great work! Now it’s time to make a plan. No need to overcomplicate it. Think in terms of what will set you up for success. Trying to tackle your space at dinnertime with tired and hungry kiddos at your heels? Probably not. Choose a time when the kids will be in school, otherwise occupied, perhaps with a sitter or on a play date. Estimate how long the job will take, then double it.
Then, add it to your calendar. No, this is not overkill! Your work session is something that you’re treating just as seriously as on outside appointment you’d schedule in and wouldn’t think of skipping.
You’ll also want to measure your space and identify what supplies and products you’ll need. Depending on your project, helpful supplies could include a trash bag, 3 bins or bags for donate/sell/relocate, labels or a label maker, and a tape measure. As far as organizing products, I recommend getting into the project (see point 4 below) first, then getting the products that EXACTLY meet the need – right size, shape, quantity. Amazon, Target, and The Container Store are some of my favorite sources. Or, repurpose what you already own.
4. Get organizing!
Here’s a simple explanation of the steps to take that apply to almost any organizing project. First, take everything out. Then, group like items together into categories. Third, edit down, getting rid of things you don’t like or use. Lastly, contain and label. Congratulations! Following the baby steps to organization did the trick…you have an organized space! Rinse and repeat! Before you know it you’ll have made some MAJOR PROGRESS! After all, progress is the name of the game.