52 Weeks: #6 Negative Conversations

Are you new to 52 Weeks of Organizing?  Catch up here.

I hope you all had a much more productive week than I did.  On Monday I came down with a terrible flu that although much much better now still lingers.  Today is about putting my house back together.  It’s amazing how quickly a few days of no maintenance can quickly bring the chaos on.  Now obviously when sickness sets in you have no choice but to let things slide but there are definitely other times when we might just be too tired, or on the computer or into a show, to bother.  Don’t put it off.  Make a commitment to spend at least 10-15 minutes every evening preparing for the next day and maintaining your home.  Put misplaced items back into their places, make your list of tasks needed to be done, what’s on the menu, what activities need to be arranged?  Set yourself up for success in this way and watch how powerful and in control you will feel…well most of the time anyway 🙂

Last week Shannon from The Raleigh Woodhouses left me a comment that I wanted to share with you:

I’ve been sick for almost a week so I missed this week’s opportunity to organize but I just wanted to comment that I love this challenge because I find myself now organizing small spaces all the time now. In the past I wouldn’t bother – how much could organizing that one drawer help? – but this challenge has really gotten me in the habit of not passing up opportunities to organize any sized space and it’s made a huge difference in my attitude towards my clutter – it feels so much more do-able now!

That’s awesome Shannon, thank you for sharing!

What stands out for me in Shannon’s comment is how the mental shift in her attitude changed when she changed the way she usually did things and tried something new.  I talk about this exact thing in Tip #30 of my book, Clutter Rehab:

Pay attention to your inner dialogue.  When you’re dusting your knick-knacks or tripping over your floor clutter and are mumbling and grumbling about it every time you do it, you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.  So often we aren’t even conscious of these negative conversations going on in our minds, and it’s a lot of mental clutter taking up valuable brain space.  Beware of it, and if it bothers you that much, decide to do something about it–don’t keep complaining about it while doing the same things you’ve always done and expecting different results.  It just doesn’t work that way.  You have the choice to stop letting clutter control you, or if you choose to do nothing then at least decide to stop contributing to the power of a negative attitude.

You hold all the pieces of the puzzle:

puzzle pieces

You just need to put them together. One day at a time.  One space at a time.  One habit at a time.

You can do this!

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Questions to ponder this week:
1.  What did you accomplish this week on your 52 weeks list?
2.  Have you had a negative conversation check with yourself lately?
3.  Are you beginning to see new habits developing yet?

Please feel free to share your organizing journey and encourage one another in the comments.  You are also invited to link up to the linky below with any posts related to your 52 weeks of organizing participation or to a post of an organizing nature that you feel will help and encourage others in their quest to get organized. Please remember to link back to here though so we can reach out to as many people as possible in need of some inspiration.

One other thing to consider: by including your link below you, you are giving me permission to use parts of your post including pictures as a spotlight in future 52 Weeks of Organizing posts. Proper credit and links will of course be provided. If you are not okay with this please do not link up. Thanks!

Images credit:  shutterstock

Filed under: 52 Weeks of Organizing


26 Responses to 52 Weeks: #6 Negative Conversations

  1. 1
    Sarah says

    Good post! I actually started making day planning lists Monday of this week, but last night for some reason i completely forgot. So, waking up to read this post reminded me of what i should have done and delivered the kick up the backside i needed. Okay, so i missed one nights list. I just need to give myself another chance starting NOW with no negative conversations about how this is “another thing” that i will fail at.

    Right. Off too go consult with my diary and meal plan to write todays list. Then i will blog about it of course! But, no procrastination! List first, blog post second. :o)

    Sarah. x

  2. 2
    [email protected] says

    I find, too, that I have to jump on inspiration when it happens, or I tend to just put it off, forget it, then get really mad at myself or my family when it begins to intrude on our life. Take my linen closet. I had it organized for so long, then we had a long-term guest come, and I had to empty a bunch of it into my room to make some closet space for this guest. Then, when I changed out linens in our room, and put everything back, I didn’t bother to do it correctly, and it became a junk pit.

    I knew it needed to be reorganized, but I kept putting it off, getting madder and madder at myself and my boys for not putting things up correctly…when they couldn’t. So when the bug struck, I didn’t swat this time, I went with it, and am much happier now. And the boys can do one of their chores without getting nagged at by me about doing it correctly…they now have the tools to do so.

    My negative dialogue doesn’t effect just me….it effects everyone.
    Here’s my post:

  3. 3
    Jenny says

    This challenge has been so helpful to me. I have my list that I can go to and see what item I want to work on. It is fun to cross off things.

    Like you I was sick all of last week. I still managed to get something organized. I am still putting the chaos back in order. Since I am still recovering from pneumonia and feel really tired at night. This was my first week back at work, which really wore me out. It delighted my heart to find that I had something easy to organize on my to do list. Which meant I stuck to my goal for the new year, which is to put my house in order.

  4. 4
    The Bearded Iris says

    Well your book arrived two days ago and I absolutely LOVE IT. It has been a huge eye opener for me on what I’ve been doing wrong. I swear, I spend more time making pretty labels for things than I do really thinking about how to make a storage solution really work for ME. Your blog and book are helping me to learn that it is not just the containers, but the habits that will turn a space around for the better.

    This week, I want to organize a space that is highly visible and stress inducing (like the media cabinet you made over yesterday). Up until now, I’ve been choosing organization projects that are hidden and have a low impact on the chaos level (Legos, DS cartridges, linen closet). Why is that? And more importantly, where is my list? Seriously. Can’t find it. Go figure.

    Here’s my organization post for this week, all about your wonderful book:


    • 4.1
      Katzien says

      Wow. “….the habits that will turn a space around for the better.” Now THAT’s profound Iris, thank you.

  5. 5
    Heidi says

    I, too, received your book this week and it is wonderful. I’ve been working little by little getting my house in order. Closets, drawers, cabinets, kid stuff. It feels so good. And when I come home with a new basket or organizing tool, I can’t wait to put it to use! I organized my spice drawer after work on Wed. Today, I organized a basket of kid stuff in to a three drawer plastic bin – one for each child (shoes, mittens, hats scarves). Love it!

    Thank you for the ideas, motivation and encouragement that you offer!

  6. 6
    Kirsten says

    I too find myself organizing small things when I have a few minutes to spare. I had just about enough of not being able to close the utensil drawer, so I empitied it, cleaned the bottom, sorted through all the gadgets I didn’t even know I had and obviously didn’t need. Put some of my handy dandy contact paper on the bottom. Ahh now its nice and clean and you can actually shut the drawer. And it was all done while I chatted on the phone for some much needed girl talk. Oh I almost forgot. I also completed stage one of my sewing room/studio reorganization.

  7. 8
    Lynn Brownlee says

    I also find that sometimes we just get so USED to something being around that we don’t even really think about whether we want it in the home! I recently stared at an artsy/craftsy piece of tole painting I had on my wall and wondered, “What IS that thing?” Buh-bye. We don’t need to fill our houses with “stuff” just ’cause it fills a space or it was a good deal, or someone gave it to us. I’m starting to take a second look around my home. Thanks for encouraging us to do so!

  8. 9
    Katzien says

    Excellent advice about ‘small spaces.’ I have several areas where a small plastic bin is home to $%$#*%^&*% on a shelf. Because I see a bunch of stuff contained in a bin, I thought it was organized. But no, I still paw through that bin looking for the small whatever-it-is item. This weekend, I will sort through a two of those catch-alls and toss what is no longer needed, and organize what is left. Thanks!

  9. 11
    Martha (MM) says

    Hi Laura,
    I have had a productive week but mine has been all about pre-organizing. We are going to be moving in a couple of months so I am decluttering a drawer, shelf or small area each day and then making piles to keep and pack, keep to use now before moving, sell, donate, or trash. My goal is to start out at the new place simplified and organized, fingers crossed!
    The only negative talk has been about how and why I let things get as bad as they are, but I’m not being hard on myself, just getting it done and looking towards the future!
    Thanks again for giving us all a big push. I find it very ,very motivational to feel like I’m working with a team! 🙂

    • 11.1
      Heather says

      Hey Martha, I’ve been doing a task a day as well in preparation for a move. It is not soon, but soon enough. I know when I do move I want to start fresh and only bring the things that I love and use. A little bit everyday has made such a difference already.

  10. 12
    Camille says

    Agree with Shannon from The Raleigh Woodhouses. Small organized spaces bring big rewards.
    Accomplished this week: Cleared the Living Room table will be taking it down later tonight.
    Negative Mental COnversation: I hate this is, what I said when I opened my baking cabinet door. Everything was thrown in by someone that was trying to help. So I ate the frog and took things out was able to stack things in and everything fit. Hallelujah!
    Starting habits: Yes. Made a return basket by my front door and have been putting things in it.

    Love that!!!

  11. 13
    Vonnie says

    I haven’t been posting any of my progress on this challenge on my website, but I wanted you to know that this post really hit home for me. I have been super overwhelmed with my life as of late and my house is a complete wreck. There is clutter EVERYWHERE. I suffer from depression and try to just go through the motions. One thing that has helped me immensely is that I do one small thing at a time. Yesterday, for example, I organized the entire bathroom cabinet. An hour after I finished, I tackled that same bathroom’s countertop. Doing one thing at at time, even if that one room needs a complete overhaul, has helped in so much and has changed my mindset in many ways. I’m ready for change in my lifestyle. I can do it and I am so glad that it was through you and everyone else doing this challenge that brought it to my attention.

  12. 14
    Heather says

    1. What did you accomplish this week on your 52 weeks list?
    All the negatives I have from film saved to CD’s, finished my filing project, cleaned out my embarrassment of a car, my son’s closet, and unmarked VHS’s.
    2. Have you had a negative conversation check with yourself lately?
    I have actually noticed my conversations becoming much more positive lately. Instead of “I can’t, It’s too hard, I don’t have time” I am filling myself with positive words “I can make it work, I can break it into smaller projects, I have time to do this because it makes me happy”.
    3. Are you beginning to see new habits developing yet?
    I feel guilty if I slack for a day. I know that it is a 52 week challenge, but I try to do something every day because I will be moving before the middle of the year. The things that are really becoming habits are mail sorting upon arrival, never leaving a room empty-handed, and using a calendar!

  13. 15
    Ranjeetha says

    Hii…I have been reading your posts and doing a bit of organizing (thanks to your inspiring posts) around my studio flat lately.
    I always have negative conversations with myself and sometimes I get so bugged I voice them out load to my hubby 🙂
    Hmm…anyway lately I have realized that organizing is a continuous process (like you so rightfully mentioned) and we will have to keep doing it on a regular basis (some daily, some weekly and some once a month)…I have started cleaning up small areas by putting in 10-15 min. while my son (11months) is busy playing. Seeing this small but well organized space makes me feel good 🙂
    I have kept a small basket now and pick up stuff that don’t belong in the living space (which multiplies as dining space, bedroom and kids room) and move it to its designated location (usually kitchen) when I go from one room to the next.
    I don’t leave anything that irritates me visually as it is now….like a chocolate wrapper or a coffee mug lying there…I pick it up and either dispose it or wash and keep it back where it belongs.
    I need to tackle a lot of stuff still but it has been a wonderful learning experience.
    P.S. I haven’t added my blog here because I didn’t blog about this yet …but if I ever do write about this I will link it up for you to read.
    Thank You.

  14. 16
    katzien says

    I haven’t been doing this weekly, but I did do two small but important things this week. First, I organized my spice shelf with little labled containers and put them on a wire shelf to double my space. The long skinny ones are perfect for holding a row of spices. My labels are: Baking/Sweet (cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie sice, nutmeg, etc);
    Spicy/Peppers (crushed red pepper, peppercorns, cayenne, paprika);
    Ethnic/World (comino, curry, chinese five spice, cardamum);
    Savory/Herbs (dill, rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, bay leaf, provence):
    Extracts (vanilla, almond, mint, orange, etc)
    Season Blends (jerk, brisket rub, poultry seasoning, spanish rice blend).

    My second project was to separate stacks of rarely used dishes onto wire shelves so things aren’t teetering over, and I also made more room since I used the vertical space. Now….what to organize next???

  15. 17
    Kyle Suzanne says

    I am not naturally organized as I was raised by my Dad. Learning to be a homemaker & keeper has been a struggle. This challenge has really been an encouargement to me to find areas of clutter and to gain control over them in our home. Also to watch other faithful women take control of their homes too. Thank you.
    Kyle Suzanne

  16. 18
    Rebecca C says

    I’ve gotten much better at cleaning as I notice things that bother me (trash on the floor? throw it away NOW, when I used to just grumble and ignore it, like it was going to pick itself up lol!).

  17. 19
    Nicky at Not My Mother says

    This week I cleared out my wardrobe which had become a major disaster zone. I think I’m getting better at decluttering because although I didn’t get rid of a lot, I did get rid of some scarves and shoes that had been hanging on through previous decluttering attempts. There was a pair of pretty high-heeled mules that just didn’t work with my cankles 🙂 and some cute laceup boots that made me feel hip and pretty but took too long to put on–and I rarely get that dressed up. But I’ve been finding it so hard to let go of them. I realised it was because it meant I also had to let go of the idea of myself as someone who wore cute dressy outfits and had that life, whereas these days I’m much more comfortable in sneakers and less dressy outfits. So it’s about accepting who I am and being happy with that, and that is definitely a new habit for me!

  18. 20
    Nancy French says

    Thanks for all the menu plan links – so fun to see what everyone else is planning and great for new ideas to add to the rotation!


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