Organizing Encouragement for the Discouraged
During a recent organizing challenge I asked participants to give us their BEST piece of organizing advice to encourage others. I was so thrilled with what they had to say that I just had to compile it all here in one place for you. This is gold, pure GOLD! There is just something about advice from someone who has been there…each of them started the month with a disorganized space and over the course of the month transformed it into a beautifully organized one instead. They know now what it takes and are sharing that with you. I hope you are inspired and motivated to organize a space of your own this weekend!!
Take it one step at a time. Sit down and think about one small area and what can be done with it. Focus on that one area and get it done – then move on to the next. If that means stuff that belongs in another room gets piled there then fine – deal with it later.
Use plastic containers and the labelmaker. This gives you more flexibility in case you want to move items around as your space changes. It’s affordable, visible, and waterproof.
I think the best piece of advice I could give someone would be to get started with a small project first, and one that doesn’t have a lot of emotions tied to it. Once they see how good it feels to have that space organized, they’ll be motived to tackle another… and another… until they’re living in a clean, uncluttered, and organized space. ~
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” You won’t get organized over night, but start small and keep working at it! Do a little each night and before you know it, you’ll be done!
Do what works for you! I painted in pieces because of time constraints. I used “tools” that may look sloppy to some and am using my room for several purposes but it all best serves my needs.
Don’t give up. There was a moment in the month that I felt like it wasn’t going to happen. I had a party and needed to get things cleaned up and this room became the dumping ground again. I felt terrible when I couldn’t see the floor again after I had it all cleaned up the first time. Now I know that this is not a dumping ground, I spent too much time cleaning it up that it’s NOT going to happen!! Things are going to be put back each night before bed, just let every other room in the house.
Determining how the space is to be used creates automatic boundaries. Emptying the space and choosing containers to fill the space helps set limits.
Do the easy stuff first. Don’t be afraid to do something small even in the midst of a big project.
Break it up. I was never able to get in there and work on this room, because I always thought of it as “cleaning out the craft room”. When I started this challenge, the first thing I did was make a list of what needed done. Focusing on specific tasks, instead of the big picture, helped me get through this and finish.
Find a way for you to be motivated, and go for it! Honestly, cleaning out our bedroom has been on my “need to do” list for months. For me, a contest where I posted updates and was doing it along side of others (even though I have never met any of them) was motivating and encouraging. Figure out what motivates you, and get going.
Plan, plan, plan and when you are done plan some more.
Realize early on that no matter how bad it looks or what it involves IT IS POSSIBLE to fix it. I am someone who literally has ZERO time in the day and when I do have free time the last thing I want to do is clean or de-clutter. Carve out a small piece of your weekend and set out to do it! Most spaces that need organized don’t even require you to spend any money at all, just a little time to weed through the stuff and find a space for the things that don’t have a space! Enlist the help of a friend or family member to help you (even if it’s to play with your kids while you have some time to work).
Know in your mind what your storage issues are and make a plan from there.
Just jump in and start. You’ll be surprised at how easy and fast you can accomplish some major projects if you break them down into smaller, less daunting ones and just jump in with both feet. Oh, and promising yourself a nice tasty treat when you’re done helps too.
Don’t give up. Even though I’ve failed a bit at this challenge, hubby and I still have a lot of organizing goals and projects for our house.
The most important thing is to find out what keeps you motivated. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I had a different strategy in the beginning of the project, where I was going to sort everything first and then put things away. But I discovered that having my closet all set up and organized was a great motivator for me. I liked looking at the once nice space and it helped me to keep going when I wanted to quit. As mentioned, I needed to get things sorted, but not necessarily out the door. Some people may need to do things differently, no wrong method as long as you keep moving forward.
Stay focused. You don’t need to work on it everyday, but a little bit often. This is what I learned. So I hope it helps you.
Start with one space, one shelf, one item and go from there. Unless of course you want to sort, purge and organize your whole house – in that case, use Laura’s organizing process and organize everything in 52 weeks! It worked on my house!
Organizing a space takes time and effort. You may not be able to complete it in one day, but if you give yourself a realistic time frame, you can accomplish anything. When you do, you’ll find that you are happier and have more time and energy to focus on all of the things that you really enjoy doing.
The key to understanding and discovering my organizing “groove” was the CONTAINER! Limiting the amount of space for any one item truly put it all together for me and solidified my understanding of the “PROCESS”!
Don’t give up and set small goals that are achievable!
If you are taking on a big project discuss what you are planning with the whole family.
Set a goal. Set a plan (whether it’s steps or calendar driven). Keep going. Acknowledge when you get overwhelmed and then pick up five items and move forward. Stick to one project. Finish it. Reward yourself. Repeat.
Definitely make the plan of attack. It was very helpful to write out my goals, problems, suggestions, BUDGET and anything I could think of about the room. I will be using this method for all of my future projects!
Take the 1st step – the outcome is such an accomplishment.
I think my advice to anyone wanting to organize a space is to set a deadline and just make it happen. Even if it feels overwhelming – you don’t have to do it in one day, or even one week. All you really have to do is just start. I found that breaking my huge task into smaller ones and being able to walk away from it each weekend was helpful and made me start each new session with a fresh and critical eye.
One day at a time, one task at a time. Stay focused on the task at hand and don’t worry about what’s next on the list until it comes up. You can handle clearing off one shelf today. It’s easy and just one shelf. You can handle anything if you just break it down into smaller tasks and take it a day at a time. And don’t stress about other areas of the house until you’ve completely finished the one you’re working on!
Stick with it. Push thru. Lost your mojo? Keep working! Your mojo will come back. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Carry on with the plan, and magically inspiration will strike, when you need it the most; but only if you are working.
It is possible; just start small.
Keep going, some days you will find your just not motivated and by saying ok I can give 5 minutes to this you will find it makes a big difference. Five minutes is all it takes to clean out a drawer and once you complete that task you feel proud and it can lead to spending more time working in the room.
Work with a deadline and tell someone about it who will keep you accountable.
Decluttering and organization are an ongoing process. I posted my final pictures but I am far from done. There will always be one more thing to move, put away, give away, or rearrange when it stops working. Failure is not a part of organization, Slow and steady wins the race and a peaceful home.
Take it in small steps. If you try to do the whole thing at one time you’re bound to get tired, frustrated and possibly give up. Smaller periods of time make it much less overwhelming.
Think functionality! If it isn’t functional for you, it won’t work for you!
Just do it! Don’t think about it, you will feel so much better once you see the end result and you will wonder why it has taken you so long to do it in the first place!
My one piece of advice would be to have a game plan from early on in your project. Know exactly what you are organizing, know the quantities, what sorts of items, are there any like items that can be put together, what is your budget, and what is your inspiration. Having a game plan will make your research into products/tools much, much easier. We could all just walk into the container store or target and grab all of the organizational tools they sell – or that we think are pretty and will make good use of the space we are organizing but i think you could stand to save yourself a lot of money and time if you know exactly what your game plan is from the beginning. Keep revisiting that game plan so you don’t get off focus!
First you have to find what motivated you. It’s just like anything else in your life and you need to find the motivation to do it. Will it be a blog challenge? An upcoming party at your house? Someone breaking their leg over your junk? Next, find the time. Ask your husband to do the dishes so you can clean for 15 minutes. Ask your sister to watch your kids on Saturday, so you can clean for a good 4 or more hours. (You could always repay her the favor later…maybe she has unfinished task she needs help with.) Make sure you share your progress with other, get some positive feedback form positive people and keep working. Your life, your body, your household is a work in progress.
The greatest piece of advice I can give you in tackling an organizing project of your own is that you NEED to get rid of things. If you haven’t used something recently, it needs to go. And if it’s not functional, it must go. If it’s not your style, let it go. The thing is that if you decide a year from now you want it again, there will probably be something better available. It’s not worth the clutter to hang on to things because it might be useful.
Expect that it is going to take some time. I would have never given myself a month to complete something. I would have said “THREE DAYS!” and then failed under the daunting task of having it done is 72 short hours.
Never give up! This is probably the third or fourth time I have tackled my basement in the fifteen years we have lived here. It gets easier and lasts longer every time. Space changes, the needs you have change–and you change.
Don’t do it alone! Having an accountability partner kept me on track and gave me someone to laugh with, check in with, and celebrate with along the way. 🙂 Make sure it is someone who will stay motivated, keep you on track, and pay attention to the details. I knew I didn’t have some of the qualities naturally, so I depended on my mom to help me do those things more intentionally.
Have a plan. Know what you want the space to look like before you start. Otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of handy stuff that doesn’t really work together, and you’ll get discouraged along the way because it isn’t turning out the way you thought it would. Knowing what you want things to look like really helps because every choice you make will reflect the end result.
Do not be overwhelmed. Even if you have a big area, pick a small section to start with- empty a drawer or box. You can take small steps to complete a big goal!
Make a plan and start small. As I said before, getting started is the most daunting part because it’s hard to know what exactly to do and what will work. Take a few days to think about it and write down a plan of action – including what you want to change in the space, what you want to get rid of, what you need to add (e.g. containers or labels) as well as what your final vision is. Also include the baby steps you’ll take to get there. Once you have that, the rest just falls in to place!
Looking for inspiration, planning, and brainstorming are all good, but at some point, you have to just start. The details will sort themselves out as you go.
The easiest way to get overwhelmed is to look at the big picture, whether that be looking at the whole house or just one room. Breaking it into small, manageable tasks is so much less stressful and makes it a lot easier to take a deep breath and dive in! Start small and remember, you don’t have to organize everything in one day!
My one piece of advice is to work 15-30 minutes a day in one area until it is clean. I loved taking a whole month to focus on one area and by doing just that I was able to make my bedroom a place I WANT to be now.
In a Kindergarten, you have everything sorted into areas based on what you do, and everything for that activity is in that area. You have the dress up area, the reading area, the crafting area, etc. So with any room organization, the first step is to figure out what activities you do in that room, and then organize everything into those zones.
It’s a lot of work to actually get it organized, but once everything is organized correctly it will save you so much time in the long run!! If everything has a place and you can put things back right away allowing you to keep the area clean and organized all of the time! It’s such a great feeling living in an organized space!!!
Step by step “Rome wasn’t built in a day”
Find a organizational challenge that will help you stay on track. Being part of a challenge allows you to stay on track with your project.
It can’t ALL be finished in one day. Give yourself time and permission to work on it a little at a time. Take days off here and there as you need to, it’s okay. Start with an amount of time per day you’d like to work and use a timer. As you start to see the progress you’ll want to keep going after the timer rings. Just set the timer again.
You’ve just got to jump in and get started. Whether you start small on a 10 minute project (I tackled one of those each week in February as part of this challenge), or whether you want to start in the largest messiest area of the house- you need to set your goal and get started. And as you get going- work from left to right- touching each item and deciding should you keep it, donate it, toss it or relocate it? And the criteria to keep an item was that you have to love it, use it, need it, or want it, AND have room to store it!
Make a plan, get started and stay focused! Actually STARTING is so intimidating, but if you can just force yourself to take baby steps, you’ll start to pick up momentum. Once you really get going, keep the end result in mind so you don’t lose steam. It’s also super helpful to make a list of things that still need to be done in a room. And lastly, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a BIG change.
Communication and collaboration is huge in an organizational challenge. Use friends to ask questions, look at the space with you, and shop with you to find different ideas and solutions. It is so easy to get stuck in the details of the process that you don’t see solutions anymore. Other people have fresh eyes and ideas that can help tremendously.
My one piece of advice would be to write your goals out for the space you are organizing before you get started and don’t stop until you have reached your goals!
Now if that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will. The time to start organizing is NOW!!!!!
Go for it, you can do it!!!