HABIT - Organizing Your Life

Getting Started With Organizing Your Home

Did you know that January is National Get Organized (GO) Month?

GO Month, which began in 2005, is dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of getting organized (and of hiring a NAPO professional organizer). During GO Month, NAPO’s dozens of chapters and thousands of members hold public events, including shred-a-thons, clear your clutter days, reduce-and-recycle events and volunteer organizing throughout the country.¹

The next 30 days will be dedicated to organizing your home with tips you can use in every room. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can always hire a professional to help you get started by checking out the NAPO website, or come back tomorrow for our post on hiring a professional organizer.

Getting Started Organizing Your West Cobb Home

Do you shudder when you think of people coming over to visit unannounced?  Do you panic when you get a text message that family is coming—and they left 4 hours ago (and it’s a 5 hour trip)?  Do you try to clean before your cleaning service comes?  Can you not afford a cleaning service and try to do it yourself, ending up discouraged, frustrated, and thinking it’s just impossible?

Are you considering selling your home? That’s typically when all the clutter becomes unbearable. How do you get the house ready for potential buyers? How will you pack everything to take with you? Do you even want to take it with you?

The real key here is to take it a step at a time. Take it at your own pace.  This IS a fight that you CAN and WILL win!  You will have to commit to having less stuff if your home and letting go of the sacred-cows you’ve hung on to for all these years (but please note that these cows haven’t lifted a finger to help you get organized or clean—they only collect dust and take up space!).  This isn’t having “Clean Sweep” come to your home and do the work for you—it’s all your work.

Don’t worry.  It can all be done in a few minutes each day.  Yes, you, too can occupy a relatively clean environment as long as you relax and let go of “it’s-got-to-be-perfect-itis”.

You have 3 options to declutter – toss, donate or sell.

 

I’m a firm believer that

  • if it doesn’t work…
  • if you can’t remember when you last used it….or…
  • if it doesn’t make you feel good …then…

MOVE IT OUT!

Now, I know… sounds easy doesn’t it? Then why do we all have so much clutter?

Decluttering Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and techniques that have worked for me to move unused items from my life.

You see I’ve tested them on my own personal clutter and I know they work. First you will need some bankers boxes (you can get these anywhere you purchase office supplies). Bankers boxes work the best because they have lids and are stackable. Ikea has these in different colors and sizes to make it easy to organize. And post-it notes. And a variety of plastic storage containers that are stackable.

Here’s what you do to quickly eliminate your clutter:

  1. Label the boxes anyway you like …maybe with a letter (A, B, C, etc) or numbers. And if you are doing this with somebody, maybe use names with letter/number or color code the boxes by person.
  2. Go around and start putting your dear clutter in the boxes while recording the contents on post-it notes. (You can do this little by little whenever you have a spare few minutes).
  3. When the boxes are full, stack them neatly in a closet, garage, attic, etc….anywhere where they are out of sight – except for the red ones, immediately place them in your car or trash to get rid of.
  4. When you have a little time, sit down, review the post-it notes and transfer the information to a spreadsheet, word document, index cards or whatever system works best for you. (By indexing you can easily find and retrieve anything you might have mistakenly filed away). Simply look the object up in the index to find the appropriate box and go get it! It’s that easy!
  5. After a time, if you find you really don’t need all the things you have stored, you can donate usable items to your favorite charitable organization. You can have a garage sale and make some cash, or you can make money by starting your own on-line store on eBay and …

You can have fun by giving your clutter a second life!

A good rule of thumb is:

“If you have not used it or thought about it in a year then you probably don’t need it and you can let it go”

The great thing about this process is that it overcomes the two main obstacles to clearing clutter. First, you may have thrown something away only to realize later that you really needed it. So now you are reluctant to throw anything away. Secondly, you believe that it can take quite a chunk of time to do a really good job of sorting and eliminating your unwanted stuff. In the past, you may have started to get organized only to abandon the effort for want of time and organization and ended up with a bigger mess on your hands.

This process eliminates these obstacles because the sorting can be done extremely quickly without the possibility of discarding valuables.

Doing these small things is your first step in creating space for new, exciting ideas and energy.

Get ready for an abundance of fresh ideas and energy to enhance your living! And if you are looking at downsizing and moving to a new home, this process makes it easier to move your things, because they are already organized!

STEP ONE TO ORGANIZING YOUR HOME

Ready for step one?  Good.  We’re going to declutter first – set a timer and put on some energizing music to get you going.  Decide that you’re only going to declutter for 15 minutes in one certain room.  Then if you want to work longer, say, another round of 15 minutes, you can.  But you don’t have to.  This helps you get motivated, even when you feel like cleaning is the last thing you’d want to tackle.  Yep- psyche yourself out.

Go from room to room one day, just decluttering – 15 minutes in each room.  Some rooms might take only five minutes – there’s a good feeling!  Others might take 30 minutes before you can walk through the room without tripping over something.  It’ll all average out.

Then on day two, go back to your first room and surface clean.  Wipe off counters, sinks, flat surfaces.  Then spot vacuum.  If there’s a stain on the kitchen floor, spot clean that baby.  Day three, pick another room.  Day four, still another.  If you’re so motivated one day and get on a roll, surface clean two rooms.

After you’ve decluttered, we’re going to take fifteen minutes a day and do some deeper cleaning in each room.  You know, vacuuming thoroughly, dusting, swatting away cobwebs, etc.

Now, if you just repeat this simple schedule, you’ve got a house that would at least make the grade on a pass-fail system. That takes a load off your mind and alleviates stress in your family relationships.

Remember, it’s better to do a little each day and get the job done, than to stress out in an embarrassingly cluttered environment because you’re too overwhelmed to even start.  Go ahead – set that timer!

Come back tomorrow to learn more about organizing your West Cobb home.

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¹Wikipedia

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