When you’re disorganized, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. You may be surprised to know that the BEST place to begin your organizing journey is INSIDE YOUR HEAD! These 13 tips will help you center and focus on the bigger wins:
1. Identify What Is Truly Important
The first Organizing Mantra is: If ‘everything’ is important, then nothing is. Decide what is truly important in your life and that will help you focus on what to keep and honor.
The second Organizing Mantra is: Clutter is caused by delayed decisions about where something belongs. Instead, decide immediately and put it there – or get rid of it. When you think you cannot decide, you can… Just decide. If you don’t like your decision, decide again. Chocolate, or vanilla… CHOOSE!
3. Function Before Form
The third Organizing Mantra is: Function before form. It is certainly easy to buy beautiful products and feel like they’ll solve your organizing dilemma. Unfortunately, this idea is fundamentally flawed and will get you into trouble. Think about how you USE an item or space before you find something beautiful to fill it up. Identifying how something is used (as in your spaces, tools, furniture, and products) – it’s function is more important than what it looks like. If it is not functional, it will not be used and therefore be a waste!
4. Find A Home
During 1-on-1 sessions the fourth Organizing Mantra is often evoked. I often ask a client: “Where does this item live?” When clients can’t answer, I know it’s time to assign the item a living place, or a “home”. Return items back home after they are used.
5. Set Limits
The fifth Organizing Mantra is: Limits and boundaries keep you organized. A lot of disorganization is attributed to a lack of clear boundaries. Get in the practice of setting limits in your space and time.
6. Like with Like
The sixth Organizing Mantra is to keep like items together. When sorting items, put like items together to create categorical groups. You may sort differently than your friends or family members – and that is ok! Trust yourself to know how you like items grouped and work with your intuition!
7. Buy Purposefully
The seventh Organizing Mantra is: Before purchasing an item, decide its purpose. Ask yourself where it will live in your home. If you don’t know, don’t buy. You’re likely being triggered by some other “hidden” factor. Taking a breather and space helps your logical mind get back in control, and quiets whatever emotional need may be spinning at that moment!
8. Find The Right Container
The eighth Organizing Mantra is: find the right container. Buy containers only when you know what will go in them. Containers are often purchased to “solve an organizing problem” only to create more clutter because the owner doesn’t know what to do with them. MOST clients have more containers than they need when they pare down their stuff.
9. Label Everything
Organizing Mantra number nine is: Label everything. This means that anything that is contained or put away so everyone knows where items live. Labels help calm your brain by immediately reducing decision-making anxiety. Don’t worry, you can always change the labels if you need to!
10. No Hopping
The tenth Organizing Mantra is: start in an area and push through till it’s done. Choose an area to organize and stick with that area. If you find something that belongs in another area of your home, don’t move it until you are finished organizing the space you started in. Hopping makes you lose focus on your original task. Place items to move to another area in a box marked “elsewhere”.
11. 1-In, 1-Out
The eleventh Organizing Mantra is: 1 in 1 out. This simply means that when something new comes into your home, something must leave. Following this rule helps balance your collections and capacity.
12. Reduce Redundancy
The twelfth Organizing Mantra is: reduce redundancy. Ask yourself, “Can I get this information somewhere else?” If you can easily access the information somewhere else, (possibly on the internet or at the library) then you don’t need to keep the piece of paper—toss it! Realize that most people keep 80% more information than they actually ever pull for later use.
Finally, the thirteenth Organizing Mantra is: maintain your systems. Organizing is NOT a one-time “clean sweep” event. Creating systems is the first step, maintaining them and being rigorous with your behaviors, will avoid backsliding and crisis!
Want some help? I can help you…
- For a step by step guide to clearing clutter – download my “Dimensions Workbook”
- For guidelines on when to toss items out and how long to keep papers – download “Time To Toss It!”
- Need to get your home and family organized? download “Get Organized to Keep Your Family Sane” E-book and Audio Course
- Do you need one on one phone or on-site coaching? – Sign up for on-site or phone consultation!
- To understand where to begin and get free feedback on your own personal organizing challenges, Click on the blue iceberg buttons on the right panel of my website labeled: Space, Systems, Self and Support.