Being organized is one of the top priorities for many people in the new year. Despite wanting to make a resolution to keep everything in our lives tidy, we fail because we have the wrong intent. “We tend to create resolutions with entirely wrong attitudes,” says professional organizer and stager Jennifer Phelps. “Instead of celebrating the fresh start the new year offers, we’re usually resolving to do better at something we feel guilty about —clutter, weight, diet — left over from the previous year. Who doesn’t dread and resent a goal fundamentally based on our shame and guilt?”
So, I decided to change my attitude toward my 2019 decluttering goals and get excited about it. With some creative thinking and a trip to IKEA (the master organizers) my house finally feels open. You can accomplish the same feeling of relief using the tricks I did.
Change Your Attitude
If you’re dreading going through that coat closet exploding with clothing, you’ve already failed. Instead, think about the end result. All of those unused items collecting dust in your home can help someone in need. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” really does come into practice when learning how to get organized.
Make a Plan
My husband and I started in sections of our house. We decided to start with our coat closets. We got rid of anything that we haven’t used in a while, anything that doesn’t fit and anything we have duplicates of. Then, we moved onto our own closets and did the same thing. By the end of it, we had several bags full of items ready to be donated.
Cleaning out those closets was definitely a long time coming. We had been avoiding it for months and the clothing finally capsized. Our schedule really helped us make sure we had enough time to go through everything. We didn’t start on the next area until we were finished with the first. You can use this same process and stay on track. DO NOT TRY TO TACKLE YOUR WHOLE PLACE AT ONE TIME. You’ll basically end up with a bigger mess than you started with and not even know what items you want to keep anymore.
Like staying on track for fitness goals, learning how to get organized is better when done with friends. Since my husband and I came up with our game plan, we can easily keep each other accountable. After finishing our closets, we mapped out how to get organize in our laundry room, bathroom and with our son’s toys. Then, we went shopping together.
With our list in hand, we purchased only the items we knew we needed for those areas. Then, we made sure that we put things away as soon as we got home. Now, if something is laying around out of place, we will remind each other to stay clutter free.
It’s a lot easier said than done, believe. My old habit to not leave my shoes by the door is a hard one to break. My husband is the main culprit for jackets all over the kitchen and dining room. Because we are holding each other accountable, we know to look out for these things and help each other kick the habit once and for all.
The most important part about successfully organizing is to make an obtainable goal. As part of your action plan, be realistic about how much time you can allocate to all of the areas you want to organize. Maybe you have 10 minutes a day to clean a shelf or drawer. Maybe your goal is to have an entire room done by the end of the month. Be honest with yourself about how to complete these tasks.
These simple steps will make learning how to get organized so much simpler. Don’t forget to celebrate the little victories along the way by rewarding yourself. Whether it’s a trip to your favorite fro-yo shop or a much-needed massage, plan it! Having a reward is a huge motivator to meet any goal.