Getting organized takes work and most of the time, getting organized falls to the bottom of our to do list … and doesn't happen. What many of us fail to realize is that getting organized would free up some time that we're losing today because we're not organized.
Fortunately there are professional organizers who are worth their weight in gold, really. They start with the advantage of not being emotionally tied to all of our clutter. They have lots more experience organizing things based on working with many people who have similar challenges. Maybe it's time for you to get more organized?
The Organizing Diet
… by Avis Jones, mission accomplished
Deciding to get organized is like deciding to diet and exercise. If you go on the “800 calorie and exercise for an hour every day diet,” by the end of the week you'll be starving, in pain and you might have lost a pound. Discouraged, it is doubtful you will continue the regimen. If you go on the “eat healthy and exercise 30 minutes a day diet,” you may be a little sore, but you will not starve, you will lose a pound or two and you will be encouraged to continue. Why? Because it's doable and quantifiable.
Organizing is similar. You should start by organizing one space at a time, maybe only one file drawer, the junk drawer in the kitchen or one of the many piles on your desk. Choose the time of day you have the most energy, allot a specific amount of time to work on the task, set the timer. When the timer goes off, take a break, reset a timer or end the task for the day. Make regular appointments for yourself on your calendar to work on this organizing task. Repeat these steps until you're finally organized. Doable and quantifiable. Everyone's ability to focus on a task like this is different, so learn your limits and respect them. If you decide to organize your entire kitchen on Monday morning, you are probably setting yourself up for failure.
Committing to Change
We all know that making any behavioral change is hard work. You have to be committed to the process of change. Getting organized is hard work. In the beginning, but once you get into the rhythm of sorting and purging and begin to feel the benefits of being organized (less stress, less hectic, more time, more energy), you'll be encouraged to continue. That is where organizing is similar to the diet and exercise routine.
By following the SPACE principle developed by Julie Morgenstern in Organizing from the Inside Out, you will see results and little by little you will get organized.
- Sort everything into like piles.
- Purge everything you don't use, need or love
For every (yes, every) item you plan to keep:
- Assign a home to every item in the pile
- Containerize and label
- Equalize on a regular basis, meaning repeat this process on a regular basis.
Just like deciding to diet and exercise, you just have to start. Pick a task (a small one), schedule some time (15 minutes will do) and just do it! By starting small, you will gain satisfaction from your results and this will motivate you to keep going.
Avis Jones, owner of mission accomplished, is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Avis is leading the formation of a local NAPO chapter. For permission to use this article, contact Avis Jones. 4 Walls 1 Roof LLC has a royalty-free content license to use this article.