Some guidance on getting organized in 2017

Did anyone else spend this week getting a start on their resolutions? On Monday I found myself cleaning out my inbox, setting goals and prioritizing my to-do lists so that I would feel ready to tackle not only the week ahead, but 2017 as a whole.

It should come as no surprise to hear that getting organized is one of the 2017’s top New Year's resolutions, because let’s face it: we’re all tired of the clutter. Who wants to spend another year feeling unsettled, overcrowded, or like they don't have a handle on their home?

I know that the desire is there. You don’t want to live with the clutter. It’s impacting too much of your life (both your physical and mental space) and you know that when it’s out of your home you will feel like you have a better grasp on everything else that is on your plate this year.

But...it can be overwhelming to begin the process. It’s like starting a giant puzzle without knowing what the final picture is supposed to look like. You need a little bit of guidance to get going and then once the motivation and confidence kicks in you know you can see the project through to the end.

Ready for some guidance?

Get started. Identify one problem area and write out a plan to fix it. Is it going to be fun? Probably not at the beginning. Is it doable? ABSOLUTELY. Getting organized is therapeutic and contagious--once you start clearing the clutter I know that the motivation will carry you through to your next problem area.

To help you get started, here are some questions that I always ask my clients to think about at the start of the project:

  1. What area of your home are you ready to tackle? Keep your focus on one area so not to get overwhelmed. Remember, it will always look worse before it gets better so don’t let that get your down!

  2. What is the purpose of this area? Identify the purpose of your space. Does your family use your entryway as a landing zone for sports equipment, shoes, mail, etc.?

  3. What is your goal for this area? What changes would you like to see made for this area?

Once you’ve answered number 1-3 you are ready to create your plan because you have a clear of what “before” and “after” should look like. With your plan in place, here’s what to do next:

  1. Write it down. Hold yourself accountable by committing to a day and time to get started. You make appointments for everything else in your life, so why not make getting organized as much of a priority? Tip: We recommend blocking off no more than 3 hours at a time to spend on your project so that you don’t get burnt out.

  2. Get others involved. Invite a friend, family member, or professional organizer over to help you go through your stuff, make decisions, and keep you motivated. It’s amazing how helpful the extra support can be! Tip: when it comes to choosing items to Toss or Donate, enlist their help in getting your items out the same day so that you aren’t tempted to change your decision later on.

  3. Set realistic expectations. Don’t expect to have your entire home organized after one session. Organizing is a process and will take time. For example, break up each room or project up into mini areas. If you managed to get through your kitchen pantry in 3 hours, focus on your kitchen drawers next session. Tip: take a photo of your space “before” to remind yourself of how far you’ve come!

For those looking for a bit more guidance, come see me on January 28th at West Elm DC. I’m hosting a workshop focused on how to get your home (regardless of its size!) organized. You’ll leave with the knowledge of how to tackle any area of your home (even the tricky spots like under the sink and your junk drawer) and a starter kit that includes The Playbook, my organizing guide that includes charts, tips, and resources to get your home organized from top to bottom. I would love to see you there and answer any of your specific organizing questions!

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