If everything in your home was organized – easy to find, orderly, containing only what you love and use the most – what would you do that you can’t do now?
In what ways would you feel different then you do now?
What impact would it have on you and those around you?
Your answers to these questions are the most important part of getting organized. Why? Because getting organized is not a goal, it’s a process, a method, a system for achieving something important to you. It’s not enough to say, “I want to be more organized,” if you don’t know why.
Whenever I meet with clients for the first time I ask them these three questions. This is because getting organized is hard work! If you don’t have a compelling reason to tackle the physical, mental and emotional tasks often associated with organizing your home’s contents, you will lose focus, motivation and you’ll end up back where you started or worse.
Stop thinking and start doing
Here’s an easy way to get started and break the cycle of procrastination:
- Decide about an area of your home you wish were more organized. Is it your office? Your garage? Your kitchen? Your bedroom?
- Write down the one room that most interferes with your day to day life now and why!
Are you feeling an overwhelming sense of stress because your office is a mess? Does your garage make you cringe every time you pass through it? Are you finding it more and more difficult to prepare a meal in your own kitchen? Decide which area is bugging you the most and write it down.
- The most disorganized room in my home that is making my day-to-day life more stressful is ________________.
- Close your eyes and imagine that room completely organized. You know exactly where everything is and it’s easy to find. It contains only what you love and use the most. It is clean, tidy and orderly. What’s more, you have systems in place for keeping it that way.
- Fill in the blanks to these three questions:
- If my ____________ was organized I would be able to ____________.
- This would make me feel _________________.
- As a result, I could _______________ for myself and the people I care about.
How it might look to you
You thought about your home and the area you wish were more organized is your kitchen.
Maybe your kitchen has too much clutter on every surface. The floors, table, counters. You’ve lost control of it and now cooking a meal for yourself or your family is challenging if not impossible.
You’re spending too much on take-out meals as a result and you’re worried about your health and your family’s health, not to mention your finances.
You can never find what you need when you need it so you end up buying more of what you may already have.
You are feeling an unacceptable level of stress and you may even be fighting with your family or others you live with as a result.
You work full time or are taking care of others and are exhausted at the end of the day and the last thing you want to spend your time doing is cleaning.
Now imagine your kitchen has undergone a miraculous organizing makeover.
You know exactly what you have and everyone in your family knows where to find what they need and where to put it back when they are done.
Opening your cabinets, cupboards and pantry makes you happy because the things you use and love the most are organized and visible or labeled.
You can now cook and prepare food in your kitchen with pleasure. You enjoy relaxing in your kitchen with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
You can invite friends over or your family can sit around the kitchen table and have a meal together. This makes you feel happy, connected, free, light, and more available to yourself and others.
You spend less time in the kitchen so you are able to get to work on time, or spend more time enjoying what you love to do including spending more quality time with your friends or family.
Never make “get organized” or “be more organized” the goal in itself. It sounds nice but unless you have an overwhelming and compelling reason to do so, it probably won’t happen. Instead focus on what an organized space, room or house would give you that you don’t have now.
Recognize when you need help
Many home organizing projects can be as labor intensive as a home remodel. Unless you are a contractor, I doubt you would remodel your own kitchen! Know when it’s time to hire a professional:
- When the project is too big to handle alone (hint: if you’ve procrastinated or attempted, only to turn away from it once again)
- If you have physical, emotional or mental limitations that would prevent you from managing the job alone
- If you just don’t have the time to do it alone but want to get it done.
- If you are on tight deadline from an impending move, remodel or you need to put your house on the market
Know your WIIFM – What’s In It For Me – your overwhelming and compelling reason for getting organized. It is the most important part of your plan. Make this, and not “get more organized” your resolution for next year, and you will probably be successful.