I know that this one is not for everyone. I know that some of us are just ingrained to really enjoy organizing. If you don’t love it, you don’t have to. All you need is to kinda sorta like it to be able to convince yourself to do it. Hopefully I can get you to a point where you kinda like organizing.
Imagine a beautiful home that is completely organized and looks picture perfect. It looks like something from a design tv show. (You know the ones.) You step into every room and see a perfect picture opportunity. Now, step back into reality. These homes are staged. They are meant to look magnificent because it’s a television show. There are some shows that will give you more of a reality, but your favorite show on HGTV is not where you want to set your expectations. This doesn’t mean that you need to give up before you start. You need to start by setting your bar lower. Unless you immediately fall in love with organizing, you have to be willing to look at reality. TV is very pretty, but, most of us can’t afford a person (or crew of people) to keep our homes looking like that. If you want to do that yourself, then I support you, but you will need to be very dedicated.
Now that we have stepped back into the wonderful world of reality, let’s ask ourselves, why aren’t you organizing right now? Get to the root of the issue. Is there something keeping you from being able to get started? Well, I am not the one to tell you that. (Although I am more than willing to help, if you contact me. Leave a comment if you need my help.) You need to figure it out for yourself. I’ll be here waiting if you want to figure that out now. Okay, now here are some tips for getting yourself into an organizing mentality.
You can now figure out what will get you going. If you want, you can start by looking at your aesthetic. You know what you like. Okay, that was easy. Ha. Okay, now really break down what you like about your home. Is there a specific style that you look for in your home, or is it more fluid in style? It’s important to figure out how you want it to look. Your personal style will impact how you end up organizing. You want to be comfortable in the space that you create for yourself. Don’t look at an image and say “this is how it has to look”. You may need to blend things together to help it match your home. You can go to Pinterest to create a board of things that you like. Research your price range so that you know where you can shop. Look at what you need to do, but start small. I mean it. Don’t look at the whole room. Stop it. I know that you were looking around and thinking it’s impossible. It’s not. THAT IS STEP ONE! Start small and accept that you cannot do it all at once. You won’t be able to start until you let go of the mentality that you have to do everything now. This mentality is just a bad road that only leads to Depression Junction in Guilt City.
Okay. Now you can go onto Pinterest, The Container Store, or Ikea, and start looking at things that make you happy. You need to see what makes you happy. If it’s ugly, you won’t want to use it. This is important. If you are going to buy something with your hard-earned money, make sure it is something you like. This is important in every aspect of organizing. It counts for clothes, shoes, food, furniture, plates, ect. I know that some people will have a hard time with this, but I am not the person to diagnose anyone. I am just referring to everyday scenarios. If you think that you may have a more concerning issue, The Institute for Challenging Disorganization is a wonderful resource to research further. Your wanting to use what you find, will help you to maintain your creative order. (Like what I did there? No. Okay, I’ll stick to the blog.)
Here are a few suggestions for ways that you can set yourself up for success on your projects. To get motivated you should list some overall projects that you would like to accomplish. I say overall because you want to look at a big project in order to figure out what you would like to see change in your home. If you’re sarcastic like me, you may have just said to yourself, “can I answer “the whole house“?”. Well my friend, you need to pick specific areas that are not completely overwhelming. Don’t pick the kitchen. Pick the countertops, or that one specific cabinet that you use constantly that drives you crazy. Don’t say it doesn’t exist. You know the one that I am talking about. You can even start with just one shelf in that cabinet or one small section of countertop. By starting with one small section, you can work your way through at your own pace and accomplish overall projects. After you have finished one area, you can move on to another. Stick to one area at a time. Here’s an example.
So, you want to organize your kitchen? Well a good place to start would be the surfaces that you use around the kitchen. The countertops are a great place to start. First you’ll want to gather all the paperwork in one area as you are working along the countertops. Make sure that each item that you move has a place that you will remember, or to the place where they belong. If you can, make new “homes” for items along the way. All dirty items should be gathered, and the trash should be disposed of. Once you have this finished, you can move into the cabinets, and be able to empty them onto the counters for easier sorting. A good way to keep track of your progress is to make a chart of where you started, where you are headed, and what you have to maintain in between.
Now before you continue, I have a recommendation. If you are looking to help yourself get motivated, put on some of your favorite music and dress comfy.
You can rock out around the house, and enjoy the time you have to get something done. If you can, get your family involved to help you. Dance around and be silly. Let yourself relax and just go with it. The more you have fun with it, the more that you will forget about the length of time. If you aren’t a fan of dancing around then try a podcast or an audible book. Something that won’t suck you into a Netflix binge on the couch.
Once you pick out a small area, (When I say this I mean like two or three small shelves. Part of a linen closet. Part of a pantry. Two drawers.) you need to look for the items to assist you. Clear containers are great for things that you would like to be able to see (like in the fridge or pantry). Decorative boxes are great for things that need to be accessible, but not seen (These are seen at craft stores). Drawer organizers are made for both the kitchen as well as bedroom bureaus. I have mentioned both banker’s boxes and large storage containers in my seasonal decoration post. You can read that one here. Storage cubes are an incredibly versatile. They can be used for just about anything and can be bought at a variety of stores. These are just a few examples.
Okay, now that I have overwhelmed you with options, do you have anything in your home that could fit in those spots without causing a mess somewhere else? If you have it, use it. Your possessions won’t do anything for you if you don’t use them. Take the opportunity and repurpose some items that you can. This will help to motivate you because you have already accomplished something.
For anyone who is saying, “What if I don’t know what I need?” Well, I have a solution for you as well. It’s what some people will use a third step, and some people will use this as a second step. (Remember the first step. Start small.) This step is to empty the area that you are organizing. Just take everything out and go through it. This may feel like a pain, but if you are going through a pantry shelf, it makes more sense to go through the food as you are taking it out. Go through whatever you are cleaning. Food, toys, and clothes are all the same. After you have taken everything out, you can see what kind of space you have. If you have no idea what you need, this is the point where you can figure that out. Look at the area and then create the space you want to see. This is where people can go back and redesign the how items will be stored. (Remember these projects are not one day only. These projects take time. You can put things away without having every piece in place.) The reason I say this can be done first is because if you don’t have every piece you need at least you started. One of the hardest things to do when organizing is just to start. Once you start, maybe you will find that it motivates you to do more. Sometimes all you have to do is see your progress to find all the motivation you need. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way at all.
If you can’t find the motivation, then you may need some extra guidance. Perhaps you need to talk to a close family member to help get past what is stopping you. It’s up to you to ask for help. I have been in this situation before because I think that I have to do everything myself. This is NOT true. I have put myself in a worse place because of not asking for help when I really needed it. People are willing to help, you just need to reach out. This is where my job becomes vitally important. If you are struggling and do not want to go to someone personal for help or you have another reason, you can reach out to me, or a Professional Organizer in your area. Our jobs are to help people in your area. Blog posts are wonderful for sharing knowledge with one another, but sometimes you need someone in person.
One of the vital things to remember in all of this, is that progress is what you need. You don’t need to have it perfect and done in one day. I keep repeating time, because everything takes time. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” We have all heard this phrase. If you have not, how? No, really. How? Comment below because I am fairly certain that is required to be said at least once by a history teacher. You need to have patience in the process. It will look like an earthquake happened for a little while. It always looks worse before it looks better. (Quick Note! If you have a hard time remembering what pile is what, label them. Even if they are on the floor. Use scrap paper, a post it, whatever you need to do to make it easier. You don’t want to throw away something that you really wanted because it went in to the wrong pile. That’s discouraging at the least.) Piles will happen. It’s okay. Trust me. That is not the end. That is progress. Don’t overwhelm yourself just let yourself make progress.
The best advice that I can give you is that you need to make organizing an experience that you are willing to repeat. You don’t have to love it. You will need to kinda sorta like it in order to continue on a path to being more orderly in your home, and your life. Let me know if you have questions. I really am happy to help.
Keep Moving Forward.