I generally have two kinds of home organizing clients. The first calls me out of a sense of obligation…her husband is fed up with the clutter, she feels too guilty/bad/ashamed to have somebody over, but she’s not 100% on board with this decluttering and organizing thing but she wants to be. The second calls me because she is ready…she has tripped over the last toy, she is done being frustrated by getting dressed in her wreck of a closet, she is sick of looking at the piles of papers on the kitchen counter. After talking for a while, she looks me in the eyes and says “I am just ready. Where do we start?”
Do either of these sound familiar to you? Whichever category you fall into, there is a tried and true way to move forward and conquer the clutter.
Get on Board With Change
You have to commit to the change. Getting organized is not just about labels and matching totes. It is about changing your relationship with your stuff so you can get rid of the excess. It is about changing your habits. Instead of throwing the mail on an old flat surface, make the conscious decision to put it in a basket on the counter. Instead of shoving excess clutter in a drawer or a closet whenever company comes over, commit to doing a 10 minute tidy every day to keep the little stuff at bay.
Change is hard. I get it. When you catch yourself, slipping back into bad habits, stop, forgive yourself and try again.
What is the Problem?
Yes, you are overwhelmed by the clutter but what is the real underlying issue? Maybe you have a chair in your bedroom that is the dumping ground for clean (and dirty) clothes. Why is this? Maybe it’s because your dresser drawers are so crammed full of clothes you never where that you can’t put away the items that make you fell like a million bucks.
Take a breath and tamp down that anxiety and feelings of overwhelm to objectively look at the hot spots in your home. Do an assessment of the situation. Once you’ve figured out the undying issues (I really need a second book shelf, I have too may sets of dishes), you can move forward to conquer your clutter. I have a DIY workbook for just such an occasion.
Figure Out Where You’d Like To Be
In the age of Pinterest and beautiful blogs it’s hard not to feel “less than” when it comes to your home. I see so many women who beat themselves up when their homes just don’t seem Pinterest-worthy. The un-reality of those images is a conversation best had another time. However, it is a great thing to have goals. What would you ideally like the space to look like and function like? How can you get from A to B using small steps? Make an action plan of small do-able steps of how to get things done.
Do the Work
Decluttering and organizing is not easy. It’s hard work and requires a lot of brain power to make all those decisions. I’m a professional organizer and I often leave a 3 hour decluttering session completely exhausted. I get it. But the pantry isn’t going to organize itself and the closet isn’t going to purge the 3-sizes-too-small jeans without you.
The other thing to remember is that “getting organized” is not a one stop shopping experience. You have to maintain it and possibly re-do it later in time. Beautifully folded piles clothes get toppled, the orderly rows of soup get jumbled. It’s life and it happens. Just like you can’t expect to exercise one time and have rock hard abs, you can’t organize once and expect it to last forever.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
I was with a young mother the other day. Her house looked lived in but not very cluttered until we opened drawers and closet. They were just crammed full of stuff. “I don’t have time to get organized. I only have an hour or two a day when the kids aren’t home and I feel like I need a full day to tackle this closet.” “When company comes over, we just shove stuff in the drawers and closets.” Oh, boy! I understand that feeling and I see it all the time. We talked strategy and systems and her biggest takeaway from our conversation was this. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just declutter one drawer at a time or a half of a pantry shelf at a time. Get rid of the excess (keep only what you need, use and love) and worry about the organizing later.
Breaking an overwhelming task into small, easily completable bites can make all the difference in the world.
How To Conquer the Clutter
Clutter can be the stuff in your house or the stuff in your head or the stuff on your calendar. Whatever your hard-to-deal with clutter is, it can be handled once identified, considered and tackled a little at a time. So take a deep breath and begin with a baby step.
Want to kick start your clutter conquering? Check out the Conquer Your Clutter super bundle with over 35 ebooks, courses and printable packs (including my own Home Organizing DIY Assessment Workbook). It’s a great way to jump start your de-cluttering.