1. Schedule organizing time into your calendar. Otherwise you'll always find something to distract you.
2. Choose a small space to start with first before you tackle a big organizing project. You'll get the feel of the process, a sense of accomplishment and motivation without getting overwhelmed and discouraged.
3. Be prepared by having the following items on hand:
- garbage bag
- recycling bag (plus a bin for electronic waste, shredding, batteries, household hazardous waste and so on if applicable to the space you are tackling)
- bins or boxes for donations, belongs elsewhere items, and items to be returned to others or to the store
- sorting bins or boxes to contain the piles you'll make
- post it notes
Sort - categorize like with like
Purge - get rid of anything you no longer need
Assign a Home - stand back and design a plan for where items will belong
Containerize - use baskets/bins to help hold everything and to set zones and limits of categories
Equalize - label, tweak what you've done and maintain the systems you've set up
5. Don't get stuck! Make a "I don't know" pile if you are having a hard time deciding what to do with an item or experiencing difficulty in letting it go. Continue with the organizing process and come back to it later. Most often than not, the answers will come more easily later in your session. And if they don't, here is a list of good reasons and not so good reasons for keeping things:
Good Reasons - Keep It
- You love it
- You need it - you wear it or use it regularly
- It fits into your vision for that space (Your vision for the master bedroom, for example, could be one of romantic, calm and restorative. Therefore you know the pile of laundry, children's toys and laptop should probably not be kept but the chaise lounge, candle collection and extra cushions can stay).
- You paid a lot of $ for it
- You are keeping it out of obligation or guilt
- It could be handy someday
- You may refer back to it
- You are keeping duplicate items in case the first one breaks or is lost (this is a tricky one - be realistic if you would just go out and purchase a new item forgetting you have extra at home)
- It is expired but it is still okay (another tricky one - be reasonable if something is out of date or out of style)
- I'll get a storage locker to house it
- I'll need that in the Zombie Apocalypse ;)
6. Be easy on yourself. If all else fails, hire a professional organizer. If you have purchased the how-to organizing books, read the blogs and clipped out magazine articles but are still not making sufficient progress (and remember - progress is better than perfection!) then do an internet search for your local professional home organizer and ask for a free consultation. Find a good fit for you, your lifestyle and your budget and consider it an investment in your peace of mind. If you're in Calgary we would be happy to meet you, so please reach us here anytime or like our facebook page here.
All the best in your efforts to live more simply and consciously!
From your Calgary professional home organizer.