There is an ancient Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Organizing your entire house might seem as challenging as a thousand miles on foot, but with a decision to change, a vision, and a solid plan you’ll be on your way!
1. Recognize when you are ready – it’s a choice.
Living a more simplified life starts by acknowledging its time for change. If you have hit rock bottom with the clutter and chaos in your home and life, your first step to making a change to change.
2. Be prepared. Be patient. Be smart.
Before you begin the paring down and de-cluttering process in your home, be prepared to face emotional obstacles. Be patient with yourself on items that stir up memories, but be smart and don’t start with them. If you aren’t ready to face your memorabilia, but your kitchen is easy – start there. Remember success breeds success.
3. Be realistic.
Stacks, piles, and over-crowded areas of your home didn’t happen overnight and it won’t all go away overnight. Estimate how long you think an area will take and then time yourself. This will help you gauge future projects so you know how much time to schedule for yourself to start and finish an area of your home. Know going in, MOST projects are going to take much longer than you think!
4. Avoid Calendar Clutter.
There is a major external clutter in all our lives – our overcrowded calendars!
A lot of the clutter in your home and life can most likely be attributed to not leaving any time in your daily schedule for regular home organization maintenance. Set clear boundaries for yourself and your family in the new year to allow for more time to maintain the spaces.
5. Set weekly/monthly goals & appointments.
THIS IS KEY! With more time on your calendar to devote to your simplification process you will be need to hold yourself accountable to organizing your own life. Consider lining up donation pick-ups ahead of time so you have the extra motivation of a deadline.
6. Hold off on supplies.
Discovering what organizational supplies you will need is one of the last steps in the process. Save money and time by waiting until you know what you need. Unnecessary supplies can add to your frustration. Consider getting creative when using items you already have in your home to help you organize.
7. Maintenance – Routines are key.
Organizing is an on-going journey with a “Clutter Back Guarantee”. If you don’t work to maintain your spaces(s), the clutter will come back. Build in regular times to purge throughout the year: before and after holidays, birthdays and seasons are easy times of the year to make a pass of areas in your home.
8. Know when to ask for help.
If you become overwhelmed or do not feel like you are making much progress, call in a family member, friend or a professional for help.
Here’s a list of possibilities to spark your enthusiasm, focus on completing one area each month:
January: Desk/Home Office: Organize your finances before tax season officially begins.
February: Mudroom/Laundry Room: Start by pulling everything out. Decide what you are actually using in this space.
March: Clothing closets: Switch out your mismatch hangers to uniform hangers. As you swap hangers, decide if that article of clothing is really worth keeping.
April: Technology: Dedicate 15 minutes a day to purging old photos and emails.
May: Bathrooms: Use non-slip drawer dividers to keep like items together in bathroom drawers.
June: Photos/Memorabilia: Organize your photos by year or event. It’s time to chose the best masterpieces from the year and let the rest go.
July: Playroom: Work with your children to pare down and identify what they truly love and use.
August: Cabinets and Drawers: Use labels! Labels hold everyone in the family accountable to putting things away where they belong.
September: Garage: Set aside a full day. Divide items into 3 categories: Keep, Trash, Donate.
October: Kitchen: Clean out the old and expired items since the holidays are around the corner.
November: Attic/ Basement: Add shelving to create vertical space.
December: Bedrooms: Create a reading nook. Bedrooms should be a place that represents rest and calm.
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