Do you feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting and staying organized? You’re not alone. Many people panic when faced with how much stuff they have. Here are some simple steps to get you started on the path to a more organized life.
1. Use The Organizational Triangle®
“One Home For Everything,” “Like With Like” and “Something In, Something Out” are the only rules you need to stick to. By giving everything one home and putting it back there when you’re finished, and grouping all like items together, you’ll solve 85 percent of your organizational challenges. The third leg of the triangle, “Something In, Something Out,” is all about having enough of everything that serves you and nothing that doesn’t.
2. Establish realistic goals
Before you begin organizing, sit down and write out your goals. Start with one or two large goals that you hope to accomplish by the end of your organizing. Maybe it’s personal, like feeling in control. Or, maybe it’s tangible, like being able to use your guest bedroom again. Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are 61 percent more likely to achieve them than people who don’t. Then, write smaller, weekly goals that will help you get to your ultimate goals.
3. Create an organizing schedule
Once you’ve started organizing, stick with it. Make an appointment with yourself to organize once a week for an hour and keep it. By breaking up your de-cluttering into smaller chunks of time, you’re making the process more manageable and less overwhelming.
4. Use a timer and a camera
When facing an organizing task that can’t be completed in one sitting, use a timer to create an end time. That way you define how long you’ll work and create a realistic expectation for what will get done. Working for the full amount of time becomes the goal, which anyone can accomplish. Never work for less than 15 minutes and always take a break after three hours.
Use the camera to take pictures of your progress so that you can look back and see how much you’ve accomplished.
5. Tackle the tough stuff
It may seem counter intuitive, but start organizing where you are feeling the greatest amount of anxiety or discomfort. You’ll experience the greatest relief there and be motivated to get the rest done.
Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life! and founder of Unstuff U®—the world’s first virtual personal organization training center. He can be found on the web at www.andrewmellen.com.
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