As ironic as it sounds, but in order to start organising, you have to get yourself organised! What do I mean by this? Let me paint you a picture…
You decide one Saturday morning to organise your paperwork. You’re delighted, hubby has taken the kids to the zoo so you have all morning to yourself. You’ve been looking at this paper for weeks on end, and you’re sure that the cheque you’re missing is in here somewhere. You feel totally overwhelmed by all the paper and you’re dreading the idea of sorting it. But, you pull out a bundle of paper and you get stuck in.
Five minutes in, you realise you need your stapler. Up you jump, grab your stapler and resume your work. But hang on, your pen has just run out of ink, you run off to get a new one. Back at the desk, you keep going. The paper you’re throwing out is falling on the floor and it’s causing a mess. This is distracting and frustrating. If you don’t clear it up now, you’ll only have to do it later. So you get up and get a plastic bag and clean up the paper off the floor. That’s better.
You check your watch, twenty minutes gone and you’ve only looked at a handful of paper. God this is so boring! You persevere. Your categories are emerging but you’ve left your folder in the next room. But it’s not where you thought it was. You search for it and in spite of wasting time doing that, you never retrieve it. Now you can’t file anything properly. And there’s the phone ringing! You swore you wouldn’t get distracted, but if you can’t file properly now anyway, what’s the point in continuing. You decide to take the call and promise yourself to get back to it later.
But later never arrives. The kids arrive back and the paper is left to one side yet again and continues to build every single day as paper tends to do.
Does this sound like you? When you organise, do you get easily distracted? Do you get frustrated and bored? Do you end up with a bigger mess than you started with?
Well, let me give you a few tips that will help you get started on organising anything!
1. ALWAYS BE PREPARED:
Now, when you decide to organise anything – paper, a wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, wiring, photos, you need to do a bit of prep first. Think of it like cooking. You always make sure you have all your ingredients before you start cooking or baking. Similarly with organising, you need some aides with you to help.
You have to think of what you will need to get the work done and get that prepared first before you start anything. It will only take five minutes to grab the things you need but it will save you a lot of time, effort and frustration!
In general what you will need for every organising session is:
- Large clean space to spread out and work on
- Black marker
- Post-its notes/ blank paper
- Plastic bags/ cardboard boxes
- Polish, clothes, wipes
- Cup of tea
- Clock/ timer
With paper, you might need to add the following:
- Your filing system – lever arch folders/ drop down files/ filing cabinet
With the wardrobe you might need to add:
- Selection of hangers
- Iron & ironing board
If you’re prepared in advance, and have everything to hand, you can focus and get down to the job in hand without getting distracted.
2. CLEANING UP BEFORE CLEARING OUT
Organising can be a messy affair! I often tell my clients that the area might get worse before it gets better. You are, after all, about to pull out a load of things you’ve avoided looking at for some time so this in itself will cause a mess.
You haven’t wanted to deal with this clutter and now, we are not only going to deal with it, but, we’ll be finding things a new home, so it’s going to involve moving them around a bit.
In order to reduce the mess, I always encourage people to do a surface clean before you start organising. A ‘surface clean’ is a quick clear up of the space. So in the kitchen, clean down the counters, wash the dishes, brush the floor. For the wardrobe, make the bed, open the curtains, put away any clothes (yes, even if you are going to take them out again in a minute!)
When an area is generally clean it is easier to organise the area. Organising is what I call a ‘deep clean’. And it is much easier to do once you’ve done a ‘surface clean’ first. Always start you’re organising session with a clean room!
3. WATCH THE TIME:
Every time you organise, always set a time limit on it.
Instead of dreading the enormity of the task ahead with a time limit, you know you only have to organise for an hour (or however long you decide to do) and then you can stop. It’s a more realistic goal and will make you feel better. Even if you don’t get the whole wardrobe organised in one hour, you will still have done a whole hour of de-cluttering. It’s looking at the positive rather than the negative!
As I said above, organising can cause a bit of a mess. It can also cause tiredness. And when we’re tired, we don’t want to have to face into clearing-up the mess that’s just been created. So make sure that the time you allocate to organise includes time to clean up at the end. So, for one hour’s work, you will organise for forty minutes and clean-up for twenty. If you do thirty minutes work, you will organise for twenty and clean-up for ten etc.
This means that when you get to the end of your organising session, your room is back to how it was when you began. There’s nothing extra you still have to do and you can go and relax!
4. MAKE IT ENJOYABLE:
To make de-cluttering and re-organising your home a bit more enjoyable, there are some small things you can do. Put on some music or the radio. Have a cup of tea as you work.
And remember to reward yourself at the end. Go for a walk, have a nice lunch, phone a friend. Like with allocating a time limit on the organising, having something nice lined up for when you’re done, will make the process a bit easier and more manageable as this keep the end in sight as you focus on the job in hand.
What do you find most difficult about getting organised? Do you give up almost as soon as you start? Or does the enormity of the job at hand, stop you getting started at all?
Let us know in the comments – click the speech bubble above!