Updated: Aug 25
Have you ever tried to kick start a home organization project and found yourself stumped on where to begin? You found yourself with a bad case of decision overload? Or you just didn’t have a clue on how to get started?
Choosing to clear the clutter is much easier than actually making a change. You see, getting started…… that is the toughest part. The rest is easy. When you switch the momentum in your favor, you can accomplish anything. But getting the motivation to begin is often the toughest part.
As a professional organizer, there are a few tried and true tools I use to get the decluttering ball rolling. They actually are ridiculously easy while at the same time hard to implement. The trick is to have a well thought-out game plan that includes these steps before you even get started.
Read on to learn five ways to jump start your home organization project!
1. Start with the Monkey on Your Back
What’s the most irritating clutter in your home? What’s the most annoying? I often suggest that homeowners take time to consider their own proverbial “monkey on their back” and then start there. By working on the stuff that is the most aggravating, we receive an instant satisfaction and boost to our determination to finish more.
Start by asking yourself this question: “What bothers me most in my house?” Your answer is where you should begin. Whether the area is simple or difficult, beginning with the tough stuff will give you the momentum to tackle the rest.
2. Set Up Your Boxes
One of the most basic rules when decluttering is to have three boxes on hand: one designated for KEEP items, one for DONATE items, and one for TRANSIT (stuff that needs to go to their home such as library books or borrowed things). You need to have these in place before you get started.
Why is this tool so essential? Setting up these three boxes will give you a place to put your stuff. There is nothing more defeating to a home organization project than shuffling things from one spot to the next. With the use of these containers, we have a clear, defined space to start the sorting process.
3. Enlist the Help of Loved Ones
Trying to start a home organization project on your own is never a good idea. While it may be difficult to ask for help, this can be one of the best ways to push yourself to get started. When you are ready to start tackling the clutter, enlist the help of loved ones right away.
By asking for help you will not only share the load with someone else (which can speed up the process in and of itself) but you will also create outside accountability. This accountability can be just what’s necessary to ensure you not only start your project but also finish it.
4. Take Before Pictures
Let’s be real. It’s not hard to ignore how bad the clutter pile has gotten. When we see it every day, it’s easy for us to become desensitized to the magnitude of the disorganization. One of the best reality checks can be a quick snapshot of the space.
Taking “before” photos of your home forces you to examine it from the perspective of an outsider. What you typically brush aside during the daily grind will shine front and center in the photo. Plus this tool can be a great measuring stick for comparison when the project is complete. It’s never easy to face the truth, but looking at it square in the eye is a necessary first step.
5. Clear the Obvious
Have you ever attempted to declutter and then found yourself just staring at the stuff dumbfounded on where to start? This is a clear sign of overwhelm. And overwhelm can grind any decluttering project to a complete standstill. To push past this, start by clearing the obvious….. aka garbage.
A great way to begin a home organization project is to start filling trash bags. This is a smart first step for a couple reasons. First, it is easy to decipher what garbage is. There usually isn’t too much room for speculation. Second, clearing out trash is often less emotional than more personal items. It’s the low-hanging fruit that you can quickly snatch from. And once you fill bag after bag, you will have a sense of accomplishment that will propel you forward to the next step.
Let me encourage you once again. Getting started in clearing out the clutter is the HARDEST step. If you can get past this, you are sure to accomplish everything you have set out to do. Use any or all of these five tools to overcome the stress and paralysis than can stop a project before it even gets started.
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