Do’s and Don’ts of Organizing

                                          DO ORGANIZE

                                    DON’T AGONIZE

Have you found yourself getting frustrated at your seeming lack of ability to get organized? Are you wondering if there might be a better way to go about getting your home organized? Fear not! We have a few tips for you that can help you avoid, or minimize, some of the pitfalls.

1. DON’T try to do it all in one day!

It is very easy to think we need to get it all done in one day. The reality is that our homes don’t get cluttered in one day and it takes more than one day to get it decluttered and organized. So do yourself a favor and don’t try to do everything in one day.

DO look realistically at your existing commitments and schedule.

Once you know what you’ve already got on your schedule, do schedule time each day, or as many days in a week as you can to begin the decluttering and organizing process.

2. DON’T try to organize clutter!

If you try organizing clutter, you’ll only get discouraged and give up. You end up moving stuff from one place in your home to another. Or, you end up with a room or a closet or more stuffed to the rafters with ‘stuff.’ The rest of your house may look great, but the reality is a bit different.

DO spend the time decluttering first.

You can donate items to charity, or have a garage sale and sell the excess. Keep only those things that you love and use, and that add value to your life. Let the rest go to benefit someone else.

3. DON’T work randomly.

Working randomly means you start and stop. It means you get sidetracked. It means you’re less likely to be able to actually complete what you start out to do. This way of working; rather than being conducive to successful organizing is more likely to get discouraging because it takes twice as long to reach your goals.

DO work with a plan.

There are three main tools you need to work successfully–a plan, 3 boxes and scheduled time. Your plan consists of your overall strategy, including your list of what you want to accomplish. The three boxes should be labeled as follows: one box for donations, one box for keep and one box for trash. Work for the amount of time you have available on your schedule and follow your plan. Don’t leave the room to put things elsewhere until you are finished for that day’s allotment of time.

4. DON’T get discouraged if it looks worse before it looks better.

For a while it will. Remember, you’re making separate `piles’. The keep pile, the donate/sell pile and the trash pile. Don’t let the extra mess discourage you. It’s progress!

DO take encouragement from the way your different boxes are filling up.

To help keep the piles a bit smaller, at the end of the day, or even at the end of the week, take your donation items to your charity of choice. Also, take your trash out to the trash can. It will help keep the mess down a bit and also help you to see progress as you work your way around the room.

5. DON’T try to work the whole room at once.

Just like trying to schedule a marathon session for your whole house can be overwhelming. Trying to do an entire room at once can be overwhelming too. But it doesn’t have to be.

DO divide the room up into quadrants and work in one quadrant at a time.

When you finish it move on to the next quadrant. This make the decluttering and follow-on organizing much more manageable.

6. DON’T rush out to buy any containers first.

That’s usually our first temptation–to run out and buy containers to organize with. But, to do that before you finish decluttering just adds more clutter to your home!

DO complete your decluttering before you buy any containers.

Once you have finished decluttering, then you know exactly what kind of storage, if any, that you really need.

7. DON’T go it alone.

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting the organizing battle alone? You shouldn’t take on the entire project alone. Chances are, there are things your family can do to aid in the decluttering and organizing.

DO enlist the family.

Children are often eager to help, especially with incentive: more time with Mom; keeping the money their clutter sells for at a garage sale, etc. Hold a family meeting and explain what you would like to accomplish and how they can help.

8. DON’T declutter your spouse’s stuff for them.

Sometimes it can take time for our spouses to agree that their stuff needs to be decluttered too. The less you try to force them into decluttering, the better.

DO concentrate on your own stuff first.

It almost always happens that our spouses see how much easier it is for us to find things of ours and they want the same thing for themselves. If you declutter your stuff first without trying to get them to do the same, they often come around.

9. DON’T add any clutter back once you begin to declutter.

If you continue to add clutter while you are trying to declutter, you’re setting yourself up to try to climb and re-climb a mountain of clutter. Instead of adding to the clutter!

DO declare a war on new clutter.

This means simply that you add nothing more than consumables (food, drink, toiletries, etc) until you have your clutter under control. Be sure to check your consumable supplies first before going out to buy more. You don’t want to duplicate what you already have.

10. DON’T let it get away from you again.

So many times we work hard to get rid of clutter, then let it build back up again. This can happen so easily and quickly! Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are building clutter again. So how do we maintain our decluttered state?

DO organize in a way that works for you.

If it doesn’t work for you, you won’t use it. Then, to maintain your decluttered and organized home, make a rule for you and your family. The rule is: One in – One out. Simple, but it goes a long way towards minimizing a return of clutter. How does it work? For every one item you bring into the house, at least one item goes out to charity or trash or a sale box in your garage. Follow through and you will stay organized and clutter free.

Linda Clevenger