Common Organizing Mistakes

Common Organizing Mistakes

As your San Diego Professional Organizer I can assure you that these 7 common organizing mistakes can be easily avoided:

  1. Buying organizing tools before you know what is needed.
  2. Mistaking containing items for decluttering and organizing items.
  3. Taking on too large a project; burnout.
  4. Underestimating how much time you need to organize.
  5. Trying to organize without help.
  6. Mistaking current financial worth based upon original cost.
  7. Letting “what if” concerns dominate decision making.

Common Organizing Mistakes #1: Buying organizing tools before you know what you need.

file folders

Organizing Tools (freedigitalphotos.net, sheelamohan)

Avoid buying bins, containers, file folders, furniture or leasing long term storage space before you go through the process of purging. Getting caught up in the smaller details before you go through the process of purging, sorting and containing can be costly and overwhelming. Work with broader categories first. Make temporary labels rather than taking the time to print labels. Create organizing systems and use them for at least 2 weeks before making significant changes.

Common Organizing Mistakes #2: Containing items before decluttering and sorting the items.

Purge items before you contain them. There is no sense organizing and putting items into files or bins if you are not going to need them. It’s likely that you will end up with usable folders and containers after you declutter. The perfect example of this is during a move. Take time before packing and moving to discard, recycle, donate and shred what you no longer need. Avoid unpacking unneeded items and wondering why you brought them with you. It’s wasted time, money, effort and space.

Common Organizing Mistakes #3: Taking on too large a project at one time.

The best way to avoid burnout and overwhelm is to break a large organizing project into smaller ones. Give yourself shorter amounts of time on a regular basis to get things done and feel a sense of accomplishment. For example, don’t try to organize your entire garage in 1 day (unless you have a team of helpers). Visualize the finished product and make a plan for how you want the garage space to be used. Create zones for different types of items and work on one zone at a time.

Common Organizing Mistakes #4: Underestimating how much time you need to organize.

Do you know how long will it take to organize a specific area such as your home office? Does that include horizontal surfaces, file folders, and the items in the drawers and cupboards? Being able to accurately organize specific spaces and types of items can help you to plan how much time to set aside and schedule accordingly. Make sure that your organizing goals are clear before you start. Set a timer to see how long certain tasks actually take you. Commit to working without unnecessary distractions and interruptions. Let non-urgent calls and texts wait. Avoid checking email and social media while you are organizing. Accurate time estimation is an important time management and organizing skill.

Common Organizing Mistakes #5: Trying to organize without help.

moving truck

Big Organizing Project (freedigitalphotos.net Stuart Miles)

Organizing projects are often more successful when you recruit help. A Professional Organizer can help you to be more efficient, stay on task, and enable you to make decisions more easily by asking you the right guiding questions. If you choose to recruit a family member or friend be sure that they will not judge or coerce you into getting rid of things. Once you decide to donate items be sure to take them away or have them picked up as soon as possible. If you have a lot of papers to be shred consider hiring a professional and secure shredding service. Don’t waste your time shredding every single paper yourself.

Common Organizing Mistakes #6: Overestimating financial worth of items based on original cost.

Another common organizing mistake is overpricing items you want to sell. It’s important to do your research before you set a price.. You can obtain valuation information on nonprofit websites to estimate your tax deductions. Check popular resale websites and consignment stores for how much items are listed and sold for. Sadly, many types of items do not appreciate in value and once you have this information you may decide that it is more expedient to donate than to try and resell.

Common Organizing Mistakes #7: Allowing “what if” concerns to dominate or stall decision making.

This common organizing mistake can cause you wasted time and emotional energy. Try to be as realistic and objective as you can when considering what to keep and what to let go of. If you find yourself asking a lot of “what if” questions you are problem struggling with some emotional attachment. “What if I gain (or lose) weight?” If you haven’t worn clothing of a certain size in at least a year, donate them. “What if my children want these?” Ask your children if they want the items and encourage them to be honest. “What if I give it away and then need it?” When was the last time that you used the item? How many of them do you already have? Again, be realistic with time frames and how easily you can replace the item if you do need it later.