As a Professional Organizer I get great satisfaction from 2 things…helping clients to make decisions that enable them to clear clutter, and the reactions and comments that they offer afterwards! “Wow, I didn’t realize how spacious this could be, it looks so much bigger now!” Often, the client wants to clean the space, first. The use of touch and motion when dusting, polishing or vacuuming is comparable to a loving hug for the space or area. Decorating the space or area with aesthetically and emotionally pleasing items is another way to honor the space. Placing just a few special things in the cleared space is so attractive now that the client is more likely to maintain their new organizing habits to keep the space clear. Putting out items that have been stored is another creative way of celebrating the open area; it’s like shopping in your own home! Every couple of months you can rotate items from storage to keep it fresh. During the process of sorting, de-cluttering, and deciding what to keep you identify what is useful and what you still love. Using or displaying the item you keep is the ultimate way to honor and celebrate cleared space. Enjoy!
It’s not uncommon when someone calls me and says that they spent a lot of time organizing and clearing out their space and within a short amount of time, the sense of being disorganized returns. I call that “yo-yo organizing”! How frustrating when you set aside time, sort things, purge items, buy bins and containers, and then wonder what did you do wrong? Okay, take a deep breath and realize that you probably didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe it’s time to put away the yo-yo, and try something different. Here are 3 strategies to consider today: Create a systems approach – a regular schedule of organizing tasks to keep you maintained. This is more realistic than binge organizing! Hire a Professional Organizer, and Time Management Coach to be your Accountability Partner. Reward yourself for a task well done!
How to declutter spaces How to declutter spaces? As a Personal Professional Organizer my job is two-fold: First, to ask the “right” questions so that you can make the decisions. Second, is to help you to clarify your vision for the space. Every space needs to reflect how you will use it (function, supplies, storage) so that you can enjoy it (people). Save the aesthetics and decorating for after you declutter and organize the space. How to declutter spaces – Questions to ask yourself: Whenever you get started with organizing a specific area ask yourself declutter questions: Function – What is this space to be used for? What specific function(s) do you want the space to satisfy? For example, is your kitchen for entertaining, cooking and dining? Do you also want the kitchen to be your home office? Now, look around you to see if the space reflects that purpose(s)? Purge anything in the space that does not serve it’s function. Supplies – What do I need to have readily available in this space? List the items that you will need for efficient use of the space including furniture, equipment, or supplies. Find another location for anything that doesn’t belong there. Here are some great ideas in a video that you can use for organizing your makeup in the bathroom: Video People – Who else beside yourself, will use this space? Is the space shared by others? Do you have visitors or clients who will be in this space? You want to be sure to have all parties feel comfortable and have what they need in the space. Storage – Where do items need to be used, and how frequently? What the best types of storage containers that you will need for specific items. The answers will guide you in… read more →
Steven Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” tells us to begin with the end in mind. That principle applies to organizing as well. At Outside In Organizer and Makeovers I want others to make being organized a way of life rather than just a single project. Here’s how: Know what your goal looks like. If it’s meeting deadlines, that means your schedule includes time to work on the item before its due date. If it is organizing your kitchen, it means that each storage space will be designated for specific items. If your goal is organizing your wardrobe, you will identify your style before you begin the process to help you know what is aligned with that style (keep it) and what is not (let it go). Create “optimal habits” for organizing on a daily basis. Organizing is an ongoing process, a series of behaviors. In order to create any habit it takes motivation, practice, and positive reinforcement over a sustained period of time. Try to organize something small each day to get into that mind and action set. We all have off days, if you find that happens, just start again but you don’t have to give up. Starting small and being consistent means greater success. Recruit or hire an accountability partner. Organizing is similar to other processes involving changed behavior. That’s why we hire therapists, personal trainers, and professional organizers! No one ever said you had to do it yourself. Asking for help getting started is empowering. Checking in with a trusted friend or professional keeps us on track and highly motivated. If you want to succeed, build your team!
One of the things I love about my work is that there is always a new “problem” to solve! When you come across a stash of batteries and aren’t sure if they’re good anymore, here is a great way to check: Another tip: Take the dead batteries to a recycling center that accepts them. Locally, I suggest the public library where they have a container.
Create an end of school year ritual and purge the backpack. No matter what the student’s age you can get him or her involved as well. Have the student take everything out and place it on a cleared surface. Have him/her identify what can be discarded or recycled. Help him/her identify what can be donated to an organization or camp. Help him/her identify what to keep (it’s okay to ask “what will you use it for?”). Art work – have him/her keep the favorites to either frame, put into a scrapbook, or scan and save in a file!
Do you wish that you had more space? What would that look like? If you want more space without moving there are ways that you can achieve that. Remember that space includes all surfaces – under furniture, walls, the back of a door, etc. Having less things visible creates the image of having more space because it is open. Containing items in decorative bins and baskets minimizes visible clutter. Organize using the “1-at-a-time rule” and work in 1 area at a time. Declutter a space and then organize it. Put items back in their designated places.
Once you’ve cleared space you need the patience and discipline to practice your new habits. Otherwise, the space will collect clutter again. This is a common frustration, so here are some surefire organizing tips from the expert at Outside In Organizer and Makeovers! Outside In Tip #1: Allot time. After you are finished working in an area always leave yourself time to put items in their designated place. Outside In Tip #2: Regularly schedule time to purge piles and stacks. At the end or beginning of each month go through magazines, newspapers, clipping, etc. and discard/recycle anything from more than 2 months ago. Outside In Tip #3: Replace rather than add. Establish a realistic supply of items to keep. When you are down to a remaining 2-3 of those items you can replenish. This will minimize excess. Have patience with yourself during this process and know that some days, it will be easier to maintain your optimal organizing habits, more than other days! Think about your garden…it needs patience to flourish.
You have your vision of what you want your organized space to look like, right? You’ve gathered the tools that you need to implement your plan as well. Now it’s time to prepare the soil, so to speak. Set up some “ground rules” for yourself. I think that you will find these ideas helpful; then add your own! Rule #1 – Decide which space you are going to work in and stick to the “1-at-a-time rule”. You will get more done if you work in that 1 area rather than bouncing all over. Rule #2 – Set aside a realistic amount of time to work and use a timer. This is make your task manageable and prevent frustration and overwhelm. Example: If you are working in your garage, create quadrants and work in 1 quadrant for 2 hours. When the timer sounds, stop there and acknowledge your accomplishments. Remember, you don’t want try to do a 3 day job in 1 day, it’s a set up for failure. Rule #3 – Recruit help! You will get more done if you have help. Find a willing family member, a supportive friend, or hire a Professional Organizer. Your time is valuable so I encourage you to use it efficiently and get someone to help you.
Before you start digging in you need 2 things:A VISION and A PLAN. Ask yourself these questions: What do I want the space to look like when I’m finished? What steps will I need to take, and what resources will I need to have to get there? Similar to gardening, you want to have the resources and tools that you will need on hand before you start so that your workflow won’t be interrupted. Here is a list of general organizing items and tools that you might consider having available: 1. Containers and bags for donations, consignments, repairs, recycling, trash 2. Work gloves 3. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes 4. Cleaning supplies, clean rags, paper towels 5. Face mask 6. First aid kit 7. Plastic hanging file bin, hanging file folders, regular file folders, pens, markers, post-its 8. Step stool, ladder 9. Water to keep yourself hydrated 10. Small and medium size clear plastic containers for sorting and storage, labels