Blog: Simplify Your Life
The First Step Toward Decluttering
Cleaning out your junk can be incredibly freeing -- but where do you start? There's so much to do!! Before we talk in detail about "de-cluttering," let's take a minute to look at the bigger picture. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow when you begin cleaning out -- either at home or at the office.
Have A Plan Of Attack
Begin working in the area that is the biggest thorn in your side -- the part of your home or office that causes you the most agony. Even if every area of your life feels cluttered, it's not hard to pinpoint your MOST frustrating organizing challenge. When you find yourself saying, day after day, "Man, I wish I could get my (bedroom, desk, storage closet whatever) straightened out. This mess is driving me crazy!" -- you know that's where you want to begin. Where is your greatest pain?
As you dig in, you're guaranteed to notice a few other spots that could use some organizing help too -- that's fine. Create a list of the areas you want to work on, in order of priority. Be sure to include a deadline for completing each project. This will help you focus on the big picture as you work your way through your home or office. It's much easier to stay on track if you have a specific timetable within which to work. Crossing tasks off of your "to-do list" as you finish them also reminds you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Don't feel overwhelmed -- you will get to all of your problem areas, in due time.
One Baby Step After Another
It's tempting to want to organize everything at the same time, but that's a surefire way to sabotage your efforts. Instead, start by tackling just one small area at a time -- a drawer, a cabinet, a shelf, a closet. Don't attempt to clean out the whole place at once. If you overdo it, chances are you will become frustrated and give up on the entire project. Set aside some time each week to work on a different area -- once you get started, you'll be surprised at how quickly the job goes.
Do your best to move systematically, finishing one area before you begin another. There is nothing more draining than finding yourself surrounded by a bunch of half-finished projects -- and it's even harder to find things if you have only organized part of your closet or cleaned out half of your filing system, while the other half is still a wreck.
Once you discover your own particular organizing style, you'll really be able to make some progress. Some people work best if they empty an entire storage area before organizing it. Others find that too overwhelming, and choose to tackle their clutter one item at a time. You need to decide for yourself which of these methods suits your personality best. But there is no "right" way -- only what's right for you. Remember, there are as many different ways to organize as there are people on the planet!
Call In The Troops
Organizing is hard work -- and it's going to take a minute. So don't get frustrated with yourself if you can't tackle every pile of clutter in one weekend! And don't drive yourself until you drop -- cleaning out does not have to be painful. Just go at your own pace and cut yourself some slack if you aren't moving forward as quickly as you had hoped. Most importantly, be sure to reward yourself every time you finish a particularly challenging task -- even adults need "gold stars" (or a cappuccino or a movie or a soak in the tub) every now and then!
Don't be afraid to enlist a little help. If you can recruit some organizing "assistants" -- do it! This is a big job, and it will go a lot faster if you aren't all by your lonesome. Consider drafting your friends, family members, or co-workers -- put on some music, serve them pizza, and turn cleaning out into a party. Who said organizing has to be a chore?
You might even consider hiring a Professional Organizer to help you out -- sometimes it's good to have someone around who has no vested interest your "stuff" and can offer expert advice when you get stuck. Just be judicious about who you bring on board. If you what you need most is an objective opinion, your nosy mother-in-law may not be the best choice!
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posted on: 10/11/2011 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips
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Simplify Your Life
by Ramona Creel
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I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!
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