Most of us know that on some level we need to get organized. Trying to figure where to start, though, can stop most of us before we even begin! According to this article in Psychology Today, this is typically due to mindset. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of an organization project or discouraged by previous attempts, I’m here to tell you that it is entirely possible to get it done.
So to help you overcome these mental blocks, I’m going to run through a list of how to start getting organized. I will also look at why starting in these different areas will overcome the common speed bumps that slow down your organization game.
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Before I jump in, though, I want to give a quick refresher on organization. If there is a lot of stuff in a room that you need to work with, the first thing you will want to do is go through everything and know what all you have. Then you get rid of those things that you don’t need to keep (whether you aren’t going to keep them in that room or you’re getting rid of them altogether). And then you find a home for everything—which simply means to make sure that every item you are going to keep in that room or area has an assigned or set place to be put away.
To help you work through all the stuff, I’ve created a home storage log worksheet. In it, you can log everything in the room, decide if you are going to keep it, move it to another room or area, or discard it. You can also use the worksheet to determine if you are going to store each item in those areas you can easily access or in storage. So make sure you grab a copy here!
The bedroom may seem like an odd place to start to get organized, but hear me out. When you wake up and open your eyes, those first few minutes set the tone for your whole day. If you wake up in a room that is disorganized, it’s going to give you anxiety.
The room may be clean. And it may be picked up. But if you have to spend any amount of time looking for something, then it isn’t organized.
So one of the easiest ways to get started in the bedroom would be to think about the different things you use. Anything that you will need to have easy access to should be in areas that you can easily access. Whether that’s your nightstand, dresser, or vanity, only store items there that you use regularly.
Then think about those things that you use somewhat regularly. These items should be in the available storage areas. These areas could be drawers that you can reach easily, decorative boxes that you have sitting out. Think of places that you can get to with minimal effort, but aren’t those places that you have immediate access to.
Next, you will want to think about those things that you don’t use often but want to hold onto. These items should be stored in the inconvenient, hard to get to places, such as high closets and trunks.
The point is to recognize how often you use something and to then find a home for it based on the above prerequisites. And as long as everything has a home, then it can easily be put away. If something doesn’t have a home after this process, you should consider getting rid of it.
If you want to go more in depth here, check out what professional organizer Debbie Stanley calls the 5 Zones of Operation over at her website, Debbie Stanley’s Thought in Order.
The Living Room
If the disorganization in your home is affecting other people, it may be best to start in a family room, such as the living room.
When you are organizing an area that multiple people use, you want to apply the same principles outlined above, but expand it to everyone who will use the space.
So if you have a certain chair you sit in, you will want those items that you use most frequently while in that chair stored around the chair. If your spouse has their own chair, keep the things they often use near their chair. If your kids have a small play area in the room, store the toys that they regularly play with in that area.
Then work outwards from there. If you like to read while sitting in that chair, you don’t want your books taking up the valuable real estate within arm’s reach, but having a bookshelf in the room to easily grab a book from makes sense.
If there are certain toys that your kids play with some of the time, they should be put away in a place that they can easily get them, but not hanging out on the couch around the clock.
Again, the point is to make sure that every single item has a home to be put away in so that the room stays organized.
The Area That Causes the Most Stress or Frustration
Perhaps the best place to start is an area or room of your home that is just stressing you out. Whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom, mud room, or office, take a minute to pinpoint which area of your house causes you the most anxiety. While it may be easier to start somewhere else, by tackling this room first, you will feel so much better!
Also, once you start to see some progress in the area that has been causing you stress, you will be encouraged to keep going!
You will want to follow the same steps that I outlined above. Determine the areas in that room where you or someone else spends the majority of their time and then create the areas of easy access from there.
The First Place You See When You Get Home
If you feel stressed the minute you walk in the house, you may want to take a look at where you come in. Whether it’s the front door, a side door, or through the garage, if it’s a disorganized mess, it’s going to stress you out!
An area like this more than likely isn’t going to have those common areas where you frequently sit or hang out.
What you might want to do to start in an area like this is to determine the different dump zones. Then, decide what you can do to make it easier for everyone just to stop throwing their stuff there. Adding extra hooks for bags and coats as well as shoe racks can be an easy fix.
If you have a kid who won’t use the hooks you already have, maybe put a big basket right where their stuff ends up.
I go through more ideas for addressing dump zones here, so check that out if you need to get more creative!
A Few Tips
Now, if the different approaches that I laid above aren’t able to get you started, here are a few other things you can try:
- Pick a starting place in the room and work clockwise. You can do this to go through the different things in the room, or even to pinpoint the different areas to start. It allows you to go through the room or area in an organized way and helps to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
- When you are trying to decide where to put something (where its home is), put similar things together.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect! Don’t waste time trying to decide on the specific items that need to be kept in your nightstand or top desk drawer. If you decide you need something more often than you realized after you’re done organizing, just more it into those easiest access areas and give it a new home.
I hope the different tips and tricks I went through have helped you identify an area of your home to start the organizing process. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, but it’s so worth it once you’re done!
If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed in your home, you need to come up with a way to fix it. If you anything clarified, leave a comment here, reach out on social media, or email me at email@example.com and I will do my best to answer your questions or refer you to material that may help.
If you think that you need to hire a professional organizer to help you through this process, you can read more on that at OrganizedFixology.com. A professional will walk you through the process of becoming organized, work with you to develop systems to maintain that organization, and teach you how to organize your home going forward.
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