I love to clean, file, purge, fold, re-organize and create more space in our home. My mind thrives in order and if things aren’t in place, I feel as if I’m not in MY place: my happy, calm and peaceful place, that is.
(As I’m typing this and walking through in my mind how I organize, I realize my heart flutters a bit more and races when my house is not in order. Anxiety over disorder? I suspect so!)
So it’s inevitable that during the Christmas and New Year season you will find me reorganizing shelves, taking everything out of drawers or closets and making it all look nice again. Maybe even re-doing something I just did so it fits better!
In order to be successful and get into the “mood of organizing,” the following are a few steps I take to begin (and stay on) any organizing task!
1. Set the Mood / Atmosphere!
Why is this important? I need to be mentally ready, interested, focused and determined to begin something or there is a high probability it will not get completed! I can’t just start something on a whim (sometimes it takes me days or weeks to get my head around organizing – what takes me from thought to action is when I “just can’t take it anymore!”). I have to be in the right mood and this begins with getting my atmosphere ready.
What’s my atmosphere, you may ask?
A cup of hot green tea, TV (hardly even watch it, just listen) or Alexa playing music in the background. Or maybe I listen to a podcast… depends on the location of the room and the length of the task.
2. Tools, Glorious Tools!
I always, always, ALWAYS ensure I have all the tools I need before I even begin my organizing.
Tools? Yes, tools. People with ADHD often start in the middle of a project without thinking through what they’ll need to complete the task at hand.
And when the tools are not in place, the ADHD brain shuts down because the task at hand is too hard and long and they don’t know where to begin. (True? Lightbulb moment here? Did you just have an “A-HA” moment?)
Therefore, offices have even more piles on them, kitchens are aghast with containers covering the countertop, and closets are jammed and crammed, with nowhere to throw anything accept on top of the heaping pile of clothes already there! (I won’t even address playrooms!)
The result: very little gets accomplished when it needs to.
So in order to begin a project, you must think through ALL you’ll need to complete the project.
Things like: Plastic bags for trash, files, folders, tabs, pens, pencils, hangers, paper, boxes, containers, stamps, iron, folding table, tape, etc.
And yes, that may mean you need to take a quick run to Staples or Walmart or Target or The Container Store (my bff!) for supplies! But do not let that deter you! Once all the tools are in place, you will be good to go and you won’t have an excuse to not get it done!
3. Break it down!
Some organizing tasks take time and can be overwhelming. Things like your dining room covered with bills needing to be sorted and filed and left there for days on end. Or a kitchen that has all the plastic containers out of the drawers because you cannot find the lids!!!
To tackle these tasks, break them down and take small piles at a time. Set reasonable and attainable stopping points so you don’t become weary and not complete all the filing. Use timers if you have to!
Figure out what is YOUR way to best accomplish the task from beginning to end!
4. The End Game!
Taking the mindset that for everything there is a beginning, a middle and an end — what is your end game?
Maybe you just want to organize your papers and put them in piles. Maybe the end game is to put all the papers away in a file cabinet. Maybe your end game is to just hang clothing instead of folding them. Know your end game and this will make the task at hand attainable!
Bonus: 5 Questions About Stuff in Your Space
Often one of the things that stop us from successfully organizing our SPACE is feeling overwhelmed with what to do with all the STUFF.
Now if you signed up for my Holiday Survival Guide last month, you know I break my thought process down into questions and bullet points as this is how my mind functions.
So, in staying with true Kelly fashion, when I organize, I look at the whole space and ask myself a few questions:
What is used most often? (think accessibility)
What will fit here the best? (think best use of space)
Can I condense something? (think add more space)
What is the best use of this drawer, cabinet and shelf? (think functionality)
How much time am I committing to this and what can I reasonably get accomplished? (think succeed and complete project)