Organizing your home and all of its possessions is an invaluable life skill, yet it is never taught it school. There are a handful of people that seem to be born with natural skills, but what does that mean for the rest of us? It means we need to learn how to develop our own “organizer” skills.
I like to think of organization skill building like a sport. It’s an ability that takes time, practice, and can require coaching from a professional. If you were trying a new athletic endeavor such as swimming, your first step would not be to jump into the deep end or sign up for the Olympics. Most people would drown. We all start swimming in the shallow end with a bit of a doggie paddle and some breathing exercises and work our way up from there. And most of us would hire an instructor or coach to help us improve. As you develop skills, you build confidence, drive, and momentum. Success breeds success.
So with that in mind, when organizing your home, it is best not to start with the most difficult, emotionally tasking projects (such as decades of photos and family memorabilia – the Olympics of decluttering). Instead, choose a small drawer in your kitchen or bathroom, then work up to a hall closet or pantry. Build upon each success as you improve your skills and your confidence to minimize being overwhelmed. Remember, if this were a sport you would develop your muscle tone before you get to the heavy lifting.
Start by setting attainable goals, like ten minutes of organizing each day (sort a sock drawer, clear a entry table, or hang a key rack), rather than trying to plan huge projects that you might never get around to (mostly likely because it’s just too overwhelming). Once you have a successful ten minutes, you often end up doing more because the achievement is so energizing. Getting back to that swimmer, a beginning swimmer wouldn’t start out swimming 100 laps, they might start with just a few.
My last piece of advice is to ask for help. Having a friend, or even better, a professional organizer, on hand to provide motivation, energy, and dedicated time, will not only invigorate your project but it will keep your efforts focused and on task so the job get done in half the time, and it’s just more fun with support.