The purging and organizing process can be overwhelming, really overwhelming at times!
You start in one room, only to find things that belong in another room but when you go to put the items away – there is no space to do so – then what?
You find a wine opener. You know you have another one, two, maybe three… but you don’t know where they are so now what? Do you toss the one in your hand or hold onto it because you know you are going to start drinking any moment due to the stress of whole situation… (tuck it in your pocket :))
Whether you are organizing your filing cabinet or kitchen, when we start organizing, one question leads to another and then another and another… the relentless decision making process is enough to throw you into paralysis pretty quickly.
There are steps you can take to make this process much easier and more effective…
First, here are 5 tips to set you up to sort external stuff:
- Choose one area at a time to focus on and bring it to completion! It is really important to continue to go back to your original area of focus. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating more chaos by starting but not completing different areas. Even if it’s a drawer at a time. Make your goal to complete one area at a time!
- Realistically schedule your time. It’s going to take longer than you think! Block out chunks of time to focus on organizing.
- Get necessary supplies – boxes, binders, label maker, file folders to help you get rid of stuff but don’t go overboard. Wait until you have cleared that 80% of what you don’t use to buy “organizing products” because there is a good chance you won’t have anything to put in them once you are finished
- Create a sorting station in an area that you do not regularly use like the corner of a room, spare room or garage. Set up the following:
- Action items – any item that requires action, returned items, repair etc.
- Keep but needs new home – this is your “holding” box for items that don’t have a new home yet but need a place to stay while you clear the space.
- Trash, recycle, donate boxes and bags – you’ll be surprised at how quickly they fill up!
- “To revisit or maybe” box – it is very important not to get stuck – to keep the clearing flow going. Create a place to put items that you are unable to make a decision on now. You will be surprised at how easy that decision comes, when you go back to it.
- 5. Give yourself an out– if you need a break, take one! Observe what your threshold is. Some people are able to organize for hours, others it’s for 20 minutes at a time. Honour what your rhythm is and plan accordingly. Also remember that “what” you are organizing will have an impact on this. One file folder of sensitive papers may take just as long as an entire bathroom.
- Next, here is your five step system for organizing your stuff:
- Collect all similar items in one place. You need to be able to assess what you actually have. Example: collect all footwear
- Sort the similar items. Don’t make decisions, just collect it all. Example: sort footwear into boots and shoes
- Purge the items that you no longer need. “If you don’t love it or use it – lose it!” Example: stilettos from the 90’s
- Categorize what is left. Example: by season
- Position where the items are going to go. Example: winter boots in a tub, spring and summer shoes in the closet by color
Finally, here are 3 key questions to ask yourself:
- Does it serve me and is it genuinely useful?
- Do I love it?
- Does it support who I am today and life me up into who I want to be tomorrow? (or does it keep me stuck in yesterday)
“Healing is not forcing the sun to shine, but letting go of that which blocks the light.”
~ Stephen and Ondrea Levine