Wednesday, October 29, 2008

30-Day Organizing Challenge: Day 2

Today's goal: Face your overwhelm.

Those of you who asked for help with overwhelm and getting started: This post is for you. It's a guest post from the fabulous June Bell, a professional organizer and family coach who helps individuals and families make the best use of their time, space and place. She welcomes follow-up questions and comments at junebell at me dot com, or leave comments here.

Hi to everyone who’s in the process of getting things in order. I’m a colleague of Heather’s and a professional organizer who will hold your (virtual) hand as you start on the road to a more functional space, whether it’s a wallet or a home office.

Getting your chaos under control can be daunting. You can spend a lot of time psyching yourself out by agonizing: Where do I put all this stuff? What should I keep? What if I need what I throw out? Where the heck do I start?

No wonder so many of us live amid clutter, even as we talk about how much we hate it. For many people, complaining about mess is much less stressful than doing something about it.

In this post, I’ll ease you into organizing with a few small steps that will produce tangible, inspiring results:

Schedule. Set aside an hour when you know you won’t be interrupted and feel most alert and focused.

Start small. Choose a contained space such as a makeup bag, handbag or wallet, pencil/pen holder, kitchen “junk drawer” or your underwear or sock drawer. I’ve been working with a client who’s learning to organize her entire home. We started with a coffee table because she sees each time she enters or leaves the house, and having it clear affirmed to her that she could beat her clutter.

Remove all the contents from your targeted space and dust or wipe out your container. Now, examine the contents.

 Ask yourself: What do I need and use most often? Retrieve those items and put them back. If you’re organizing your wallet, for example, you’d need cash, your driver’s license, credit, ATM and insurance cards and maybe a work ID or a special photo.

Lighten up. Weed out clutter – old receipts and empty tubes of lipstick, old business cards and dry pens. Do you really need five photos of your nieces? A first-aid kit? A Matchbox car?

Tweak. You may discover that you need a place in your purse for receipts. Add an envelope to hold them, or designate a pocket of your handbag. If you’re always hunting for a screwdriver to fix a kitchen cabinet, consider moving it from the tool shed to the kitchen drawer.

Appreciate your work. Admire your lighter handbag. Note how much more easily you can find your keys and your sunglasses. By organizing one small space, you’ve given yourself a taste of success. If you like how you feel, why not tackle another drawer?

If you feel uneasy about letting go, my next post is especially for you.


Erin said...

This helps a lot! Especially when you set a series of small goals for yourself to ultimately reach a bigger one...psychologically it's much more doable than redoing the whole house... I look forward to the next post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for breaking the process down into manageable steps!