No one is perfect, and eventually your organizing system will fall apart. How you respond when this happens, however, will determine how much anxiety, stress, and clutter paralysis you will feel.
Keep Things in Perspective:
- Failure only happens if you never recover. If your system falls to pieces but you eventually get things back in order, you simply learned a lesson. You only fail when you give up entirely and abandon all uncluttering and organizing efforts for the rest of your life. You’re not failing; you’re learning.
- Being organized takes practice. You wouldn’t play a musical instrument or a sport like a professional if you hadn’t put in hundreds of thousands of hours practicing, so don’t expect professional organizing results without years of practice.
- Who cares?! Unless your health or welfare are at risk, being disorganized is not the worst thing in the world. Watch 30 minutes of the national news to help put things in perspective.
- Embrace the mess. Since you will eventually get off your bum and get back to an organized existence, take a day (or seven) and enjoy the chaos. At least temporarily, let go of the stress.
- Determine why you want to be organized. As I’ve written in the past, if you don’t know why you want to be organized and clutter free, you’re going to struggle with every attempt you make to be an unclutterer.
- Ask for help. Call a friend and ask him/her to help you get your project started again. If you don’t want your friends to see your place a mess, call in a professional organizer.
- Plan a party. Nothing gets me moving faster than knowing there will be people coming into my house. Plus, the reward is that when your space is orderly, you get to celebrate with a party!
- Acknowledge that you’re procrastinating. I don’t know why this works, but simply admitting to yourself that you’re avoiding a task can help get you motivated to change. Check out “Eight strategies to stop procrastinating” for tips on what to do next.
- Plan your project. As you would a project at work, plan your entire uncluttering and organizing project to help you get back on track. Pull out your calendar, determine the scope of your project, create action items, and block off time each day to reach your goal. Being specific (and realistic) about what you will want to accomplish helps to alleviate the overwhelming Cloud of Doom and realize you can get things back to normal.
- No excuses. Follow your project plan and just do it. There isn’t an easy way. You will have to do the work. However, the end result is definitely worth it.
- Create household routines. In my home, we have “Doland Duties.” If you don’t have a chart of daily routines and responsibilities, now is the time to establish one or evaluate your old one.
- Use a meal plan. The easiest way to eat healthy and keep from stressing out about what is for dinner is to create a weekly meal plan.
- Declutter. The less you own, the less you have to clean, organize, store, and maintain.
- Enjoy the calm. Take some time to reflect on how different you feel when things are uncluttered and organized instead of chaotic and disorganized. Remembering this feeling, and enjoying the remarkable life you desire, are great motivators to keeping you on course in the future.