Starting and completing an organizing project can be hard — it takes time and continued focus on your goals. Some people get motivated when their frustrations become overwhelming. They are tired of not being able to find things, of feeling embarrassed by their homes, etc.
Sometimes people find their motivation in something they’ve read. Although organizers often find a collection of unused organizing books on people’s bookshelves, sometimes reading just the right book (Erin’s latest book, Marie Kondo’s book, etc.) at the right time can provide the inspiration needed.
Other people get motivated by images of organized spaces they see in magazines or on Pinterest. While these photos are often unrealistic — I’ve never met anyone whose home looks as picture-perfect as those shown in magazines — they can still inspire some people to imagine what their homes might look like and start taking steps in that direction.
For other people, the best way to stay motivated is to have a deadline. That can be a self-imposed deadline or one that comes from others: the IRS, family members, etc. I’ve seen people who had talked about getting organized for years, with no success, who became successful once they had deadlines they had to meet.
The following are some deadlines I’ve seen work for people:
- I’m going to adopt, and the agency is coming to do a home visit.
- My parents are coming to visit, and I want my home to look good when they get here.
- I need to file my tax returns, so I have to get my papers organized.
- My boss gave me a month to get more organized.
- I’m replacing my broken garage door in a few weeks, and I have to clear out my packed garage before then.
- I’m moving in a month, and I can’t take everything with me.
- I’m going to be getting a roommate, so I need to unclutter the room she will be renting from me.
- I’ve made an appointment for next month with someone who may want to buy some of my stuff.
- I’ve told the storage facility that I plan to give up one of my three units next month.
- I committed to my therapist/coach that I’d get going on this project before our next visit.
- I want to participate in our neighborhood garage sale.
- I promised my sister-in-law that I would send her the clothes my kids have outgrown, because they’ll be just the right sizes for her kids.
Note that if you are setting your own deadline, you can make sure it’s a realistic one for you. If you have multiple storage lockers, you can set a deadline for clearing out one of them at a time. You can set deadlines that are a month out, not next week.
And finally, many people are motivated by seeing progress. If you can find something that motivates you to begin the uncluttering and organizing process, you may find it easier to stay motivated to continue.