You’ve tried, and tried, and tried. Maybe you feel like you’re on an endless cycle of motivating yourself to get organized, getting everything “just so”, and then watching it all go to shambles as the clutter and overwhelm build right back up in just a few short weeks.
You’re not alone. I hear this a lot from my clients and I’m going to share with you the three most common culprits I see holding people back from staying organized, in my work as a Professional Organizer.
You’re Just Organizing Clutter
Good organization is all about giving you back your productivity, efficiency, and peace of mind. I don’t want you wasting your time, so I’m going to share with you my number one principle of organization:
You cannot get organized until you simplify and declutter.
Otherwise, you’re just organizing clutter. You need to begin by getting rid of things first. All of the physical stuff, the mental stuff chattering around in your head, and the things on your to-do list that are causing chaos and busyness but not moving the needle.
Let’s begin with physical stuff.
Start with what you’re getting rid of first. I always recommend starting in one closet, one drawer, one room, and taking baby steps throughout the house or space. When you pick up your items, ask yourself:
Do I need it?
Do I love it?
If the answer is yes to either one of these questions, you keep it! If it’s a no, ask yourself:
Is it expensive to replace in the future or would it be hard to find a new one?
If the answer is yes, you keep it! If the answer is no, you can get rid of it! This helps to eliminate a lot of those small things that we keep just because we “might” need them again someday when in reality they would be easy to find again and cheap enough to replace. It’s ok to let them go.
The items you keep that you love, make sure they are being displayed appropriately, or in an easy-to-find spot to grab them when you need them, or put them in appropriate storage (and labeled!) if they’re seasonal items or not used often.
Next, let’s move on to your to-do list.
A lot of things on our lists are causing us mental worries, stress, and even physical discomfort. You can declutter these things the same way you would physical items.
Do you need it?
Do you love it?
Do you really need to be doing ALL THESE THINGS?
How are certain thoughts serving you throughout the day? Are there worries, anxieties, or fears you’d be willing to let go of?
Some of my clients even keep track of how they spend their time and write down everything they do on a daily basis to help get an accurate depiction of what they’re giving their energy to. You can also do this with the thoughts and emotions you experience as well.
If they’re not serving you and getting you to where you want to be, it’s ok to let them go.
You will have a hard time staying organized if you have too much stuff. And I know purging and throwing things away can be hard, but I promise, it gets easier the more you do it and the more questions you ask yourself to get to the bottom of whether or not you really need these things!
You Let Perfection Get In Your Way
This has been one of my biggest obstacles to overcome on my own journey in decluttering and organizing. If you try to make everything perfect as you go along, you will hit roadblocks and it will likely stop you from continuing on (and sometimes from even starting in the first place!).
How does perfectionism show up?
If I don’t have time to completely organize the entire house and make it picture-perfect, why bother?
I don’t have all the right boxes, bins, shelves, baskets, etc…
I can’t make my towels and sock collection look like Marie Kondo’s…
I need to wait until my kids move out…
I need to wait until we buy a bigger house…
There is never going to be enough time to organize everything perfectly, you will likely never have all the right boxes, bins, shelves, and baskets, and Marie Kondo makes her entire living folding socks and towels, so why are you comparing yourself to her?
It’s about function and actually getting started, not perfection.
Let go of perfectionism and don’t wait for circumstances to be just right. The time is now. You can organize in pockets of time, as you have it, and you don’t need to worry about making it Pinterest pretty!
You Haven’t Found the Solution that Works for You
We are bombarded with organization, productivity, and efficiency systems and strategies. It can all add up to you feeling like a failure when you keep on failing to get organized. How can something that works for everyone else not work for you?
It’s the system or solution, not you.
You just haven’t found a system that works for you yet. Sometimes this means you need to grab bits and pieces from different places. Our brains are all different and work uniquely and what is a dream strategy for someone simply might not work for you!
It’s ok. There is no shame in this and you are not broken.
Find a system and solution that works for you and put it to work!
Need help finding one? Learn more about my lower cost Declutter & Get Organized Resource Hub membership here https://joannkrall.com/membership