Where do I start? How to organize when you feel overwhelmed. | Organizing Made Fun: Where do I start? How to organize when you feel overwhelmed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Where do I start? How to organize when you feel overwhelmed.

This blog will be three years old in May and it still is my purpose to motivate, inspire, and give you ideas while having fun organizing. I've never changed that desire. And, while I know that there are many of you who LOVE to organize, like me, there are also a big chunk of you who are overwhelmed by the clutter and disarray of your home or life. You have no idea where to start.

Let me encourage you! I want to be your cheerleader! I can't go into each and every home and fix your problems - it's not my intent to do that. My intention is to teach you to do it yourself. 

But, you ask, where do I start? My home is a wreck! You have to start every large project the same way - in small, bite-sized portions. You can't undo years and years of unorganized chaos in one day and think you've fixed the problem.

I'm the type of person that is neither black or white - I'm usually right down the middle. When I decide to do something, I don't go out and throw out everything and buy all new. I gradually thin out things, replacing my bad habits with new ones - a little bit at a time. Organizing should be that way. It took you years to accumulate all this stuff and chaos, so it will take years to undo some of the bad habits you have created.

Start small. Take fifteen minutes a day {set a timer to help you}. Open a drawer in the place you need to work on most - maybe mail drawer. Throw out all the trash. If that takes you fifteen minutes, then you're done for today. If not, move on to the next thing. Look at the items in that drawer and pick out three or four you can live without or move elsewhere that make more sense. Next, find something - anything, even cereal boxes - to organize it with. Label it, even with tape and a pen. 

Then, move on to the next area. Bit by bit, day by day, carving out the time to organize.

But, there is a crucial part of organizing that you must face - getting rid of stuff. Why do we have so much stuff? Why do we think we NEED all this stuff? Does stuff REALLY make you happy? Can you take this stuff with you when you go? No...stuff will never make you happy in the end. It's likely that stuff is causing you anxiety, grief, and other problems. It's time to start looking at your stuff and determining that you don't need it. 

The amount of kitchen gadgets most of us have in our kitchens is probably ridiculous -- me included. I'm not kidding.  How about clothes? Do you have WAY to many? Possibly. Do you really NEED all that? 

Be very objective when you start looking around at your things. Your stuff. Is there someone or some place that could use that stuff more than you? Probably. I am amazed at my church's freecycle group and how it blesses so many with the "stuff" that someone no longer needs. If you don't know about it, go here for more explanation, or my ladies' free clothing boutique I had at my home where people got rid of so much and gave to those who really needed it - you can see that post HERE. Bless others with some of your nicer things that you don't really need. My mom did that this Christmas. She gave an extra gift to each grandchild and each of us kids. She gave from her heart some very cherished and beloved items - a porcelain doll to my daughter, a crystal vase to another granddaughter, special candle holders to me. She went through a year of difficult trial in 2012 with her AVM and realized that life is short, stuff has no eternal value, and she didn't need these things now.

We need less stuff. It will make your life feel freer and more full than having all that stuff. Having to clean around the stuff. Having to deal with the stuff. Having to live with the stuff. But, don't expect the stuff to go away right away. It's a process that will take time. Don't replace stuff with more stuff. Give your things to others. Throw out the useless, unnecessary items. 

What will you let go of? Will you start the process of getting your life and home organized? Find a friend who can help you, or hire a professional organizer. That's their job, to help you learn to get things organized and purge one day at a time. I'm here to cheer you on! You can do it!!

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