You look around the house and you feel stressed out! There is a pile of unfolded laundry next to a stack of toys in the middle of room and you can’t even see the dining room table anymore under all that paperwork. Despite your efforts, no matter how much you try, you cannot tame the beast.
This can simply be the result of unfocused efforts and an inefficient system. You are already putting in the time and effort, but by focusing it in the right direction you will enjoy the results as well.
One of the best ways to tackle organizing projects, or any project in general, is to create an action plan and just do it. The principle of this action plan will work for any project that you are ready to take on. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say you want to create an action plan to get your master bedroom closet organized.
To set yourself up for success with any plan, project or life, in general, you need to start with a clear, defined, achievable purpose, vision or goal. Unless you are going for wonder and adventure, having a destination in mind is the most important part of a journey. In this case, your goals for getting your closet organized could be getting dressed quickly in the morning, utilizing everything in your closet or avoiding over shopping. Whatever your goal is, define it and keep it in mind. This will stop you from getting lost or discouraged during your project. Use these elements to create a SMART goal.
It’s good to take an assessment of the problem and identify the cause before starting any task. This knowledge will help you in planning ahead and creating a system for after you have organized. Plus it will require the least amount of maintenance.
For example, the root cause of an unruly closet could be any of the following; Not having enough space. Not putting clothes away after doing laundry. Maybe a few broken shelves are causing the chaos? The culprit could be anything from technical errors, mental obstacles or a mix of it all.
Start by thinking about all the steps you need to take to accomplish your goal. What is the first task that needs to get done in order to start the project?
In our closet organizing example, the following tasks were identified.
Add 2 shelves and 5 hooks
Evaluating the system
Analyze, Prioritize and Manage Time
Take note of every step the project needs. First prioritize and put tasks in the order they must be completed. Then see what needs to be delegated or outsourced for the project to move forward.
Create deadlines and be realistic about time and the complexity of tasks. For example, if you are a busy person try to break down tasks as much as possible. Trying to do too much at once is time consuming so breaking each task down into smaller tasks makes the whole project more manageable.
In the closet project case, emptying an average closet will take you about 1 to 2 hours. But be aware, if you just empty a closet without sorting or purging right away, you will be stuck with an overwhelming mess in the meantime. So in this case, if you cannot delegate at least 6-8 hours straight to putting the closet back together, then don’t empty the whole closet. Break down the project into smaller sections. For example, do the tasks for ¼ of your closet at a time. Break down the closet space in a way that makes the most sense to you. Look at each space as a mini project that needs to be completed in order to move to the next step.
Research and Delegate
Once you have your tasks in order, it’s time to delegate tasks that need to be accomplished by someone else. This could be hanging shelves, designing a new closet system and so on. Make sure to call and make the appointments well in advance in case you have to wait a week or more to get scheduled.
Also keep track and take note of all the research you have done such as articles you read about folding clothes or videos you watched about how to organize your closet. Make a list of all the products you need to buy for the project.
Just Do It
My mother always said: “There is no end to household chores!” When I was a teenager and not in charge of holding everything together to run a clean functional home, I never understood how true those words were. Whether you are an organizer, stay at home mom, or busy professional adult you have to put a certain amount of time and effort into making sure your household is efficient and put together. You need to get it done, otherwise no amount of planning can help you. You can always ask for professional help so don’t feel like you are out of options. Simply said; you or someone else has to JUST DO IT!
Evaluating the System
Sadly there is no magic wand or one-time trick that we can give you to use to have your house in tip top shape forever. You have to tailor your systems as your lifestyle changes and maintain it around your daily activities.
As much as keeping your house organized will always be an ongoing affair, you can cut down on the hours by keeping up with it. First off, if you have a system that you cannot keep up with in timely manner, it means your system is not really working for you even if it looks “pin worthy”. Maybe the pile of folded shirts in your closet are too high so they keep tipping over and it is impossible to access the shirts at the bottom of the pile. Put them on a lower shelf, in a basket, folded vertically. Once you make your changes, give yourself some time to get used to the new system. I am still tailoring my super-organized kitchen after 6 years of being in a same house. As our life changes so should our systems. Adaptation is key.
Once you apply a sense of order and flow around your house, it will be much easier to maintain it. But again you do have to maintain it. Set aside 10 minutes at the end of each night to put your clothes away. As soon as you take your clothes off, put them in the laundry, dry cleaning basket or where they belong. Just adding a small box in your closet for donations can go along towards keeping unwanted items out of your way. Once the box is full, donate it and get it out of your house. Trust us, it is much easier to do 10 minutes each night than 3 hours at the end of the week. Not only is this system more practical, it will give you the sense of harmony and peace every single day.
Best of luck on all of your organizing projects. You can find many tips and inspirational posts on this blog as well as our YouTube channel and our Facebook page. Leave us a comment and let us know if you need any tips on organizing anything from your purse to your car. We’ve got your back.