How to Get Organized

My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment. I was so excited at the opportunity to re-organize our life and revamp the way we operate in our home. We were living in a very, very tiny studio and moving to a somewhat larger, but still tiny one bedroom apartment, so I knew that even though I would have more space, I didn’t want that to mean that suddenly our stuff was going to be everywhere. I wanted things to be streamlined, and pretty, and I really wanted everything to have a place. It took longer than I wanted it to, but this weekend I finally got everything squared away. After everything was done, I sat down with a nice cold glass of lemonade (it’s always summer here in Hawaii!) and reflected upon my accomplishment.

Here are my 5 motivators/tips to getting organized:

1. Just Do It

Yes, I did just grab my inspiration from Nike. Sometimes when it comes to organizing, all it takes is just getting up and doing it. The longer I would sit there thinking about all of the things I had to organize, the less was happening, and the more I was feeling overwhelmed. When I finally just got up and started sorting through things, I realized it wasn’t as overwhelming as I was making it out to be in my head. I also realized I was actually enjoying everything finally getting put away. Step one: just stand up!

2. It really doesn’t take that long

When it comes down to it, I had my whole apartment organized in just a few hours (that includes being cleaned!). Now, that may sound like a long time, but think about how long it takes to clean up when everything piles up everywhere and things get out of control. You may even have to break it up into small organization projects room by room and tackle everything a little bit at a time, and that is perfectly fine! You’ll find that once you start, time flies by.

3. Don’t let yourself get distracted

This one is hard for me. I started my organization project in our bedroom. As I began sorting through everything and putting things in their “new homes,” I would take something into another room. Then, seeing something that needed to be put away in that room, I would start organizing that pile. I had to stop myself a few times (out loud, even) and go back to the one room I was supposed to be working on. It took a little bit of diligence, but once I was able to solely focus on the task at hand, it wasn’t long before I was completely finished organizing our bedroom. It was satisfying (and motivating!) to see one room 100% finished instead of three rooms partly finished. It helped to feel that I had really accomplished something, and it made moving on to the last two tasks/rooms much easier.

4. If it doesn’t have a home now, it’s never going to have a home

This is a sad but simple truth. If you put something in a non-specific area “to be dealt with later,” chances are it is just going to become a pile of clutter. I used to have a bad habit of making these kinds of piles around my house, and every designated cleaning day I would re-sort the pile…make it not so cluttered looking…maybe move it to another area…but I would never actually do anything with it. If something can’t be placed in a designated area now, it probably needs to go. Of course there are exceptions and situations where this wont apply, but overall, I feel like it is a good rule. It also leads to my last tip:

5. Some stuff just has to go

If you are undecided on where to put something ask yourself the following questions: Do I use this? Do I really like this? Can it go with other things that I’m having trouble finding a home for? If I get rid of this, will I even notice? Chances are, it is something that you can live without.  If you are really having trouble getting rid of it, I have heard other bloggers recommend making a “donation box” in your home. Put the item in question in the box and leave it for two weeks to a month. At the end of the month, donate the box. If throughout that month you either didn’t go back for anything in the box or didn’t even remember what was in there, it didn’t need to be taking up valuable space in your home. Parting with things is hard, but the clean organized feeling is SO worth it.

Well, there you have it. Cleaning and organizing can be challenging, but when it comes down to it, the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when everything is in its place is awesome. I have felt so much less stressed over the last few days as I look around at an organized apartment instead of seeing a big cluttery mess of things to do. I’m so glad I finally got it all done, and I hope these 5 things help some of you to get motivated to do it too!

Next time…how to keep things organized. Haha, that is the second half of the challenge!

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