One observation I made frequently during my time as a professional organizer was that most of the people I worked with wanted more than an organized space in their home. They aspired to an organized lifestyle.
Each time I began working with a new client, I always started by explaining how “getting organized” is not a singular event that takes place over the course of a weekend. Instead, it’s a journey that you take over time, with each step leading you closer to the goal of living an organized lifestyle.
Whether you plan to take your journey alone, or with a professional organizer alongside you, I think it’s absolutely crucial to set some realistic expectations for yourself as you embark on your journey.
As you begin your journey towards an organized lifestyle, it’s important to keep these 7 things in mind…
1. YOUR MOTIVATION WILL WAX AND WANE.
Before you begin, write down your vision for the project, as well as the goals you have for the space. When the going gets tough, refer back to these in order to spark the motivation you’ll need to press on when you find yourself uninspired.
2. INITIALLY, THE MESS WILL GET WORSE.
Be prepared for the fact that during the sort/purge steps of the organizing process, the clutter might get worse before it gets better. Have faith! You will see it all come together once items are assigned a home, “containerized”, and put away.
3. IT’S HARD TO PREDICT HOW LONG A PROJECT WILL TAKE TO COMPLETE.
There are several factors that determine how long it will take you to complete your organizing project. These include:
- the amount of clutter involved
- the number of distractions that you’ll need to work around during organizing sessions
- the amount of “homework” you are willing to tackle between sessions (if you’re working with a professional organizer)
- the speed of your decision-making
4. FORM IS NICE, BUT FUNCTION TRUMPS FORM.
In order for your project to be a success, your space does not need to look like a magazine cover. It just has to work for you. If aesthetics are important to you, you can devote extra effort into creating systems and using products that are cute and attractive, once you’ve nailed down the functionality aspects of your project.
5. MAINTENANCE IS THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS.
A professional organizer will teach you the skills that you need to get organized, and the habits you will need to develop in order to stay organized. When you lose weight, you need to continue engaging in the habits that enabled you to lose the weight (i.e., eating less and exercising more) in order to maintain your weight loss. The same holds true for organizing…you’ll need to create a maintenance plan, and then execute the steps in the plan in an ongoing basis.
6. BACKSLIDING IS INEVITABLE.
Sometimes in the organizing process, it’s “two steps forward, and one step back.” Backsliding can occur during the organizing process, if too much time passes between project work sessions, or in the maintenance phase, if you allow yourself to revert back to old habits. Backsliding is common at any stage of the organizing journey. The key is to recognize that it’s happening, and to get back on the wagon as soon as possible (see the similarity to the weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey?)
7. YOU MUST HONE YOUR SYSTEMS OVER TIME.
After your work is finished, give yourself some time to decide whether the initial organizing systems that you put in place are working for you. If not, go back to the drawing board and develop a Plan B! Over time, your life circumstances and needs often change. You’ll likely need to tweak your organizing systems in the future so that they continue to meet your current needs.
Now that your expectations are set, it’s time to embark on your journey to an organized lifestyle. How do you plan to begin your journey??? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Photo Credit: © Depositphotos.com / Dmitry Kutlaev
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