Just before the New Year, I landed back in town from a wonderful week at home with my family. Immediately I was inundated with pushes and pulls, and requests from every direction. I was getting things done but was feeling beat up and exhausted in the process.
The New Year transition came and went and I still couldn’t put my finger on the cause of my restlessness and underlying agitation.
It took me few more days to finally figure it out – one afternoon I got back from finishing up with a client and opened my bathroom cupboard where a disarray of gobbledygook stared back at me. That was the last straw – I pounced and that cabinet never saw what was coming. I needed things GONE. NOW.
I started tossing things left and right – making room for gifts I’d received and letting go of items I hadn’t touched in months or years.
Then I moved to my office and 4 hours later I’d dumped 2 bags of garbage, had a pile for Good Will, and had transitioned my files for 2011. Finally I new the source of my agitation: I had been feeling constricted by the stagnant and frustrating energy of my space and the shift to the New Year had heightened it considerably.
As soon as I finished I could feel the energy in my home get lighter and so was my mood. I could think more clearly AND – I found out later – sleep better.
Again, I was reminded why it is that I do what I do. I love to help people find this surprising source of energy. All of the good, supportive, energy in my home was being trapped by my stagnant stuff. And witnessing the impact on my client’s lives when that energy is freed is one of my favorite parts of the job.
If you have made the decision to use this New Year’s Energy to push your organization projects forward, then I have outlined for you a Get’R Done Guide to Starting (and finishing) your organizing projects below – one that doesn’t involve frantic tossing for 5 hours straight (unless of course you have the time to finish whatever you start – then by all means go for it).
Understand your Motivation: Why do you want to finish this project right now? What will it feel like when it’s complete? Write down your organizing goal and the motivation behind it. This is a critical step that makes finishing your project exponentially easier.
Determine your Deadline: Decide the date when you’d like your project completed AND how you will reward yourself (i.e. invite friends over for dinner, get a massage, take a trip!). Help keep this future deadline in place by scheduling your reward today.
Balance your Resources: Work backwards to determine how much time & energy you can dedicate to this project each day or week. Remember that an organizing project will take 2 – 4 times longer than you anticipate but even 15 – 30 minutes a day can work wonders.
Schedule your Sessions: Make an appointment with yourself and block out these organizing sessions on your calendar. Remember why this is so important and notice how good it feels every time you make progress. This also lets you relax at other times, since you’ve decided when you will work on this project it no longer needs to be hanging over your head all the time.
Start Sorting Slowly: Pick a shelf, bookcase, drawer, or corner of the room to tackle first. Work for 20 minutes. Always sort first. Ask yourself: Do I love it? Do I use it? Does it belong in this room? Create piles of items to be tossed, donated, or moved elsewhere in your home. At the end of the session put everything back that will stay and distribute your piles accordingly.
Combine and Contain: Once you’ve sorted an area completely, combine and store all ‘like’ items together. Give them an official ‘home’ by utilizing a shelf, cabinet or container to keep things together. Try utilizing a bag, folder, box, or basket from your home, if possible.
Leverage Momentum: You will notice that the speed in which you make decisions and ‘organize’ will start to increase. Now you are ready to tackle a larger section of the room for a longer period of time. But don’t overdo it! That will make it harder to start your next session.
Don’t Criticize: If you realize one day that you haven’t made the progress you wanted to, please don’t beat yourself up because life happens to all of us. Simply take a minute to remember why this project is important and schedule your next session. The key here is to be kind to yourself throughout this process. Embracing this attitude will generate much less resistance toward getting the work done.
Encourage and Evolve: You have taken the time and energy to free your space from stagnant clutter. Maintain those efforts by encouraging the system with supportive habits like regularly putting items back in their ‘homes’, or consistently moving things out of your home. The process of organizing is never really done – allow the system to evolve to keep up with your ever-changing life.
Post time: 12-26-2017