Is your house always unorganized? Even if you put everything in place, it goes back to its pitiable state in a few days.
Let’s face it: some people are just bad at organization. But unless you have hundreds of dollars to spare on professional organizers, you are going to have to do the decluttering yourself. Maybe it’s about time you become better at it. “Rather than a bad habit that was learned, it’s more likely there was never a foundation set for being organized let alone organizing others in your family,” Peter Lorenzo, founder of Clutter Crashers, a professional organization company, told Rewire Me.
Some people are chronically disorganized—they have always had trouble keeping their house in order, while some are situationally disorganized—a life transition has left their abode helter-skelter. Whatever the case, you can learn key organization skills anytime. “It’s important to believe you can do it,” says professional organizer Hazel Thornton. “You might need help getting there, but if you don’t think it’s possible, it probably isn’t.”
You will not master the art of organization in a day. So take it easy. Follow these organization basics, and you will eventually get there.
If organizing isn’t something you relish, make it exciting by turning it into a group effort. Professional organizer Bonnie Joy Dewkett suggests a method called the 10-minute tidy. “Every family member puts things away, cleans or organizes for 10 minutes a day,” Dewkett tells Rewire Me. “It doesn’t sound like a lot but if you have five family members, that’s almost an hour of cleaning a day.” Go an extra mile and time yourself. “Using a timer is a great way to motivate,” says Dewkett. “Since it’s unpleasant for most people, it’s important to have an endpoint in mind.”
Take an in-depth look at your house, and you’ll find there are many things that have no business being there. “Start with deciding what you love, use, and need to keep,” says Thornton. “These are the things that will support the lifestyle you want to be living. The rest is clutter.” The remaining items should head to the recycle bin or the trash can.
If you follow this one rule, your organization battle will be half won. “Put your things away after you have gotten them out to use,” says Thornton. “It should be easy once you have decluttered and established homes for everything. Don’t let them accumulate and become an overwhelming pile of clutter again.” Did you take out your blow dryer to soothe out your tresses for the party? Put it back before you leave the house!
Clear your mind
You will do a better job at organization when you are thinking clearly. Make a note of everything that you need to. “Decide when you will do each of the household tasks you are responsible for, such as laundry, grocery shopping, bill payments, and meal preparation,” says Julie Stobbe, a trained professional organizer and a chairperson of the Education Committee for Professional Organizers in Canada (POC). This is called “clearing your mind”, according to Stobbe. “When you get things scheduled, you don’t need to think about them anymore,” she says.
Maintaining a house can be overwhelming, and you may want to do everything by yourself, but that’s not the best idea. “You may find you don’t have time to do it all yourself,” says Stobbe. “Delegate it to other family members. At first it may take longer to get things done as they learn how to do things. Stick with it and soon it will no longer be your responsibility.” If there is something that you particularly dislike, such as laundry, outsource it to a professional service. Maybe you can’t afford it all the time, but you can use external help occasionally.
While it is always helpful to learn to be organized, don’t try to emulate someone else’s house. “Everyone needs to find their sweet spot between how neat they want their surroundings to be, how clean, and how organized,” says Thornton. “And your sweet spot doesn’t have to look like mine!”
Now, where’s the dustbin?