Home Organization Now, Not Later
Home organization matters a lot! First impressions of a person’s home are like all first impressions – significant and often lasting. We can’t help but draw conclusions about people from how they manage their surroundings. We’ve all had the opposite experience of walking into a highly organized home as well.
Cluttering our homes isn’t a conscious decision, but rather where we end up by default when we become unconscious of the cluttering process at work. Let’s face it, clutter happens! And if you have children, clutter accelerates at warp speed. Young children don’t know any better and have to learn. Teenagers know better, but are driven to flaunt their independence in the all too typical you’re-not-the-boss-of-me fashion.
So how do you finally begin undoing years of accumulated clutter? How do you make the needed changes so your home stays neat and organized? Here are a few guidelines to declutter and achieve home organization:
Have a Plan
List every room or space and start with the most-used or messiest room. This is good psychology! Tackling the highest visibility clutter – kitchen, living room, entryway, or garage – first gives a real boost to the over all process. Everyone sees what’s possible and can begin visioning every other room clean and organized.
Cluttering is almost always a group effort and everyone should play a part in setting it right. Assign tasks based on ability. Even young children can do something to help (turning it into a game with frequent breaks and reinforcement really helps!). In the process, everyone learns how to clean and organize, and what’s expected in the future.
Include a Timeline
Make sure your plan includes a timeline. It took time to clutter your home and it will take time to declutter it as well. Make sure each task – usually centered on a particular room – has a specific timeline. Some tasks will take longer then others based on size and the amount of clutter. A family room will accumulate more clutter than a typical closet and will take longer to declutter.
One Task at a Time
Make an effort to complete one task at a time. Despite the illusion of “getting something done,” flitting from room to room with great intentions and sporadic activity is highly ineffective and will always take longer. Focus on one room to the exclusion of all others. Stay with that room until the clutter is gone and the room looks complete.
Decide what stays and what goes. This is a biggy! Accumulating “stuff” is at the heart of clutter, so getting rid of “stuff” is almost always essential. Decide what stays and store it neatly on shelves, in closets, or in bins or containers. There are plenty of options for getting rid of unneeded things. Give it away to friends or family, donate it to charity (and take the tax write-off!), have a yard sale, or get ambitious and sell it on eBay!
Make a Habit
Finally, commit to spending time each week keeping clutter away. As you can see, there’s nothing magical about decluttering your home. Following a few simple guidelines is always the surest way to achieve true home organization in the shortest time frame with the best chance of it staying that way. So, get on with it!