How to Finally Get Organized Using Self-Assessment
You have been trying for decades, centuries even, to finally get your home organized like you see online. You spend hours on blogs and Pinterest trying to find that magic technique that will instantly give your home a magazine photo shoot look. Hundreds of dollars have been spent on containers and tools that will help you finally get organized. Nothing has worked. It’s time to learn how to finally get organized using self-assessment.
Instead of buying more things, take a little time for self-reflection.
The key to getting an organized home is goal setting. I don’t mean “Get Organized” either. Breaking down your home into what areas are the most troublesome, starting to see where you should focus, and avoiding distractions are the main points in setting your goal.
I’m using the Living Room as my example.
As you read, feel free to insert whatever room you think is your starting point into the text.
You get home from work and walk into the living room. Scattered around you see abandoned shoes, bags, mail piled in places that it doesn’t belong. You automatically think to yourself, “I wish this place was more organized.” You set down your own work bag, walk over to what you think is today’s mail, flip through it, separate out the junk mail to toss, and place the other mail back in the pile to be sorted later.
All too often because we are overly aware of the problem, instead of taking little steps to fix them, we give up and become part of the problem ourselves. By breaking down each step that you just took into a problem-solving goal, you can create new habits not only for yourself but for each member of your family.
Organizing photographs on your list of projects? Learn more about how to keep your photos organized here.
Lead by Example
When you sit down and evaluate your own habits you can find where you contribute to the problem. When you know what you want to do and then create a habit for yourself, the other members of your family will start noticing what you are doing and picking up the same habit. Organizing habits aren’t created overnight, and neither are bad habits broken so quickly. By taking some time to start on yourself, you can start creating new habits in others. There is no magic tool or trick. Unless you are already organized, having an organized home is a process.
Every person has different needs. Every person has different strengths and weaknesses. Only by truly understanding your strengths will organizing your home become something that sticks. You must find a clear picture of where you are and where you want to be to finally see some consistent forward motion. Admit it, in the past you have made some progress, only to see the bad habits and same issues return.
There are 5 questions you need to sit down and truly and honestly reflect upon before you can move forward. These questions must be answered for each space that you want to work on. Start with the most important area that you want to organize. Then move to the next. Make sure to only focus on one area at a time before thinking at all about the next.
What is Working for Me?
The easy answer to this is “Nothing!” Look deeper. Within even the most cluttered area is at least a few systems that are working. Do you always know where the batteries are? Can you reach for the remote control without having to go on a scavenger hunt? These are successes in your organizing efforts.
Identifying what is working and building from that can save you a ton of time and energy moving forward. Do not fix what isn’t broken. There is no need to purchase a new coffee table remote caddy if there is no need for it. That habit has already been made. Creating something more complex is just going to upset the system, and honestly make a problem where there was not one initially.
What is NOT Working for Me?
Take this time to whine, complain, nitpick and just generally bitch about your home. Let it all out. List everything that bothers you about this space. I find it helpful to be sitting in the middle of the room so that you can see it all. Look around. Is there a pile of magazines in the corner? Are your spouse’s shoes laying in the middle of the room? Everything you see needs written down. Only by fixing everything will your efforts become a success. Put this somewhere you have easy access to it. As you continue organizing, cross off any issues that you solve. By getting this out regularly, you will stay focused on where the problems lie.
What Items are Most Essential for Me?
If you are like me, I do not have a foyer. My front door enters directly into my living room. I have a closet beside the front door, but that is the only “entry” we have. So, in looking around at what works in my space, I see that all our jackets are hung. Our work bags are hung in or on the closet door. There is no flat surface in which to “dump” our mail. The coffee table is functional. I have placed hooks beside the front door for our car keys to hang.
This is not an easy step. You are inevitably going to think you need something you don’t or fail to realize the importance of something until you no longer have easy access. Do not get frustrated or give up. Only once you see what you truly need and use can you make sure that you are organizing in a way that is not only pretty but functional for your individual space and lifestyle.
Why Do You Want to Get This Space Organized?
Here is why you write your “Mission Statement” for organizing your space. Perhaps you are tired of wasting time looking for things. Maybe you want the space to feel more relaxing to you after a hard day at work. Maybe you are just tired of wasting money on late fees because you keep finding bills after the due date. No matter what you are trying to achieve, there are no wrong answers. It can be something so simple that you think, “I’m not writing that. That’s dumb.” Don’t put yourself down. You are writing this down for the times when you are feeling the urge to give up. Organizing in a way that will stick is hard work. It takes time, effort, patience, and the ability to refocus yourself to not give up. You have given up before. Don’t give up on yourself this time too.
What is Causing the Problem(s)?
Here is a common place to get off course. It’s easy to blame your spouse, your kids, your friends. Take full responsibility for your own actions in helping add to the problem. My own problem was not taking the time to do anything after work because I just wanted to sit down and watch television. My feet hurt. Turns out, I needed surgery on my feet because of the pain. If I hadn’t accepted my problem and behavior, I would have never found out the issue even existed. Look around for problems. Focus on your own first. A lot of the time when I personally start fixing my own actions and attitudes, my husband notices and steps up to fix something he does. Lead by example. Really, it will work.
This process takes a little extra time, but I can guarantee that it is worth it. Once you can fix the small things you will see that the larger picture starts to fall into place almost effortlessly. Any question or step from the above set of questions that you cheat on, skip over and do not truly examine to the best of your ability will thwart your progress. It may seem tedious. It may seem silly. But with the same examining eye as Sherlock Holmes, you will start to see what is hindering you once you look below the surface. Don’t cheat yourself.