Getting started with organizing if you are completely new to it, is way more difficult than you would think. Maybe you have thought about stepping up your organizing game, but don’t know where to start. Then you are in the right place, in this blog post, I will tell you 10 simple steps to get you started with organizing.
Organizing can feel very intimidating when you’re first starting out. I think it’s important to remember that organizing is not something you will just do once and then you are done. Organizing is exactly like exercising, you need to do it on a regular basis if it’s going to give you any long term benefits.
I was under the false impression that cleaning and organizing was the same thing for a long time. But that’s very far from the truth, cleaning is the thing you do to get rid of dirt, organizing is the thing you do to minimize the amount of cleaning needed. I am an organization lover because I really don’t like to clean.
So where do you start with organizing?
Below is a list that I put together based on my experience organizing my and other people’s houses. These are the most important steps to do when you what to start organizing.
10 steps to start with organizing
- Make a plan of action
- Settle for an organizing method
- Start with what makes the biggest impact
- Tackle the hardest challenge straight away
- Set reasonable expectations
- Don’t cut any corners
- Take breaks
- Celebrate small victories
- Check-in with yourself
Make a plan of action
Before you start tackling any part of your house sit down and write down which rooms and which spaces in your home that you want to organize first. If you don’t know where to start in your home, just ask yourself if there is a particular space that annoys you. That’s the perfect place to start!
In this step, it is also a good idea to assess if you have everything you need to succeed with your organizing project. Sometimes it is difficult to know what you will need in advance and that is perfectly fine. Other times you might already know that you need to invest in storage solutions or organizing aids.
I would strongly recommend investing in propper storage solutions because you can bring it with you from one home to the next. It might feel a bit daunting because of the pricetags. But remember that a well-organized home is invaluable!
You can also go ahead and collect bins, baskets, and trays that you already have at hand. A lot of the things we have at home can be repurposed for free. You can even look in your recycle bin for cardboard boxes, glas jars, and metal cans. Storage and organization do not have to be expensive. When I first started out, I used every item at home that could resemble a container of some sort. This actually got me very far!
Remember to write own your plan, it makes it accessible and structured. You can also use it too track your achievements and cross out things as you finish them. This will keep you feeling motivated.
Settle for an organizing method
You can also decide early on if you want to use any special organizing method. I would strongly recommend doing so. Even if your plan is to just start decluttering. Because once you have made the decision to start organizing you are well on your way and will need actionable steps to take.
Don’t get stuck here though it is always better to just start! My personal favorite is the Konmari method because it is all about bringing gratitude and happiness into the organizing process. The series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo can be found on Netflix, or you could buy her book here.
Start with what makes the biggest impact
Try to tackle the thing that will make the biggest impact in your home first. For example, if you are struggling with a wardrobe the looks like it has exploded then try to handle this area first. By getting rid of a big eyesore or something that has bothered you for ages you will really get motivated. Then you can carry this achievement with you on to the next organization project.
Tackle the hardest thing straight away
If you start with something that you really can see the result and difference from. Then you should feel confident enough to tackle the hardest thing or the biggest challenge in your home. This might mean different things to different people.
When I started organizing my first apartment it was definitely my wardrobe. I had NEVER purged that wardrobe, it was a monster! It took days to get through all of the clothes, *I really wish I had known about the Konmari method at the time*. But once I got through it, the success made me feel soo happy and proud of my self. Also to some extent, it improved my confidence. Suddenly I didn’t have to dive into an ocean of clothes every time I wanted to wear something. I just went “shopping” in my own wardrobe.
Set reasonable expectations
Organizing a home is a marathon and not a sprint! Arm yourself with a reasonable time frame, realistic expectations and loads and loads of patience. I am telling you this so you don’t have to make the same mistakes as I did.
When I first started out I had this overpowering motivation to get things done. That is super useful when you are getting started, but I didn’t give myself reasonable expectations, I didn’t have a written action plan. So every time my energy runs out, which id does eventually. Even though I had achieved pretty marvelous things. I still felt like it was a failure because it wasn’t all done.
Don’t cut any corners
The best approach throughout the whole organizing project is to leave as little work for your future self as possible. For example:
- Throw away all trash.
- Store away only clean items. (Dishes, clothes, etc)
- Store things only in clean furniture or storage items.
- Try to be patient.
At some point be very tempting to just merge everything under your bed and forget about it. It feels amazing at the moment because everything looks tidy. Trust me, I have done just that more times than I can remember. Sometimes you just really want to envision how things will look once they’re done.
This behavior will long term bring down your motivation to organize, because if you bring yourself to start and you have to start with cleaning. It will feel like a horrendous chore. It is not the end of the world though, just brush it off and keep going!
You can also try to change your everyday chores and habits in small ways, to keep things uncluttered and clean at all times. It will make more impact then you think.
Organizing can be very frustrating, especially if you’re living together with others who also want a say in how things should be done. Be patient with others and yourself!
In a purging or decluttering process, a lot of emotions will be stirred up. It’s important to remember that is ok to take breaks and step away for a moment to reposition yourself.
Celebrate small victories
This is my personal favorite! Remember to celebrate small victories even though it might be something as very simple.
Celebrating in small ways really helps with motivation.
For example, taking a coffee pause and appreciating our hard work.
You can even plan in this small rewards in your plan if you like, to make sure you actually celebrate. You should also plan a big celebration for when you finish your organization project. You could plan a dinner-party or pamper yourself with something out of the ordinary.
Check-in with yourself
Organizing is very emotionally straining especially if you’re just starting out. You might also be dealing with negative thoughts and feelings and organization projects can actually stir up some of those feelings.
When I first started there was just so much guilt involved in not being able to keep my home put together. Let me just say this to you DROP THE GUILT! You can’t know, what you haven’t even learned yet. It is NEVER too late to start building the life you want. Take it from someone who realized this recently!
Organizing can be a really fun process. If you are feeling down take a step back, take the day of. Organizing and cleaning should not be used as some form of self-punishment. Your projects will be right there waiting for you when you feel better!
Lastly, I just want to add that organizing is an excellent way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I think in many ways I use cleaning and organizing as a way to handle my stress and anxiety. It makes me very happy and it makes me feel calm and in control. Naturally, I have to work on that in other ways as well, but organizing my home has made wonders for my wellbeing.
Naturally, you want to decorate your space once you have finished your organizing project. This is probably the thing most people look forward to the most, just remember that it is okay to invest in new home decor.
Sometimes I have finished organizing a room, the guilt over everything I have purged can out can kind of resurface. That makes me feel too guilty about buying a new thing. At the same time having things we love at home is what it is about, don’t save things you “kind-of-don’t-hate” out of guilt.
Instead, invest in things that truly makes you happy. There is a huge difference in not bringing anything new into our home and being intentional about what we bring. It really is ok to invest in your home. In the same way, we need to celebrate small victories we should also take pride in a home. Once we’ve finished organizing a room, it should become a room you love.
Hope you have enjoyed this blog post, let me know what you think in the comment below! I would love to know if you decide to start with an organization of a project of your own!
I have lot of other blog posts about the organization and cleaning check them out over here!
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