If you go about it the wrong way, organizing clutter can turn into a huge undertaking. Avoid these seven mistakes and you won’t get bogged down in a project that you can’t finish.
1. Believing that clutter is permanent.
Just because you’ve been living with it for a long time doesn’t mean you have to continue to put up with clutter. Sometimes we get numb to the conditions in our lives. But, it’s a mistake to think that anything in your life cannot be changed. Are you still breathing? Then it can be changed.
2. Losing patience.
Once you understand that you can change the clutter that has been choking your life, decide to treat yourself compassionately while you go about organizing clutter. Don’t lose patience with yourself or with the process, there is an end to this tunnel and you’ll be out of it sooner than you think.
3. Trying to organize without purging.
Organizing clutter is a bit of a misnomer; unless you have unlimited space and resources, you are never going to be free of clutter if you’re not willing to let some of it go. You have to purge what you no longer use, throw away what is trash, and then organize what’s left over; the things that are actually contributing to your quality of life at the moment.
4. Buying organizing tools before examining your needs.
Sometimes the organizing bug bites hard, and before you know it ,you’ve spent a small fortune on new containers, shelves, tubs, cabinets and a host of other organizing goodies. Maybe you even torture your clutter into those new containers, but without a clear idea of what your particular needs are, it’s only a matter of time before clutter sneaks back into your life.
5. Failing to designate a permanent “home” for every item in your house.
If something in your house doesn’t have a place where it’s supposed to be, then won’t it always be out of place? I know it sounds like a real drag to have to think about where every little thing is supposed to go. But that’s why they invented grouping! Think a little bigger. Maybe there could be a place where all the remote controls go? A place for magazines? A place for newspapers? This type of thing also makes it easy to keep the other people in your house accountable.
6. Failing to get the support of everyone in the house.
Let’s face it, you can get rid of clutter. But, you can’t keep it out without the cooperation of everyone who lives there. If other people are not on board, you’re in for a frustrating time. Don’t wait to see what happens. Ultimately everyone functions better without clutter tripping up their space. So, be proactive and have a talk with your family before you begin. Let them know how important this project is to you, and what’s in it for them in the long term.
7. Not having a good and simple plan.
This is the worst mistake you can make when it comes to trying to tame the clutter beast. The old refrain, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is as true as ever. Going at it without a plan is a recipe for disaster. Let me tell you what will happen: Unless you can block out a week or two and do nothing but organizing clutter, you’re going to have to stop at some point. You’re going to be tired, dusty and grouchy. You’re going to look around and see that, unbelievably, your house looks worse than when you started and you’re going to give up. I know this because it’s happened to me many times, before I finally got it right by starting with a plan. Save yourself time and frustration.
Post from Joesph Merton, author of howtodecluttermyhouse.wordpress.com. Joesph Merton is a recovering clutter collector. You can read more about his fight against the evils of clutter, information on decluttering, and what’s been working for him by visiting his site.