Aww… The thought of organizing bliss. We all have visions of the perfectly put together kitchen, the clean closet, the organized junk drawer, all of the laundry folded neatly and put away. We spend money on all sorts of pretty organizing items based off of the picture on the box. I cannot lie. I love going to TJ Maxx and looking at all the boxes and files. But as a professional organizer I know that these packages and products can only add to the clutter if not thought out correctly. Buying them will not magically organize me. I actually have to do the work.
Where Do I Start?
The most asked question that I got as a professional organizer was:
Where do I start?
I have a longer blog post here on the subject. The short answer is with yourself. You need to take care of what you want first. I know it seems selfish, but with all the giving you do during the day. (I know that you give till you can’t give anymore. Most of us women do.) It is time to give to yourself. Especially since you are longing for organizing bliss. So how do you start with yourself? This is a two part answer:
- Your physical space. Where do you do most of your personal creating? Where do you spend most of your time? Your room, a work space. Odds are this is the most messiest area and the place you really are complaining about. It is unlikely you are worried about the mess in the scary basement that you never go into. Your frustration is in the area you are thinking about when you “Want to get organized”. Start there.
- Your self. This is where the real work begins. This is also where the 5 tips to organizing bliss happens.
The 5 Tips to Organizing Bliss
#1 Find Your Why or “Why ask Why”
Becky told me that her main reason for organizing was to spend time with her kids. I respect and honor that. We all want to spend time with our loved ones. As we started to work together, I noticed that she was frazzled and was always looking for the next thing to organize and clean even after we had a game plan. I thought that she had lost sight of her “Why” she hired me. So I asked her again to gently remind her of her end goal. She said again to spend time with her kids. So I decided to change direction with her. Giving her a homework assignment to take 30 minutes that she was spending on folding her unending loads of laundry, and spend it in the playroom with the kids. Shutting the door to keep the distraction out. She dug in. She didn’t want to. She made excuses of how much needed to get done. We all do this. We all get caught in the moment of the emergency. This is Why we ask “WHY”, to keep our focus on what is important.
“Two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”
― Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Organizing is hard. Organizing is emotional. Organizing takes time and patience. You are going to need a reason Why you are doing this hard thing. You can only manipulate yourself in doing these tasks for so long. In order for you to keep up the organizing fight you have to have a Why. So how do you do this?
- Ask important questions. I have a list of those question in my free download.
Here are few questions to get you started.
- What is really important to you?
- How would you spend your time if you were organized?
- What fulfills me above all other things?
- Create a feeling. This is about organizing bliss, right? So start feeling the feelings that you want to have. What does it feel like to be organized? What would you have or not have in the space? Feel it in your body. How would you experience the feeling of being organized? Would you open the junk drawer 10-15 times after it was done just to see how beautiful it is? Feel that sensation. This is what Derek Rydell calls the LIFT practice or Living In the Feeling Tone. It gets your mind ready to receive the gifts of being organized. Instead of the dread.
Now that you know your why. It is time for step 2.
#2 Power Statement
After determining your ” Why” you probably feel ready to conquer the clutter. First we have to a touchstone. A goal to work towards. A focus tool. This is the power statement.
“There can only be one most important thing. Many things may be important, but only one can be the most important.”
― Gary Keller, The ONE Thing
What is the power statement? It is a tool to keep you motivated. A specific goal. A path to eliminate mental roadblocks. It has the power to change your limiting beliefs about your organizing life. (This Power Statement promises a lot).
An example of a Power Statement is:
Today is August 12, 2018 and I have an immaculate organized closet that has only clothes in them that make me look and feel fantastic.
There are a few elements to this statement here are a few:
- Specific to your organizing goal
- Reveals who you want to be
- Has a specific date of accomplishment
You can find out how to craft this powerful Power Statement in my free download.
Click Here for Your Free Personal Organizing Strategy
The magic happens when we apply this Power Statement. We apply first to our mental roadblocks. The roadblocks, that like Becky had, that keep us stuck. Secondly, to some concrete goals so we can finally take some action. (All of this self work makes my brain hurt.)
#3 Eliminate the Roadblocks
What roadblocks? (I just want to get started using those pretty products to get organized.) We all have emotional and mental roadblocks to getting organized in the area that is bugging the heck out of you. How do I know this? If you didn’t you would be organized in that area. It isn’t about time. It isn’t about containers. (Even though certain retailers spend money getting you to believe that.) It really isn’t about systems. Organizing is about you and what you believe about your conditions.
It isn’t about time. It isn’t about containers. Organizing is about you and what you believe about your conditions. –Tweet This
Let’s change your beliefs shall we?
We are about to embark on an environmental shift. A shift in perception and feeling. Remember that feeling you had when you imagined how it felt to be finally organized? We are going to fast forward to the date of your power statement and address any roadblocks that are stopping you to enjoy that feeling.
We do this by engaging the subconscious mind.
I want you to play a subconscious mind game here. You’ll have to trust me that it works. It seems silly and redundant but it is a powerful technique.
First, you are going to write your power statement in to three different points of view.
- First person (I am)
- Second person (You are)
- Third person (Charlene is–Or Your Name is)
Let’s use the example from above.
- Today is August 12, 2018 and I have an immaculate organized closet that has only clothes in them that make me look and feel fantastic.
- Today is August 12, 2018 and you have an immaculate organized closet that has only clothes in them that make you look and feel fantastic.
- Today is August 12, 2018 and (Your Name) has an immaculate organized closet that has only clothes in them that makes (Your Name) look and feel fantastic.
Now get 3 pieces of paper draw a line lengthwise (long ways) down the center. So that there is a left and right side to the paper. Start by writing the first person point of view on the left side of the paper. Then on the right hand side of the paper write any thoughts, feelings, emotions, gut relations you have to the statement down. Then write the statement again on the left side of the paper. Do as you did before and write those thoughts you have on the right hand side of the paper. Keep going on down the piece of paper (Statement – Feeling – Statement – Feeling) till you get to what you know to be your true base feeling about any limiting beliefs or road blocks that you have. Whew… your done with that exercise. No. You guessed it you do the same exercise for all 3 points of view statements.
Why are we doing this? I’m ready for some pretty containers.
I know this is hard but this will get you to stick to your personal organizing plan. Get through this exercise–you will be able to execute your plan effectively and be organized! With that let’s get to planning your personal organizing strategy.
“Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”― Albert Einstein
#4 Plan your Action or Commit your Action to Your Calendar
This step is much easier. Here are the actions you are going to take.
- Get a calendar. If you are ready for some design or fun things now you can get some printable on Etsy or visit my friends Etsy shop here.
- Put your power statement on the date you committed to on the calendar.
- Working backwards from that date decide what actions you will need to take in reverse order. If you want and example get your free personal organizing strategy.
- Tell someone about your commitment. Ask for help if needed.
That wasn’t so hard. Now you see the actions that need to be taken. Now on to where we actually do something physical.
#5 Take Action
Just work the plan right? Well yes. However, there are some things to consider that will make your organizing adventure easier.
Start small. Give your self a small win. Junk drawer today…whole kitchen tomorrow. Well almost tomorrow. Because of your planning you know the date that you will get that kitchen done by. 😉
Start with what is annoying you the most. Are you just annoyed that you always clutter up the one counter top? Start there.
Don’t worry or be frustrated if your tasks or plans don’t happen on the dates that you planned. Be ok with the fact that you are making progress no matter how or when. Don’t let one or two or 20 hiccups get you down. Life happens-keep going.
To help you on your journey here are a few book recommendations covered here:
- Start with Why — Simon Sinek
- The One Thing — Gary Keller
- Emergence — Derek Rydall
- Unstuff Your Life — Andrew J. Mellen
- Organizing from the Inside Out — Julie Morgenstern
For more tips and more comprehensive Personal Organizing Strategy. Download it here.