Starting an organizing project, whether it be the top of your desk or an entire room, can be demoralizing. It can seem like a huge, never-ending task, especially if the pile has been there for a while. Perseverance is key to conquering the clutter mountain! But it’s so easy to quit when you realize the project may take longer than an afternoon. Here are a few tips to keep you motivated to finish that organizing project:
1. Write down your reason for wanting to organize that space. Is it so you have a place to work more efficiently? So you feel comfortable having friends pop over for a visit? So your kids have a safe place to play? Write down your reasons and post them somewhere obvious so when you are tempted to quit, you are hit with a reminder of what you’re trying to achieve. Good places to post the reminder are on the refrigerator (where you procrastinate by getting a snack), on the bathroom mirror and on the back of the front door (where you are tempted to leave and go do something else!)
2. Work with a friend. Not just any friend. This friend should be someone who is calm and caring, a good cheerleader and not afraid to gently remind you to stay on task. It’s easy to lose track of time when you come across some old letters or photos, so this person’s job is to ask you, “Is this the best use of your time? Will this get you closer to a clear space?”
3. Set small enough goals that you can achieve them in a few hours. Then reward yourself for achieving that goal. For example, maybe your goal is to have your desk or dining room table cleared at the end of the afternoon. Then you reward yourself with a trip to your favorite coffee shop, a pedicure, a dinner out, a jog around the park, etc. Please don’t reward yourself by going shopping and bringing home more stuff!
4. Don’t know where to start? Work from left to right, be it your kitchen counter or the corner of a room. That way, you will be able to see the progress you are making. If you jump around, organizing a little here and there, you could work for hours and not see the results of your work. When the job starts to seem overwhelming, just remind yourself: left to right.
5. Remember to spend equal time focusing on what you’ve achieved as well what you still need to achieve. It’s so easy to only see the mess that remains and ignore the progress you’ve already made. That’s the quickest way to demoralize yourself I know! Stand back and take stock of what you’ve done, even take a photo. Knowing you’ve come this far will give you the fuel to go even further.
Awesome advice (#4 and #5 especially).