On Friday, I listed the 5 easiest places to organize in your home. That list is designed to help people ease into organizing if organization doesn’t come naturally to them. Today’s list tackles the 5 hardest-to-organize places in your home. The point of this list is to steer you away from starting with these difficult spots, because working in these areas without some smaller organizing successes under your belt may trip you up, leading to burn-out and abandonment of all future organizing projects. And I don’t want to see you give up on your dream of living a more organized life! So here is a list of where NOT to start organizing in your home:
5 hardest-to-organize spots in your home (#1 is the hardest):
5. Toys Toys are actually not too difficult to organize when you are by yourself. It’s when you are trying to help your children sort through them that you may run into problems. Any organizing project that involves asking your munchkins to make some decisions about THEIR things is going to take longer and be more fraught with conflict between you and them. Sure, you could organize their toys without their presence, and certainly if you have kids 4 years old or younger, I think that’s perfectly fine. But once your kids are a little older, you should get their input first so you don’t inadvertently toss their favorite toy. Here’s an older blog post I wrote about organizing kids’ spaces that will help you avoid stepping on major landmines once you work up to tackling this spot.
4. Clothes Clothes get put in the “hard” category because we tend to have a difficult time deciding what to discard when we know we paid a lot for an item, when we think we may fit into a particular garment again “someday” and just by the sheer volume of clothes many of us have in our closet (and in drawers, bins, in the basement, etc.) For this organizing project, you definitely need reinforcements in the form of a good friend who can be honest with you about what looks good on you and what you should definitely toss. And if she comes bearing a bottle of wine, all the better to make this challenging organizing task a tinge bit easier.
3. Sentimental Here, I’m talking about things such as old love letters, yearbooks, photos, your grown child’s baby clothes and schoolwork, tickets from old concerts, and other memorabilia that tends to make us feel something in our heart and stomach when we think about getting rid of any of it. Anytime we are sorting things with a lot of memories attached to them, we run the risk of getting distracted as we walk down memory lane (thus making the project take for-ever!) Sentimental items also tend to defy categorization, because they can be just about anything, making it difficult to follow the organizing principle of grouping like items together. You might want to consider calling in a professional organizer or at the very least, your most organized friend to help you at this point.
2. Craft supplies Wow. This is where it gets really hard. I have never worked with a crafter who owned only one type of craft supplies. Most crafters engage in a wide variety of crafts, meaning they have a wide variety of craft supplies in every conceivable size, shape and color. Lots of little items to sort means lots (and I mean lots) of little decisions to make. You will undoubtedly need to purchase some organizing supplies to store these items, and that means even more decisions to make. Plus the large volume of items to sort means this organizing project is going to take more than a few hours to complete. Professional organizer needed here if you are inexperienced or easily overwhelmed by the decluttering process.
1. Paper Without a doubt the hardest thing to organize in your home, because each piece of paper tends to be different from the next, making categorization formidable. We often stumble trying to figure out which papers we have to keep for tax or other reasons, and we tend to find ourselves bored out of our minds by the monotony of the task, which makes abandoning the project halfway very tempting (and very common). It’s difficult to know the best way to handle the different types of paper that come into our house and the best way to set up a filing system. Definitely get some help here so you can get it done right the first time.
So there you have it: where not to start your organizing project if you know that your organizing skills are not strong. I want to see you be successful in your organizing endeavors so you can achieve the house of your dreams. We have to walk before we can run. Start out by taking baby steps towards organizing and save these hard-to-organize spaces for a time when you can get someone to help you with them or after you feel like you have earned your black belt in organizing.
In the comments below, let me know if you agree that these are the most difficult-to-organize spots in your home. Do you have a different opinion regarding challenging spaces? Let me know!
Image courtesy of Flickr.