Organizing…it is word that sends chills down the backs of many. For some it’s the time that it takes. For others it’s an insurmountable task that is just too overwhelming to comprehend and for still others it is the physical and mental toll that organizing can take on someone. Especially in the case of downsizing, when you are moving from 2000 sq. ft. to 1000 sq. ft. or smaller.
I often tell people that organizing is a lot like a diet. You have to be committed to it and once you do it you see the benefits. Organizing can save you time, money and stress. I can’t think of better reasons to get organized.
But how can you possibly get rid of all the stuff you have collected, been given or hung onto for sentimental reasons over the years?
Well the first step in any organizing situation is to sort and edit. And this ladies and gentlemen is the hardest and longest part. So here are seven steps to make the process easier and smoother.
1. Start small – Pick an area that is not too difficult to go through. A cupboard in the kitchen or the shoes in the closet. Once you have completed that small area move onto another small area. It doesn’t really matter where you start just as long as you do.
2. Immediately get rid of things that you know you don’t want to keep. Setting up a recycling bag, garbage bag and donation bag in three different colours will help keep things organized. Especially if you are doing a large job.
3. For the items you do want to keep, ask yourself, have I used/worn this in a year? Do I see any use for it in the foreseeable future? Can someone else make use of this item? If you are downsizing, this part can be especially challenging but be sure to be honest with yourself. Keeping something that you never use only because it cost a lot of money, was a gift from someone or you might use it one day are not great reasons for keeping something and inevitably you will end up putting it back only to take it out a year later and think why did I keep this.
4. Try to stay focused, and this is where a professional organizer comes in handy, often, special items, pictures and other sentimental things can slow down the process tremendously as you stop to relive old memories. Having an unbiased outside party can help keep you track. Friends and family members can be helpful too but the odds are their focus is going to leave right along with you when you start thinking back on past events. It is important in an organizing situation to put those things aside and keep moving on. If there are a lot of pictures for example, put those aside in a picture box and you can come back to them when everything else is completed.
5. Expect that organizing will take twice as long as you think it will. The average amount of time I spend with a client is 6 hours and in most cases that is just one closet or one room. It can often take much longer if the person is downsizing. A whole house can take up to two weeks. Be sure to allocate extra time for the job and don’t expect to be able to run through it with lightning speed.
6. Realize your limitations, not everyone can spend six hours organizing at a time. Maybe 3 hours is preferable. Even 15 minutes a day can yield great results over a long period of time.
7. Start today! Maybe you’re thinking of selling your home down the road but you say to yourself, I don’t plan on moving for a long time, there’s no need to rush into things, which sounds good in theory but the longer you wait the more you accumulate and the older you get which lessens your physical capabilities.
Organizing doesn’t have to be hard and I am one of those crazy people that actually think it is fun! The best part for me is seeing the anxiety on someone’s face disappear after being paralyzed by their stuff for so long. Or to see them motivated to keep going on their own. A few of my clients have told me that after I left they were so motivated they organized a whole other room on their own. Which doesn’t seem like a lot but if organizing isn’t your strong suit this is a huge achievement.
Should you need any help getting started or if you have just moved in and need assistance don’t hesitate to give me a call. Calls are always free!