There are certain common themes I hear when working with new clients. Probably the most common one is, “I’m paralyzed and don’t know where to start.”
I understand this. When your whole home feels chaotic, where do you begin? The area that is driving you craziest? The first room people see when they walk in your home? The space you can do the quickest?
I think people get overwhelmed with organizing projects because they try to take on too much at once. They pick a HUGE project and then give up after two hours because “it’s hopeless.” Well, it isn’t, you have just taken too big of a bite of the elephant and maybe are choking a little!
Here are my suggestions on where to start:
1. Start with your car.
This is a space that most of you can clean in an hour or less and it will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. Plus, because you are in your car every day, you will get what feels to be a big bang for your buck.
2. Start with the place you usually enter the home.
For a lot of people, this is the mudroom or the front hallway. I do think there is something about what you first see when you walk in and if your first impression is “Oh crap, my house is a disaster” then that feeling is hard to shake, even if other rooms are clutter-free.
I know this is kind of goofy but even if you have a huge stack of mail lying on the counter, if you put that same stack of mail in a basket, it will look and feel better. The same holds true with any clutter. People are always giving great quotes about organizing. My favorite one right now is “Nobody ever said, ‘I regret organizing my home.’” But I think if I were to come up with a famous quote on organization it would be, “If in doubt, put it in a container!”
Okay, I know it isn’t super catchy, but there is truth there, for sure.
3. Pick any cupboard or drawer and start there.
Again, this is a project that you can finish in one sitting and it gets you moving. Try to do one drawer a day. Set realistic goals that can be accomplished in 20 minutes. If you are really nervous, do something that can be accomplished while watching TV. Take that huge pile of unmatched socks or pull out your kitchen junk drawer and sort away.
Another thing I’m always telling my clients (in a super-loving way, of course!) is that your house didn’t get this way in a day and it’s not going to “un-get” this way in a day. I’m not going to lie; the biggest problem I see is a lack of motivation. If I’m there, you have the accountability built in, which is a plus. But you can make it happen on your own if you just start small.