There are some tell-tale signs that you need to do some organizing. And they usually revolve around what you can’t find or can’t do easily in your space. Or in your life.
In fact, these four signs are more of an indication that is time to minimize, first, then organize it. I know you hate to hear that there is a step in there about letting go first. And I know, if you are like most people, you want to get organized and do so quickly.
Who doesn’t like a little instant gratification?
I certainly do. But when it comes to the entirety and enormity of the task of “getting organized”, it is best to not only understand it takes time. It also helps to more fully clarify first what is organization.
Here is what organization is: It is a way to find what you need, when you need it, with less stress and frustration. It is the process of taking what you have determined has meaning and worth and setting it up in a way that makes sense to you, and for your preferred way of operating. Having too much, of anything, in any space will always make organizing more difficult. And it will make staying organized nearly impossible. At the least, it will prevent you from feeling fully free or unencumbered in your space.
Here are four signs your home is overdue for some minimizing – and some organizing solution to get functioning better.
1. You can’t park your car in the garage.
One of the rules of getting organized is to have a clear vision of what the purpose is for the space you are organizing. I would assume that a garage’s purpose would be to park a car and perhaps store outdoor games and equipment. If you can’t get the car in the garage, and yourself in and out of the car easily, it is time to look at what is cluttering the space. Therefore, you should pare things down to what is needed and used, group your like items together. And then set up some systems. Consider vertical systems (like this customizable track system) using the walls for storage. Hang the bulkier outdoor equipment like bikes, and consider a sturdy shelving unit to house [preferably in] clear bins other outdoor games, gardening equipment, tools, or things for car maintenance. And then, enjoy parking your car in your garage for a change.
2. You can’t easily close dresser drawers
The purpose of the drawers is to store clothes but I believe it is to be done with specificity. If your dresser drawers are exploding you need to assess what is in them. Purge what you don’t like, need, or use. And organize drawers by specific function. Instead of having one bulging drawer of all t-shirts and long-sleeve shirts with perhaps a few tank tops thrown in you will either divide the drawer or assign specific drawers to those, and other, clothing categories. Organizing by setting up boundaries in this way helps you see what you have more easily, makes it easier to keep the area tidy, and, importantly, helps prevent excess.
3. You can’t find anything to wear in your closet
What you can’t find easily is anything that you actually like to wear. And that is usually because you have too many things crowding the space that are old, dated, uncomfortable. Sometimes, you keep things like that to give you a sense of having enough. But if you aren’t wearing the items you are only serving to keep the space stuffed.
It is time to get honest with yourself and remove what you don’t like, need, or use and anything that doesn’t belong in that space. Then you can more easily see a system for order and feel a sense of ease when in the closet. When organizing, I suggest you use streamlined hangers to save on space and then hang things by like items (all dresses, all blouses, all sweatshirts). Simply put, grouping your clothes will allow you to see what you have more clearly. And almost guarantee you’ll never again have a hard time finding something to wear.
4. You can’t find the kitchen table let alone sit and eat at it.
The heart of the home is often the kitchen. The place we can gather to talk, laugh, and eat together. But it is hard to do those things when you can’t find the counter to prepare a healthy meal. Or the kitchen table to sit and enjoy that meal. Not being able to see flat surfaces in places like the kitchen is often a paper problem. And the result of unmade decisions, which we know by now is a recipe for clutter.
If your space is stuffed with paper, sort out what is needed from what can be shredded, recycled, or tossed. Take one pile at a time to do this work. Often the paper you need to keep is temporary and requires a phone call or an email to resolve or pay. Set up a command center in your kitchen (or office) and have in it one pad of paper to make a running list of to-dos or things you need to get off your mind, one graduated sorter to contain projects and specific to-dos, and one small incline sorter to catch any bills or correspondences of a similar size. When paper comes in, use the supplies to sort your to-dos, file the necessary, and trash or recycle the rest.
And with the unmade decisions? The simple solution is to put things where they belong. Don’t let the kitchen counters, or any flat surface for that matter, be the resting place for anything that belongs elsewhere.
A little minimizing, some systematizing, and tidying up will do wonders in keeping your spaces clear. And you feeling prepared – and less chaotic – for all that is to come.