We’ve blogged about home organization and eliminating clutter before, but January is always a good time to revisit the topic. Did you know that every year, “get organized” falls somewhere on the top ten New Year’s resolutions list? We’re not just making this up, either. According to Nielsen, one of North America’s most well-known and reliable consumer statistics and information gatherers, “get organized” was #6 on the top ten list for 2015 (the most recent year for which such stats are available).
This tells us two things. One: there are a LOT of disorganized people out there, and TWO: most of them wish that they could be more organized, and some of them want it so badly they are willing to go to great lengths to make a real change.
So that’s why we decided to explore this topic again, because there is a good chance that YOU are one of those people! By the way, we get it. The struggle is real. Even the most organized people wish they could be more organized. In fact, many professional home organizers admit that they are not very organized in their own homes. So don’t sweat it, just check out this list of home organizing mistakes that we hope you’ll avoid in 2017, compiled from a variety of sources and home organization professionals:
1) Biting off more than you can chew. In other words, don’t set organization goals that are too big. In other words, instead of saying “this year I’m going to clean up the garage,” start with something more manageable, like “this year I’m going to get rid of all of the old paint cans in the garage and organize my tool box.” Not only is this more manageable, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment afterward that will make you actually want to move on to set a new goal.
2) Setting goals that are too broad. “Get more organized” is too broad a goal. Instead, think about what “get more organized” means to you. Would you like to spend less time hunting for lost papers on your desk? Maybe you wish your children’s closets didn’t have clothing in them from every size they’ve worn over the last five years. Maybe you just want to get into the habit of making your bed every morning. Setting several specific goals (keeping the previous tip in mind) instead of one broad one will help ensure success.
3) Buying more storage bins. The solution to clutter is not acquiring more things inside which to store that clutter. It might create the illusion of organization, but it’s really only compounding the problem, at best. At worst, it’s a sign of your denial that you may simply have too much stuff. (Hint: if you’re paying rent on a storage unit to house your extra stuff, you have too much.)
The first and most important step toward getting (and staying) organized is eliminating stuff that you really shouldn’t be keeping. Examples of such things include: books you’ll never read again, DVDs you’ll never watch again (it’s probably available for streaming or digital download anyway), clothes you and your family members haven’t worn in more than one year, toys your children no longer play with, old Christmas cards, items that you spent a lot of money on but have only used once or not at all (doesn’t matter what it is or how much it cost to purchase), things that you keep because someone you love gave it to you but you really don’t like it and/or never use it….. we could go on and on about this. But you get the picture. (If you have trouble parting with stuff, consider hiring a professional organizer for moral support.) Whatever you do, though, for the love of all things sane, DON’T BUY MORE STORAGE!
4) Going it alone. Maybe you are zealous about making a real change in 2017 when it comes to getting organized, but if your family/spouse isn’t on board, your plans are destined for failure. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to help you spend a whole Saturday going through boxes in the basement (although it would be extra nice if they did). What it does mean is that everyone who lives within the same walls as you needs to buy into the vision. If they don’t, they won’t follow your system because they just don’t care about it the way you do. Laying down the law might get you quick results in the short run, but your efforts will be lost after the passage of a few weeks.
Getting that family “buy-in” might mean sitting down together and you sharing your vision with them. Talk with them about some of the many benefits of getting organized (having things to give away to a charitable cause, having more space to play, being able to buy new things without worrying about where to put them, etc.). Ask them for their own thoughts on the subject as well as their organization ideas. Implementing some of their suggestions will also increase the chances that they will get on board with your vision.
5) Confusing “rearranging” with “reorganizing.” Sometimes, in an effort to get organized, home owners start moving things around. They rearrange the furniture, move a filing cabinet to another room, move the dishes from one cupboard to another, stack up all of the boxes in the garage, but at the end of the day, the house isn’t really any more organized. It’s just different.
Getting organized takes a lot of thought and pre-planning. Resist the urge to start shuffling furniture and boxes from one location to another. Instead, think about what your goal is, what means you have at your disposal to achieve that goal, and what kind of space you have to work with in order to be successful. Then act accordingly.
If you do have spaces in your home that just aren’t working for your lifestyle, consider getting some help from Tailored Living. This is a great time of year to think about getting a closet makeover. It will help you meet your organization goals, AND you’ll get a beautiful new closet. We can transform any size or style of closet into a pillar of organization and storage for your home.