Concerns about where to start an organizing project keep many from ever starting. If you don’t start, it will get worse over time. Learning How will put you in the right frame of mind. Let me reassure you, it doesn’t matter where you start. Just pick one. I like to start at the room that is bothering you the most.
Sometimes there is so much clutter it is hard to know where to start. Heck, even if you know where to, it’s just hard to start because of the feeling of overwhelm that can be brought on by clutter. Those feelings happen even for organizers who know what they are doing, like me.
It might help to define clutter in the first place. Clutter is Unmade Decisions. All of these tips will get you started and help you practice making decisions. As you get better at decisions, less clutter will happen. It’s all connected.
So, what do I do to breakthrough the overwhelm quickly so I can focus on one area at a time? I have a few tricks for different types of clutter that are typical in certain rooms (they can happen anywhere though) and if you do these things first, the feeling of overwhelm will be lessened and you can then approach the project from a motivated place.
1In every area you organize, start by tossing the obvious trash. You know there is always trash about. Look for the packaging and the broken bits first and get them out of the way. Expired coupons, empty used envelopes and bottles, and dried up glue can also go.
We are looking for less volume of stuff to make the harder decisions about here. The actual physical space the trash is taking up is hindering your ability to make good decisions about the rest of it. Reduction first will help the end result last.
2Everything ends up in the kitchen. Before you start arranging the stuff in the cabinets, get non-kitchen items out of your way. This may be a good time to review with others in the house. Is Your Clutter a Communication Issue?
Create a pile of stuff that belongs in another room – subdivide it into each room. So all the toys will end up in the kids room and the tools in the garage.
Make the trips to the other rooms with the appropriate stuff in you hands. And leave it there, even if it doesn’t have an official home yet.
3Reading material tends to pile up in the living room. As it gets scattered and scooted out of the way while you look for the remote, it can end up bent, spilled on, dusty and outdated. In other words, it becomes overwhelming and unpleasant to work on.
That unpleasantness can be minimized if you square up paper piles and reading materials. A heap reads as about twice as much clutter as it actually is. A neat pile of magazines seems like it is supposed to be there, where as a heap looks like you dropped it and never came back to fix it.
The experience of making decisions will be less overwhelming. For more quick living room tips Simplify Any Room for Easy Living.
4Eliminated most of the overwhelm in the bathroom by working on one drawer and shelf at a time. Quickly toss all items that have been wrecked because you opened them or because they have expired. Yes I know that some of those pills are technically still effective but this is a decluttering exercise and I will share this article about why you shouldn’t have very many leftover medications anyway!
Now with a bit of clear space you can focus on turning your bathroom into a wonderful relaxing place to perform you absolutions. For all the steps Simplify Your Bathroom will help.
5Your home office is notorious for harboring lots of clutter. I’ve seen it before. Now is the time to let go of items that are not complete enough to work. Start with that stuff you have kept until you get, find or buy the part that will make it useful. Because, you haven’t used it in the meantime, you have just felt bad about it and that’s not fun.
Don’t know what that cord goes to? Think you need that one part because someday something might happen? Think again, What to do Boxes and Cords, will set you straight.
Did you notice the consistent theme through all the tips? Start with the obvious, decrease the volume, focus on what’s left one area at a time. For more ways to keep the clutter under control, Stuff Creeps In will give you some more good stuff to lighten your load.