Take a quick look around. See clutter?
If you answered Yes, how long do you think it will take you to organize it?
1. No problem – 10 minutes or less
2. Roughly the same length of time it takes to watch Modern Family (which is, honestly, far more appealing)
3. There aren’t enough hours in a decade to handle this mess
If your answer was #3, I’ve got good news for you – This is simply not true. Most of us tend to think organizing our clutter is going to take much longer than it actually will, which is why it tends to keep piling up – it’s just too daunting.
However, the real truth is that it can be done a lot quicker than you think. Since spring is (hopefully) just around the corner, let’s use the garage as an example. And if we were to look at organizing like a recipe, it would likely look something like this:
1 cup of concentrated time (preferably in a high energy part of your day)
4 tablespoons of tools (garabage bags, recycling bin, donation pile, hazardous waste)
1 package of energy boosting music
*Optional: 1 glass of ‘fun’ (for hot days, we recommend something in a pale ale)
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, set the timer. Organizing a large space can be really overwhelming if you commit an arbitrary number (ie: “I’m going to clean the garage today”). 1 cup of concentrated time needs to be something specific and reasonable based on your energy levels and the scale of the project. If you’re unsure how long it will take, start with 1 hour. And, if after 1 hour you’ve had enough, then walk away. No guilt. No remorse. You committed one hour and you completed one hour. Good for you. Pat yourself on the back and move on to something else.
If, however, you are determined to get it done, keep in mind that quick decisions are the key to success. Don’t dwell on an object. If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it. If you find you do use it, but it’s not supposed to be in the garage, then establish a pile of objects that need to be taken someplace else. DO NOT take it where it needs to go. Not only does it waste time and energy but if you’re in ‘clean up’ mode, you’ll invariably find an object in another room that needs to be taken care of and it’s far too easy to stray off course. Keep your favorite tunes cranked, your glass half full and your mind on the prize – you can do this!
Sometimes, when I’m organizing, I get the mantra from ‘Finding Nemo’ in my head: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Because that’s really all it is. Break it down into small pieces, deal with one thing at a time and just keep chipping away.
So, what happens when your time is up? First of all, congrats! You set a goal, stuck to it and now have a cleaner, more organized garage to show for it. But don’t let the momentum stop there – don’t forget that you still have to deal with the piles of donations, garbage, recycling and waste.
If you’ve got some time, it’s likely worthwhile to save some cash and take care of the items yourself – drop off the donations at your local Sally Ann, take the big stuff to the dump, drop off your waste at a local firehall and throw your recycling in the big green bins. Whatever you do, try to deal with it as quickly as possible – the longer it sits there the less likely you are to deal with it.
So the next time you’re ready to tackle a space, keep the recipe in mind, set realistic expectations, and, above all, cut yourself some slack and don’t take it too seriously.
Happy Organizing! (and Happy Easter!)