Time for a fresh start. A new year is here! As the bustle and festivities of the holiday season fade, the promise of a new beginning breathes hope into the darkest and coldest months ahead.
The common practice of making a New Year’s Resolution sets us on a course of seeking to better ourselves in the year ahead. We are determined to make positive changes that will affect our health, our relationships, our productivity, etc. But in spite of the noblest intentions, we all know there are countless barriers to achieving lasting change.
Some of the top New Year’s resolutions are focused on losing weight, improving health, and getting organized. There are, of course, countless others, but as a professional organizer, I see the struggle to clear the clutter on a daily basis. What gets in the way?
We generally get tripped up by two main factors: how much and how long.
Roadblock #1: Too much too fast
You see an area of your life that can clearly improve through some concentrated effort. This is the year you want to get your house organized! You have big plans! Determined that you’ll work diligently on each cluttered corner, you’re going to plunge in. You’ll tackle the rooms on the first floor and plan to finish them by mid-January. But then you open your stuffed-to-overflowing hall closet and are completely overwhelmed!
Solution: While it’s important to have an end goal in mind if the project is too vast, it will be easy to get overwhelmed. So if you want to get the whole house organized, picture it, imagine it! But now break down each space in your home that needs attention into smaller tasks. For example, just look at the hall closet and make that your primary task. Then break that down into sub-tasks: What exactly is in there? Most likely coats, right? Focus only on them. Then look at the shelf above and work there.
A hall closet might only take a couple of hours, but a kitchen or bedroom could take several time blocks. Prepare yourself that each area is its own project—working towards a larger goal.
Roadblock #2: Wanting to change overnight
How long did it take for your home to become cluttered? We can’t expect to make lasting changes in a matter of hours or days when it took weeks, months, or even years to create the current state. After all, going back to the hall closet example, you can easily sort through the things you expect to find there. But what if you discover a mysterious box filled with papers and photos? This unexpected detour will slow you down. Your goal to get finish your project by noon has been thwarted and you find your expected time has doubled…at least!
Solution: Are you in this for the long haul? Do you really want an orderly home? Then allow yourself to slow down. Stretch out your timeline and be ready to shift your expectations as you encounter surprises, setbacks, and delays. The key is to learn what is a realistic pace and to stay motivated to stick to your goal. You don’t want burn-out and discouragement to rob you of your hope for change.
As you make 2018 your year to get organized (healthier, stronger, etc.), consider each step toward your goal a personal victory.