Most of the time when I first start working with a new client it is because they have attempted to get organized on their own but made one or more of these easy-to-avoid mistakes:
-Buying products first. Please don’t do this, you really don’t need anything to start the process and if you are doing this without the assistance of a professional you are just starting off on the wrong foot by bringing more items into the space. The real work is assessing each item you have and deciding if you really need to keep it or if you are keeping it unnecessarily. Once you have assessed everything, you can go out and get pretty containers and a label maker and go nuts. Don’t put the cart in front of the horse folks.
-Not setting time aside. You will get nowhere fast in your organizing project if you think that it is just going to happen in the mystical ‘spare time’ we all think we will have but never really do. You must literally block off time, as with anything you don’t want to do, and just get it done. Block off more time than you think you need; once you get going you will be surprised how motivated you are to tackle other areas of your home.
-Starting too big. Especially if you are not working with a professional who has the experience to know how much time various projects will take, you want to start very small. I’ve seen many a client pull out every single item in their kitchen cabinets with the intent of a complete kitchen overhaul. What generally happens is they call me crying after a few hours because they realize it will take them way more hours than they have to get it all back in order. Don’t let this happen to you.
-Getting distracted. Turn off the sound on your computer so you don’t hear every single email ping. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb.’ Hire a babysitter or bribe a family member to take your kids to the movies. The less distracted you are, the quicker this whole process will go.
-Not actually getting rid of anything. The whole magic of organizing is that you purge yourself of stuff you’ve been keeping for no good reason and you free up more space to live and breathe. If you start out by just organizing and putting things into containers without assessing if you truly, honestly need to keep the item in the first place then you won’t get far. If you don’t start off with room to grow, your space will quickly go back to the way it was before you organized, maybe even worse.
-Not setting up the right systems. A system can be as simple as a paper tray next to your door where mail sits until you have time to open it. For some reason, people get intimidated when they hear the word “system.” It is just as simple as setting up a routine that works for your particular case and situation. For example, can your husband never get his clothes from the floor or the closet to the hamper located in the bathroom? Move the hamper (bonus points if it’s low to the ground and doesn’t have a top) into the closet right next to where the clothes come off and you will significantly up your chances of the clothes making it to their intended destination.