Five Mistakes to Avoid When Organizing Your Home

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Organizing Your Home

    1. Thinking with an all or nothing attitude.  You don’t have to get rid of everything in your house and make massive changes the first day you decide to organize your home. Or ever, really. Small changes can be just as important. A client recently moved a coat rack from the basement storage to beside the front door. This will be incredibly useful when winter comes in the US.
    2. Listening to others or comparing yourself to others.  Your sister might not have the same priorities as you have. I’m sure you don’t have the same butterfly scarf collection that your neighbor has. Without the same interest in organizing and without the same idea of what organized even means, why would you follow someone else’s organizing plan? Think of it this way. Ask three women to describe a perfect meal, a perfect man, or a perfect car. There will be three different answers for each question. So why should we all have the same idea of a perfectly organized home? Listen to what is good enough for you and your family.                                                                                 
    3. Reacting to an event. They tell us to wait at least a year after a tragic event like divorce or a death before we make major changes. While you may be tempted to bitterly throw out all memories of your ex soon after a divorce, you may regret that with a little time. The day after my friend’s mother’s funeral, her dad loaded up all of his wife’s china collection and serving dishes along with her clothes and took them to a donation center.  He didn’t tell his kids. This reaction wasn’t even therapeutic for him as he regretted it two days later. Unfortunately, my friend wasn’t able to find any of the stuff he donated, stuff she really wanted. Give yourself some time after an event to decide what you want to keep and what you want to give. I still sleep in my dad’s t-shirt sometimes and he has been gone 6 years. I took it from his closet 7 months after he passed away.
    4. Getting overwhelmed. It is too easy to look at a project and feel overwhelmed. I encourage my clients to break their work into smaller and smaller chunks. Molly and I were working on her study recently. It was a big room with multiple bookcases, a computer cabinet, stacks of boxes on the floor, and flat surfaces covered with stacks of paper. Molly wasn’t sure where to start, so I suggested starting with the bookcases. But even then, I suggested she pick one bookcase. Then I asked her to pick one shelf on the bookcase she had chosen. Narrowing the work down to a small confined area and accomplishing her goal there gave her motivation to do another shelf and another shelf until  all the bookcases were finished. 
    5. Believing it’s once and done forever. Organizing is a process. Maintaining organization is a process. If you organized your space and no one ever touched it again, no one visited, no meals were made, no fun was had, it would remain completely organized. But once a child or a visitor or even you walk back into it, the dynamic has changed and the possibility for some disorder is there. AND THAT’S OK. No matter how much I love organizing, I love life more. Granted, once things are organized and systems are put into place it is easier to keep your space organized, but it remains a process that needs maintenance.

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