The #1 question I get from participants in my 5 Word Challenge is WHERE TO START? In today’s episode, I am sharing a few ideas on where to start and get going on making a change in your home!
This episode was inspired by a recently-written post — Where to Start Organizing? It’s a great post that gives more details on this big question.
** Don’t forget to leave me a review just like Turtle03 did! Just some stars, or a few words — it is SO helpful for me!
Big thanks to our sponsor The Organized Home. A GREAT way to get started on making a change.
Not sure you want to invest in the whole big course — I have a free 5-Word Challenge that is awesome-sauce. Sign up here! That course is hosted in my online classroom, so you do have to make a user name/password etc.
In this episode:
- Kitchen Organizing Zones
- A card table is something like this.
- I have a whole post on the sunk cost
- I love me some timers
Other things that might interest you:
- Motivation to Clean
- My Minimalist Wardrobe
- Kitchen Organizing Hacks
- Podcast episode on the glory of good enough
Producer: Drew Erickson
Listen to all of our household tips podcasts:
Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys. Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast! Today, on Episode 25, we are talking about my most asked question by people in my organization course. We are going to talk about how there is really no right answer to this. But, you know, by giving you ideas, you might find your right answer for that time and that circumstance. And I’m also going to give you, a few tips on organizing, when it just seems overwhelming. And these things sometimes help pull me through and make it so I can get started. Let’s untangle it.
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting, home routines, even some family travel because, heavens knows, our lives are tangled. I’m your host Hilary Erickson.
Hey guys, before we dive in, I want to give a big thanks to Turtle03 she left a review on Apple podcasts and I am so appreciative of it. She says, “Dude, I’m sharing this with all my first time mom friends. From the very first episode to the newest one, you’re hooked, and you get into the info that actually helps. You must listen to this podcast.” Thank you Turtle03, you’re my best friend. I appreciate it when everyone leaves reviews for us on the podcast. You can leave stars, you can leave words, all of it matters. I really appreciate it.
Okay guys, my number one question from my home organization course. And, my challenge is, “where do I start?” Now, honestly, there really is no right place. And I always think it’s funny that they’re asking me, “where should I start?” Because, I’m not at their house. I don’t know. I have no idea what their house looks like. It just shows that you’re really overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start because, in fact, you don’t even want to begin. And people, I have 100% been there. I organized my mom’s pantry last fall and, like, cans had exploded. It was just kind of a mess. You know, just you’d ignored it like you do sometimes with your pantry and I looked at it and I just wanted to like curl up in the corner, suck my thumb, get in the fetal position, and the whole nine yards. I did not know where to start.
So I want you to know that this is a really normal feeling. And sometimes, it really helps me to be, like, “when I start this big project, I am not going to know where to start and that is normal.” And I need to get past it so I can get started on the project. Before we get into the gist of this, I want to remind you guys that I have a Five Word Challenge… That, these five words are going to change how you see organizing. It’s going to give you a place to start. It’s totally free. I’m going to put the link in the show notes. Anyway, people love the Five Word Challenge. Check it out.
This episode of The Pulling Curls Podcast is sponsored by The Organized Home: the realistic way to manage your home reduce clutter and clean less. Ever wished you could relax with Netflix rather than worrying about the state of your home or that lost paper you need? No more needing hours to prep for company! Be prepared for any doorbell. Let’s simplify organizing so you can enjoy life more. Save 15% with the coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find it at pullingcurls.com and the menu under courses or in this episode’s show notes.
Okay, so I’m kind of splitting this into two things. If you are in a room, like you’ve decided which room you’re going to do, but you just don’t know where to start in the room. I would pick a corner and I would concentrate on surfaces. So… It’s really easy. You know, I guess if you can’t walk in the room, you’re going to have to concentrate on the floor first. But you know, if everything just seems really cluttered, I always recommend starting in like, one corner of the surface and just starting moving, because as you get those surfaces cleaned off, then you can bring the things that are on the floor, or the other items that need to be organized, and put those on the surface. If you get the surfaces cleared, it is the best way to start. I think. I mean, clearly, again, no right way to do organizing. Whatever way gets it done, honestly is the right way.
But, most often people are just looking at a giant, cluttered house and they’re like, “I have no idea where to start. This house is huge. Every room needs to be redone.” So I have a few ideas. I have three ideas on where you could start in your house. So, the first idea is your own spot. Sometimes it’s easier to declutter something that is all just your own; like your closet, your dresser, your area of the office, or whatever. Because no one’s gonna mess it up. Because nothing’s worse than decluttering something in your house and then your kids come along and… Like a tornado comes along and boom. But, if you start in one specific area of your house, and really tidy that up, then… A lot of times that just feels really nice, it stays done, and you have complete ownership of it, which is kind of nice.
Another area you could start is an area that you’re in often. Now, the benefit of this is you’re going to realize all of the benefits of organizing that area. Because you’re there all the time, it’s going to change a system that you use frequently, you’re going to see the benefits all the time, and you’re going to think, “I want to do this and other areas of my house.” So that’s kind of the nice thing of someplace that you’re in often. One other idea is an easy spot. So if you’re just super overwhelmed, there might be a spot in your house where you think, you know, “I can get that done really quickly.” And again, you’re going to see the benefits. It’s going to be like an addiction soon and soon you’ll be zooming through your whole house because you realize it really wasn’t that hard and other areas aren’t going to be that hard and you can make a difference.
Okay, let’s talk about some tips on getting started. So sometimes again, I sometimes (I mean all the time)… it can be so overwhelming to see an area that you need to work on. So, one of the things I do is set up zones, some places it’s really easy to know where the zone is. Because it is a cupboard, or a shelf, or a drawer. And so that’s kind of the zone of that area. But, sometimes you have to set up mental zones to say, “Okay, I’m just gonna go to this area of the countertop today.” By setting a boundary for yourself, that zone is a little bit easier to accomplish.
Another thing that I do is I sometimes set up a card table in the area. Sometimes the surfaces are hard to declutter when everything’s already covered. Like when I did my mom’s pantry, I set up a card table in her area because there really wasn’t any other surface to put the things on. So by setting a card table up, I removed the boundary of me putting things on the floor and then having to squat down, look at those things on the floor or having to walk into another room and putting all the things over there. I had the room for the card table. It was easy to put it where it was. And, it was a lot easier to just quickly organize things on the card table. And then put them back, versus having to haul them somewhere else or putting them on the floor, or getting to the floor and trying to organize things on the floor. I guess, I’m just, I’m not at a stage in my life where getting on the floor is that easy anymore. So using a table a lot of times, helps me.
Another thing you can do is to get bins to help you organize. So you always want to have three bins, you want to have a donate bin, a garbage bin, a move to another room bin. And so, by having those bins, it easily helps you sort things and things just go quicker and easier because you have those bins! And, by having those bins, the next time you go to another room, you already got them, it’s easier to get started because you already kind of have your system going. That’s awesome.
My best tip is to use a timer. So a lot of times when I’m super overwhelmed by something, I’ll just grab my phone. I’ll set 5 to 10 minutes. I’ll pull everything out in those 5 to 10 minutes. And then, after that, I’ll quickly declutter it, decide how it’s going to go back, put it back and then I’m done. And it really helps me to say, “I can do this for 5 minutes, but I’m not sure that I can do this for the rest of my life.” Because you look at the- the decluttering, and you think, “This is going to take forever!” Now, news flash, it is not going to take forever. There may be really big tasks in your house. And that is okay. And that is going to be difficult and not very fun, but it will not take forever. And honestly, I always find that it takes much less time than I anticipate. I could look at an area and think, “This is going to take me 4 hours.” And it really takes me half an hour. And I’m sort of embarrassed when I’m done. That it was such a big deal. It’s so hard for me to do. But really, getting things done is not that hard. You’ll be surprised by how little time it takes. It just feels like it takes like a long time. Because it’s so many decisions that can be draining all those kinds of things. It’s overwhelming, I get that.
Finally, a lot of times when you don’t know where to start, it’s because you’re overwhelmed at the poor choices that you’ve made in this area. The poor choices that you bought. The poor choices that you just didn’t put things away the first time. And I want you to realize that those are a sunk cost. I have a whole post on what a sunk cost is. But, basically, it’s letting go of the choices that you’ve made and moving on. That cost is already paid. Now it’s time to move on and make a change in your new life. And so, don’t spend time wallowing at all the poor choices that you’ve made. Everyone makes poor choices. Even though we don’t talk about and we’ve all bought clothes we didn’t wear. We’ve all bought storage bins that didn’t end up working out. We’ve all got stuff in our house that we don’t use that we should probably chuck. All of us have that. We just don’t talk about it very much. So don’t wallow in the self-pity that you’ve made poor choices. It’s not unusual.
So that’s the thing, get past the sunk cost. Dive in, pick a spot, pick a zone and get going. This is why people love The Organized Home. I’m going to encourage you to just pick your spot and get started. It is organized room by room. So when you decide, “Okay, I want to start in my bedroom.” You can watch my videos, you can watch my advice, my pictures, and get started in your own room. Plus, we have a Facebook group where people can jump in and give each other ideas, which is so awesome! I love that part of The Organized Home.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. I just want people to understand that it is a very normal feeling. I organize things quickly and well. But it is still really overwhelming when I come into a situation where I have to organize a bunch of things. In fact, just the other day, we got rid of my sewing cabinet. And we got some IKEA furniture and I had to move the things from my sewing cabinet into the IKEA furniture. And I just looked at it. And I could just feel the anxiety in me rise as I looked at all these things that I needed to put away. And, of course, with sewing, there’s like, all these tiny little things. So you’re just like, “how am I going to organize them? I had them in a thing in the sewing cabinet.” But that doesn’t work in these IKEA things. You guys know the feeling. It is normal. So I just want you guys to remember that.
If you’d like to know more about where to start, I actually…. This was inspired by a post that I just wrote and I will link to that in the show notes. If you’re looking for more information on this, there’s a podcast menu item at pullingcurls.com or you can go to pullingcurls.com/podcast. Today’s episode is number 25. Again, big thanks to the sponsor of this episode of The Organized Home. If you don’t think you can join the Organized Home right now, join the Five Word Challenge. You are really going to appreciate it. It’s free. I put it out there because I really want people to get a good start on organizing their homes.
And, of course, if you liked today’s episode, I would love it if you would share, subscribe, and leave a review. It really means a lot. And don’t forget to tell your friends and family. It really helps when you share it on social media. I really appreciate it. We drop an episode every Monday and we hope to have you with us next time. And until then I hope you have a tangle free day!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai