I know that feeling. You look around a cluttered, messy room. You want to pretend you’re three and just pull a blanket over your head. Where and HOW do you even start? Today, we are GOING to get started. And I’m going to give you some easy spots to start in.
First off, get started with my free 5-word organization challenge! It is going to help you simplify organizing, and hopefully see it in a new way! It’s even how I teach my kids to organize. I think you’ll love it!
Don’t miss my episode on the same topic:
Where to start organizing in a cluttered dirty room?
For me, I start in a corner. Then, I work in circles around the room as I get stuff done.
Things to consider:
Concentrate on Surfaces
If a room is super overwhelming, now is NOT the time to do a deep dive. Pick a spot to start, and then rotate around the room from that spot. When you feel like you want to quit, look to the area you’ve cleaned, and realize how great it looks. It will make you want to keep going!
If you can quickly wipe-down the surface as you go, the pay off is extra. I am a HUUUGE fan of cleaning the counters. It just feels good to see clean surfaces. I use this cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth (I get mine at Costco in the auto section, but those on Amazon are great too).
Why microfiber? I have a whole post on how much I love microfiber cloths, but their little fibers just clean faster. It makes me love them (although I hate how they feel on my hand — I remind myself they clean faster). There is no shame for wearing gloves as you do this!
Use a Timer
When I get super overwhelmed (and I want to be VERY clear that this feeling happens to me too — I don’t flit around like a fairy cleaning my house with a big smile on my face) I often think — I can do this for five minutes.
I find that when that timer dings at 5 minutes I just quickly finish the job. It feels so great, and the promise to myself that, if after 5 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore, I could stop — it gets me going!
Pro Tip: I often do this when the thought of exercising makes me want to die. If I get 5-10 minutes in and I want to quit I stop (but I most often just keep going).
Where to start if your whole house needs organizing?
I want to give you a few options to get started:
Start in Your OWN spot!
If other people living at your house are making it hard for you to get started, start in a spot that is JUST yours. This has a lot of benefits:
- You reap all the benefits, and YOU can keep it that way
- They might get jealous of how awesome your spot looks, and consider letting you work your magic with them too!
BTW, this is part of word #1 in my 5-word challenge. I also talk with my husband about how we split chores on my podcast.
Start in an area you’re in often
When you fix a clutter spot it is going to inspire you to move to other spots, to make your WHOLE house as amazing as that spot looked. If you start in a spot that you’re rarely in, you won’t see it as often (and you also won’t feel that sense of pride as you see it).
Pick something easy
If you have an area that you think will be quick and easy to get started in — start there! That sense of accomplishment will fuel you to keep going.
Things to do to stop procrastinating
Sometimes there are things involved in cleaning/organizing that make it so I don’t get started, or I feel overwhelmed by it.
Set up a table
As I am getting older it is harder for me to bend down, or work on the floor. If I’m going to “set up shop” in an area that has room for it, I often bring in a card table. It is easy to set up and take down.
It allows me to categorize things on a surface that doesn’t make me bend down or sit on the floor (and keep getting up — see my note about exercising above).
Just split off the area you want to work on (even if it’s just a mental “split”).
I have zones in my kitchen — but most rooms have zones. Things like:
- one drawer
- one shelf
- one counter
But, like I said — even if your area doesn’t have a set “zone” — you can mentally make one, and just do that part!
Honestly, the smaller the better. SO many people say they want to “organize their dining room” when there is FEET of stuff on the dining room. Section it off, get started, and move to the next zone next time!
Set that timer!
See a theme here? Decide how much time you have to get organizing and set a timer.
Sometimes, I set the timer for 5 minutes and just pull things out for 5 minutes, and then I take the rest of the time to sort, declutter and, clean the area and put it back.
Get some bins
Sometimes setting up to organize can be hard. I always have a few bins with me:
- Goes somewhere else
You can use boxes, laundry baskets (I love these folding ones), or plastic totes. Just use something, that way when you go to the next room, you’re all set up.
Realize it’s a sunk cost
Sometimes we spend so much time beating ourselves up that our house has gotten this way that we aren’t able to see clearly to work.
How your house looks right now is how your house looks right now.
It is a sunk cost.
Now is the time to make a choice to do better, now that you know better.
The beauty is that each hour of each day (even each minute) we can enact change in our lives and truly make a difference in how our house looks, even how our kids act.
Sometimes it all just feels so powerless, but really it doesn’t have to.
Get an Organizing Buddy!
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