How to Start Organizing – Easy Steps To Get You Started!
Where do I begin to explain to you where to begin organizing? When it comes to organizing, the first question I am always asked is, “Where do I begin?” followed by, “How do I do it?” Hopefully I will answer both of those questions for you today.
I am addressing organizing first instead of cleaning (there is a difference) because you really can’t clean properly if you don’t have things organized.
I will try to give you hints and ideas about how to do things over the next few weeks but that will take time. For those of of you who read the story, “When Queens Ride By”, I am sure you are all excited to jump in and start cleaning right now. (Well, maybe you are at least thinking about it.) To prevent you from committing organizing suicide and to keep you from crashing and burning, here is “Organizing 101″ in a nutshell.
Stand Up and Move
Toss and Store
These two things just about cover it. It is so simple it can be confusing, so let me explain. First you just need to make yourself do it. Stand up, move and start to work. Don’t keep sitting there thinking someone else is going to wave a magic wand over everything and it will get clean. Don’t think that after weeks of debating the details of this cleaning product and that one you can now pick one, spritz it in the air and miraculously everything will get clean.
Don’t be deceived. Spending hours studying and talking about the best cleaning products or the best ways to clean is not actually cleaning. It is just another excuse to keep you from cleaning. I once read a quote that said, “Ideas are funny little things. They don’t work until you do.”
I hate to break the news to you, but you are going to have to work. It’s like our grandmothers said– You will have to use good old-fashioned elbow grease. We have yet to invent anything to replace it. I’m sorry but that is just the way it is. We have got to stop being mentally and physically lazy and get busy– busy taking care of your home and family, not busy doing anything and everything to avoid the difficulty of taking care of your home.
Mentally, you will have to think and plan. Do I need this or not and if I do where do I put it? You can’t have your mind wandering, thinking about what you are going to wear to so and so’s wedding, what you are going to have for dinner and how are you going to fix Bobby’s bed. Keep focused on the job at hand.
Walk into the room that needs to be clean, pick a spot and start doing the next step, which is toss and store. Every item your hand touches needs to be tossed in a trash bag, in a give-away box or placed in the place you are going to store it. It is just that simple.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you clean:
1. Recruit help if you can. A friend, spouse, aunt or mother… Someone who will be a help, not a hindrance. No help is better than bad help.
2. Envision what you want a room or area to look like and then proceed to make it look like that. For example, when you stand and look at your dining room table, is it piled high with papers, dirty dishes and junk? In your mind do you see it with a pretty table cloth and a vase of colorful flowers? Then make it so.
Here’s the more practical version if you’re like me… My kitchen table is the hub of my home. I would have to take the tablecloth off every five minutes and the vase of flowers would surely get knocked over at least once or twice a day. Knowing this, I would instead keep the table clear with a pretty bowl of fruit with a doily under it. Then, at dinner time, I would pull out my tablecloth or place mats.
What about your bedroom? Do you see your bed neatly made with a warm throw laying across the foot of it instead of the rumpled smelly mess it is now? Then make it so. Move from room to room doing this, starting with the areas that are driving you the most crazy.
3. Start small with one little area. It could be a closet, cabinet, table or coffee table. It will amaze you how good you will feel getting just one little area done and how it will invigorate you to do more.
4. DON’T QUIT. If our kids come in from a job that they have only half done or not done well and moan and groan, “It’s too hot, I’m too tired, it’s too hard,” or there’s too much to do, we are usually all over them to get the job done anyway. I wonder where they learned their work ethic from when mom or dad is cracking under the pressure of just cleaning a dirty house.
We expect kids to do their homework on a daily basis whether they want to or not, whether it is easy or not, whether it is boring or not and we become very frustrated with them when they want to shirk it, yet we are even more irresponsible when we shirk taking care of our homes. We are adults and should know better.
5. Work quickly. This is a job that needs to be done and not a time to walk down memory lane. Looking through vacation pictures and reading every bit of paper you pick up is a no no. Glance at it and toss or store it. Don’t forget that you don’t need 10 pictures of the same pose of a dolphin jumping in the air. It is not a sin to throw out a picture. If you must, keep just one picture or better yet throw them all out and when you want to see a picture of a dolphin in the air go to the library or find one on the Internet.
6. When the trash is full, take it outside to the trash can or at least set it outside of the room you are cleaning. This is not the time to recycle. I knew a woman who could have had a clean house but it was literally filthy with a year’s worth of milk cartons, cardboard boxes and newspapers all over the house that she was “one day” going to recycle.
You can recycle, but get your house in order the easiest and fastest way first, just tossing things in the regular trash so you have one less decision to make when you might otherwise be overstressed. Get your priorities straight. There is no use saving the environment for your children if the environment in your house is more dangerous and could be killing them or at the very least making them sick.
7. When your give away box is full, take it to the car so you will be forced to get rid of it immediately. I hope this box contains a lot, too. No child needs 75 little cars or dolls. No woman needs 10 pairs of black pants and 15 eye shadows. No man needs 8 pairs of pliers.
8. Wipe and clean shelves, drawers and cabinets as you put things away.
9. Keep your eyes on what you have cleaned and not what still needs to get done or you will become discouraged.
10. When you have worked hard, sit back and admire your work with a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of lemonade. You can even have a cookie because think of all the calories you have burned! Pat yourself on the back now and say, “Job well done.” Or better yet, comment on the blog when you complete something so we can pat you on the back too!
P.S. Play some music while you work if it helps. There really is a reason why the seven dwarfs whistled while they worked!
For more helpful tips to make organizing, cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at our Keeping It Clean e-books.