5 Common Home Organization Mistakes (and How to Fix Them!)
Raise your hand if your goal for the New Year is to get your home in order! You’re not alone. As a Professional Organizer in New York City, I often get called in after clients have tried and failed to go it alone. I specialize in decluttering and creating systems of organization that my clients will actually be able to maintain (based on them as individuals). One of my favorite things about my job is the random objects I find; a 15 year-old Furby that mysteriously still works… (creepy!), or even a Donald Trump wig. Below are five common home organization pitfalls I often hear, and how to get around to get organized this year:
1. No Plan Needed: The resolution to get organized is similar to the resolution to lose weight. If you go at decluttering with a ton of force but without a plan, you can expect a crash and burn situation. Most likely you’ll give up because you’ll easily become overwhelmed and even if you get the job done, the clutter will come right back.
Instead: Answer some questions to create your strategy; which room is bothering you the most? What is the best plan of attack – can you do it all at once or do you need a few different blocks of time? What are you going to do about trash, donations, etc.?
2. Dive Into the Memories: A sure way to shoot yourself in the foot when doing a whole home organization is to start with memorabilia; it’s akin to running a marathon on your first day of training. Going through memories takes a lot out of you emotionally and is easily overwhelming.
Instead: Let’s start with something like the bedside table or the TV console instead; somewhere that has a lot of junk, which can most likely be tossed. Give yourself a win early on so that when you get to the memories, you’ve had practice and you feel confident about the process.
3. Skim Coat: Often when I work with people they tell me they don’t need to empty out the drawer or closet, that they can see everything and can just skim the contents. This will never produce the best result. Unless you are forced to look at everything in a space and make a decision to keep or toss, you will err on the side of keep.
Instead: focus on one drawer, one closet at a time and empty everything out. Categorize and decide if items are to keep, donate or toss. Then reimagine the space and put things back in the way that makes the most sense to you. And in a way you know you can maintain (even if it’s not insta-perfect).
4. One Time Deal: As much as you’d like organization to be a one-time deal it’s not. You will accumulate more stuff and items will be taken out and used, etc. You do not live in a museum.
Instead: recognize that keeping your home organized will take maintenance. That doesn’t mean hours and hours of organization each day but 10 minutes per day of putting items back in their place/ teaching family members to do the same is reasonable.
5. Choose An Agreeable Friend: If you’ve decided to organize with a friend, do not choose the one who agrees with everything. You will end up keeping way more than you intended to.
Instead: Go with your sassiest friend who will force you to take a cold, hard look at everything you decide to keep.
Whole home organization is a lofty goal, not an impossible one. With the right plan and proper pacing you can get it done and maintain your systems.