Nowadays people are all about getting things done in a snap! Speed dating, Go-gurt® and even express manicures shows that things people used to take time to enjoy are rushed and squeezed into schedules. Let’s face it, we all are busy and our times are at a premium. As a professional organizer I often use the acronym F.A.S.T. But ironically it breaks organizing down not to make it as quick as possible but hopefully as long-lasting as possible. How efficient can you be if you’re always looking for things? Being disorganized takes our precious time away. So let’s break it down so that we can get into the process of being organized and maybe you can enjoy a regular manicure and maybe even a pedi.
F. – FOCUS 1. Turn off the T.V. — Organizing is NOT cleaning. It really isn’t a mindless activity, it involves your eyes and hands and yes, your brain. I tell clients to turn off the t.v. as it causes distraction from our thought process. But if you desire some fun while getting the job done, upbeat music can give you the energy boost you need to continue.
2. De-clutter/Pare Down — Spring Cleaning is all about letting go and opening your arms to embrace space and let new and more wonderful things in your life. Do you really need a food processor, Magic Bullet, and a set of Ginsu knives? If you use all three often than perhaps you do. But if you can’t justify keeping all of the similar items, consider donating one to a friend, family member or Goodwill and let it go to someone who will use it. Open that space and place in your life to something useful or beautiful. 3. One area at a time — If you start with the idea in ONE Saturday you will organize and clean your WHOLE 3 bedroom home you are setting yourself up for failure. Many times we pull everything out the closets, drawers, and bins and find ourselves 4 hours later in a bigger mess than we began with and no energy left to finish or no plan of action of how to put everything back in an organized fashion. Focus on one space, one place. Organize a junk drawer in the kitchen then move on to under the sink in the bathroom. You’ll be surprised how organizing one small space can make a huge difference in functionality and you will be able to carry your enthusiasm throughout the whole house without feeling overwhelmed. Remember to De-clutter/Pare down during this process.
A. – Action Plan 1. Goals – What areas really bug you or stump you the most? Sometimes it’s best to start with these areas but write down (yes write it down) what you’d like the space to become or transform into. Often a mind map is a good place to start to let your creative juices flow and give yourself a road map to follow.
2. Make it real – Wouldn’t we all want to island hop once a year in the Caribbean? *Raises hand* But either because of time or budget it’s not realistic. When making your action plan be realistic about your time and your budget. Make the plan as simple as possible and then once you’ve accomplished that goal you can add all the bells and whistles later.
3. Get a timeline – If you want to de-clutter for instance, give yourself a date to sort out things you don’t use any longer, and then a date to donate (or schedule a donation pick up). If you create an action plan without a deadline or a time in your calendar set aside, it’s just a dream and not an action plan.
S. System & Sustainability 1. Make an “I-do-this-anyway” System – Sometimes it’s better to create an organizing system around the habits we already have versus trying to create new habits. For instance, if you kick your shoes off at the front door, it may be best to create an organized place for your shoes at the front door rather than to feel like you will suddenly create a new habit of walking your shoes to the bedroom closet each day. This way you make your organizing system more sustainable and longer lasting.
2. Maintenance – All good processes require maintenance. Schedule time each week or day to maintain the systems you’ve created. Remember that organization is a process not a destination. It may take several tries and tweaks until you get it right, or perhaps you experience changes in life (new family member, a move, a new job) that dictate you change a system. It’s okay, you’re not a failure you just have to adjust and tweak a system until you find the one that works for the life you currently lead.
T. Training & Tools 1. My first tool of recommendation as a professional organizer is HIRE A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER! *smile* We keep up with the latest tools, gadgets, gizmos and organizing trends. We may even help you to see you don’t need any gadgets but give you tried and true tips and tricks that could tweak how you do things but make a grand difference in your life. Organizers have foresight and the outside opinion that you may seek without the judgments and comments from the peanut gallery of family and friends. 2. Books and pictures – If you don’t know what you want initially, it’s great to peruse the library or Barnes & Nobles to look at books and magazines on homes organization. Once you’ve gotten an idea of what you want you may slowly get ideas of how to get there.
Like what you read and want to share on your blog or in print? No problem. Just make sure you make this statement at the end: Copyright 2012. Andrea Hancock is a Professional Organizer, Speaker and Owner of B Dexterous, LLC based in the Washington DC Metro Area. B Dexterous not only provides hands-on organizing services but attempts to also enlighten the world with tips of staying dexterous, organized and efficient in a world that demands much on our time and resources. Contact Andrea at (571) 232-8116 or via e-mail [email protected] if you’d like to learn more about how you can put the pieces of your life together with organization!