So it’s the start of the year and you feel pressure to get every area of your life organized, right?
Social media is pushing posts about how to “Get Organized in 2017” and “Resolutions for Your Home” and “Inspiring Organization Projects to Jump Start Your New Year.” The big box stores have everything you could need to get started on purging and sorting and putting everything in its rightful place, and it’s enough to make even Martha Stewart exhausted by January 5th.
Just because the calendar has flipped and the year is fresh does not make January the ideal time for big organization projects. The weather is dark and gloomy, it’s cold in most of the country, and what people most want to do is hunker down and hibernate in cozy and comfortable homes.
However, if the state of your home is causing you to feel stressed and unable to relax then working to organize and declutter should be part of your plan for the New Year. But it doesn’t have to be started this week, or finished before the month is over.
The first thing you are going to want to do is do a walk through of your home and take an honest assessment of all the areas that aren’t working for you. This isn’t the time for rose colored glasses or “yah but’s”. Bring a notepad or a pile of index cards or the back of some junk mail – whatever you have handy – and make a list. Open doors, peer into dark corners, and look under beds. Leave no space uncovered or unexplored.
Next, take a break. Have a drink of water. Scroll your social media feed. Play with your dog. Call your best friend. Don’t look at your list for at least half an hour. You could even wait an entire day if you don’t feel ready to deal with it yet. There are no hard and fast rules.
When you are ready to get to work, have a look at your list. What are the things on there that are making you the most crazy? The ones that push your buttons every single day? The ones that if you could just get under control you would feel like maybe you had a grip on the situation going on in your house? Circle the top five. If you don’t have five, give yourself a pat on the back, and then think about walking through your house one more time.
Resist the urge to put more than five things on your list. You aren’t going to work on all five of those things in the next month. In fact, if you don’t get to them all by the middle of the year, that’s okay too. The idea is to tackle one item at a time.
Take the biggest offender on that list and make it your top priority. Brainstorm what kind of action steps you can take to tackle that first item, and make a new list. Hang it on your fridge, write it in your journal, or put it on your desk. You want it somewhere visible where you can see it often. When you are planning your schedule and have some productive free time (not “me time” or “self care time”), think about tackling one of the steps on your list. Eventually you will get that item under control and can move on to the next one.
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