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Get Organized with These First Steps!

Updated: Jun 16

Whoo! You did it! Whether you scheduled a session with a professional (hopefully you followed these tips for hiring a professional organizer) or scheduled time with yourself to start your organizing project, you passed the first hurdle.

But, even after setting aside the time to declutter and get organizing, there's still a lot to be done before getting down to the nitty gritty. Welcome to your guide for how to prepare for decluttering and organizing:

  1. Check In The first step is to check in with yourself. Find a calm, quiet, comfortable place where you listen to your thoughts and feelings. What comes up for you when imagining this project? Are you stressed, anxious, excited? All of the above? There is no right way to feel, but it's important to know how you're feeling so that you can set yourself up for success later on.

  2. Setting Expectations Real life isn't an Instragram post or a Pinterest Board. There's no magical words you can say to turn your living room into the front cover of an interior design catalog. And that's okay! We're human beings, not machines. We need to be able to live in our spaces, not just take pictures of them. You can have a picture perfect space if you want it, but expect it to take five to ten times longer to get there than you think (see: average session length). A room is like an onion, full of layers of stuff. The trash is the easiest layer to peel off, but the further in you go, the slower and more delicate the decisions become. So, rather than going in and expecting perfection, it's always good practice to set your expectations on function. How can you turn this cluttered space into a space that you can actually use and enjoy?

  3. Empowered You're the boss. It's easy to lose sight of this as you begin to sort through your things. We hold onto so many things for the sake of others. Maybe it's a gift your friend gave you that you didn't like, but you don't want to hurt their feelings by getting rid of it. Maybe it's a set of dishes that you don't need unless you have more than four guests in your home at once. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Remember: This is your home. You should be the one taking up the most space. This is your place to truly be yourself. So why are you letting other people tell you what to hold onto? If an item truly makes you happy or makes you feel like you, then it belongs. But, if an item in your space is a burden (whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise), it's time to reexamine its role in your home and in your life.

  4. Supplies Before starting any organizing project, I always make sure I have: - Trash bags - Recycling receptacle (I like to use a cardboard box or bag) - Donation bin (I like to use old boxes or bags I don't use anymore) - Masking tape & a large Sharpie - My speaker to play music (it helps me focus and makes the time pass quicker) - Water & Snacks (VERY IMPORTANT)

  5. Plan The final step before beginning any organizing project is to have a game plan. Otherwise, you risk making the project take ten times longer and/or causing yourself to have to do something twice. Take a good long look at your space. Which section feels the most doable? The key is to break the project into bite-sized pieces, and ignore the surrounding clutter as you work on each section. So, find the section that feels the easiest to start with and tackle that! Also, a good tip: Just like when taking a standardized test, if you feel yourself get stuck, move on and come back to it. Some decisions will come naturally to you and some decisions, like whether to throw away a birthday card from your mom, for example, will be much harder. That's normal. Do all the quick decisions and start a box or a bag of the harder stuff. As a general rule, I never deal with memorabilia until everything else has been dealt with. It's always going to be the hardest to make decisions about and there's no use putting all that energy in before the space is looking better. So, as you go, feel free to gather all memorabilia you come across together in a receptacle to look at when you're done. Besides, if worst comes to worst, it is always okay to make yourself a memorabilia box (or many!) and set them aside for later. Okay, that's it for now! Happy organizing :) -Youna Open Spaces Organizing LLC

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