What if we told you that you will never “Get Organized”?
Coming from the organizing experts at Restoring Order® that may sound confusing, so hear me out.
At Restoring Order®, we know that organizing is a way of life, not a destination!
If you set out to “get organized” with the goal of putting “everything in its place”, you will end up discouraged and disillusioned.
If we want to see lasting change, we must shift our focus from an END GOAL to a LIFESTYLE.
Living an ordered life involves both dealing with backlog and creating systems for handling new items and information coming in.
But, here is the kicker –
We must dig out, set new systems in place, and dedicate the time to utilize and maintain. It means honoring your hard work by managing your time, schedule, family members, and your own behaviors to keep up your systems.
If you have fallen prey to the myth of “Getting Organized” you are not alone! Our professional organizing consultant, Tiffany, recently helped a client with a garage tune up. This client needed help both with the physical organizing and the lifestyle shift to maintain the space.
The clients are a busy couple juggling 5 children and multiple small businesses. Tiffany has worked with them in the past to establish a garage organizing system. However, the parents were spread so thin that they began throwing their items out of their car into their garage as they dashed from one commitment to the next. They never had time to address the pile they left yesterday…or last week. So, when the kids saw what the parents are doing with their “stuff”, the kids felt free to do the same.
The result was a messy, disorganized pile in the midst of forgotten organizing systems. The garage had become a catch-all and dumping ground for car and home clean-outs. (Isn’t it ironic how wrongly applied “clear outs” can actually CAUSE clutter!?) As a result of this dash-and-stash lifestyle, food stored in the garage was going to waste because the family couldn’t see the existing stock on hand. Garbage was tossed everywhere because no one knew what was trash and what was actually items that just needed to be put away. At this point, the client realized they were in need of a garage tune up and reached out for help.
Tiffany worked with the client to re-implement the good systems they had established in the past. Then, they began to address the HABITS that had been sabotaging their orderly garage.
They tackled “the pile” in the middle of the garage:
- They began by categorizing items by type, rather than dealing with one nomadic item at a time.
- They determined what actually needed to “live” in the garage, and what just needed to go back to its place inside the home.
- Finally, they implemented a “Garage Policing Team” for their maintenance plan. (The Team is comprised of 2 kids per week who check the garage every evening and raise a red flag to others who have dumped or left their items out of place.)
The key to this Garage Tune Up wasn’t rocket science. It was simply figuring out what was causing the backlog in the first place (bad habits and no accountability). Then, Tiffany led them in the process of “restoring order” to the useful systems already in place and into a customized maintenance plan that involved the whole family.
The Garage Policing Team ensures regular attention on this important space and on every family member putting things away when they get home. The Team helps both kids and parents be accountable. With the Team, the children learn that they have a voice and that they are an important part of the family’s mission to live an ordered life!
As you consider your own spaces that need an overhaul or a tune up, don’t forget these three key organizing steps to every successful project:
- Deal with backlog – all of it. Make sure you go through all items in a space and macro and micro sort it.
- Set up systems for going forward. Determine what will stay and what will go. Create user-friendly systems that are intuitive to you, not some cookie –cutter solution.
- Establish a maintenance plan. Don’t sell your organizing project short by simply “getting organized” physically; be sure to include simple maintenance from the beginning. Think of it this way: activating maintenance is your long-term care insurance plan for your space!