Organize + Energize: Where Do You Get Stuck in the Organizing Process?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalProv Organizing Expert

You’ll often hear me say that getting organized isn’t just about making a space look pretty. There’s so much that comes into play before the organizing process begins. You have to realize that you may have to push through some challenges before you start the process.

There are many stages to the organizing process. With my experience, I’ve learned that people get stuck in different areas of the process.

Here are 6 areas where people get stuck:

Getting started and overwhelm. You’re motivated to get organized, but you’re also overwhelmed. You’ve tried to get organized many times, but sometimes it’s like hitting a brick wall. You finally commit to the project but you walk into the room and you immediately shut down and nothing gets done. It’s that feeling of overwhelm that stops people in their tracks. They would rather be doing anything else than tackling a room full of disorganization. You have to break the process down. Make a plan before you even enter the room. Take apart the room piece by piece and don’t look at the room as the project, look at it as small pieces of the project.

Lack of skill set. You really want to get organized, but just can’t seem to develop a great working system. It’s ok, this skill set can be learned. You may have grown up in a disorganized home and the skill set was never transferred to you. You may have had parents that always straightened your room or took care of everything for you, never allowing you to create your own systems.  Reach out to a professional if you feel you’re lacking this skill set.

Decluttering. This is where most people get stuck. Create a “maybe” pile when sorting. Don’t spend too much time deciding whether to keep or toss something. If you’re undecided, throw it into a “maybe pile”. When you have finished decluttering, you’ll look at everything you are keeping and tossing and may decide that you really don’t need anything else and you’ll decide that the “maybe pile” will go.

Losing focus and distractions.  When people are confined to a room for 3 hours, they lose focus very quickly and get distracted.  Stay in the room you’re working in instead of transferring items all over the home. Keep a “move to another room pile.” Keep a bin with you in the room and put everything in it that needs to transfer to another area of the home. When you’re finished with your project you can transfer those items. Wasted energy allows people to lose focus and get distracted.

It’s the little things. This is how junk drawers form. You’ve completed the decluttering process, but you have this pile of miscellaneous items that may have some value to you and may not, depending on what they are. They really don’t belong in any category. This is where people get stressed and tend to shut down because it’s the little things that stop you in your tracks. Decide if they are of value to you and create a system for them. Don’t just create a junk drawer of random items you will never use and probably never find when you are looking for them.

Maintenance.  All of your organizing efforts will go down in flames if you don’t maintain your organization. From the systems you create, you need to form habits and these habits will form routines. If the systems work, you will eventually be on auto-pilot with efficient routines. Many people will work with the system and the system fails and they never tweak the system to make it work better for them. Re-visit your systems. It’s all about becoming more efficient and productive in a streamlined space and maintaining these systems will help you achieve your goals.

Think about which areas you get stuck and then focus on thinking about how you can make changes in those areas to get you closer to your organizing goals.

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.

  • Paper in any form

    This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.

  • Closets

     To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.

  • Kitchen

    When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.

  • Basement

    This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.

  • Garage

    The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization.  Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.

  • Office at work

    Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.

  • Kid’s rooms

    If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.

  • Attic

    Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.

  • Linen closets

    When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.



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