Before you jump into that project, let’s make sure you have set yourself up for success and completion. You can do this by reviewing the Six Stages of Getting Organized. These six stages apply to most any organizing project, whether you’re clearing that spare storage room (aka guest bedroom) to create an office, or decluttering the living room, organizing the kitchen shelves, cleaning out the garage, or tackling that pile of papers.
Don't let it in the door!
You've put in a lot of work on your organizing project. You've created the space to enjoy your things and you've put in the time to maintain what you have. But what about new items? How do you bring in new items and prevent your hard work disappearing under clutter again?
The reason that many organizing attempts don't work is that the maintenance required for upkeep is beyond what we are willing to do. Sure you can beat yourself up and say you should do this or that, but I say go with your natural tendencies or at least don't actively work against them.
The third stage of organizing is SORTING. I took months trying to decide if sorting came before letting go or after. It's necessary to see all that you have when you're trying to decide what to let go (Stage 2). But you also need to sort 'like with like' before you start to physically place or organize your things (Stage 4).
The second stage in getting organized (and working on your organizing project) is to LET GO of what doesn't work for you, what you no longer use or need, and especially what you no longer love. Letting go is not just getting rid of things, it's about creating the space and the time and the energy for what you do want.
*** An excerpt from a future book *** Using fifteen-minute blocks of time, the goal was to sort papers, knickknacks, tools, clothes, project items, or whatever we wanted to clear into various categories: Stay Here, Somewhere Else, Give Away, Recycle, Trash, and TBR.
It's easier to know when you've arrived, if you know where you want to go. So before you file that paper, store that item, create that great filing system or organize your stuff, begin with the end in mind.