Guest Author - Emily Wilska
In part 1 of this article we looked at ways of dealing with unrealistic expectations (both our own and others') that can get in the way of getting organized. In part 2, we'll cover two more ways of overcoming the obstacles that are likely to come up at some point during an organizing project.
Remember that some is better than none
I think of organizing like eating well and exercising: some of us love it, some of us hate it, but we all know that it can have positive effects on our lives. As with other healthy habits, we may feel that we need to do a lot of it to benefit at all, which means that if we can only do a little, we shouldn't bother.
But I beg to differ. The medical experts who say that an hour of exercise every day is ideal also say that even 20 or 30 minutes a few times a week can have an impact; and even if you can't imagine eating 7 servings of veggies each day, it's worthwhile to try for 2 or 3. The same is true of organizing: if the thought of decluttering the whole house at once is a bit overwhelming, don't give up altogether. Just start smaller: focus on one room at a time and do what you realistically can without burning out.
If your day seems so full that you have time to do nothing more than make the bed or empty the dishwasher, simply make the bed or empty the dishwasher. Doing some small task, no matter how insubstantial it may seem, is better than doing nothing at all, as it helps reinforce the positive habits you're working on. You may find that after you've finished the one small task you set out to do, you have time for another one--but even if you don't, you've still accomplished something.
Look forward, look back
We each have our own reasons for wanting to get organized, whether long-term (the clutter is driving you nuts, and you want it gone for good!) or short-term (you've agreed to host a party for your brother's birthday next month and want your house to be welcoming to your guests). Regardless of what's inspired you, it's helpful to keep it in mind as you work on getting organized; doing so can help you get beyond the snags and snares you encounter on the way.
Here, too, the comparison to healthy lifestyle habits makes sense: one weekend of eating junk food and camping out on the couch for hours doesn't mean your long-term goals of healthy eating and exercise are destined to fail. The same goes for organizing: if you find that you've gone for a few days (or longer) without dealing with piles or working to keep things in order, take a minute to remind yourself of your ultimate goal and then get back into the groove of things.
Remember not only to look forward to your goal but also to look back at the progress you've made. When you've finished part of your project, however small, take a moment to look closely at it and enjoy it. You may even want to take a picture for future inspiration. Just be sure to take pleasure in the rewards--visual, mental, emotional, functional--of the work you've done.