Staying Motivated: Overcome the Overwhelm
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to get organized. Especially when the things you hid in the closet last week hit you on the head when you try to deposit this week’s accumulation. Realizing that these feelings are temporary, taking a deep breath, and knowing that you’ll find calm on the other side, all help overcome the overwhelm.
Often as we start to organize an area, it looks worse before it feels better. Change is hard, even just moving the 24 rolls of toilet paper from the floor into a cabinet. There is a transient, unsettling nature to items being removed from a space that haven’t found a new place to be.
So how do we stay motivated and on track? I will confess that my motivation to simplify my life is laziness – the less I have, the less have to manage. Other people are motivated by money, sex, revenge, the neighbor’s opinion, basically the same things that motivate a person to buy the stuff in the first place.
Take the time before you start – or now – to visualize how you’d like your home to feel. Are some areas full of energy and others soothing? How does each room function to support the feelings you want? This is your goal for the space. Repeat your goal to yourself each time you begin to feel overwhelmed.
Getting organized requires making lots of little decisions. They get easier with practice and each decision made gets you closer to your goal. Try these suggestions to stay motivated:
- Work in small segments, and maintain the areas you’ve already tackled.
- Build in rewards that won’t add to the clutter problem.
- Less stuff equals more of something else – peace of mind, cash flow, time for play and jealous neighbors.
Miriam Ortiz y Pino is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Contact her at 243-4356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in Sage, April 2008.