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Around the home

Celebrating small victories in the middle of the mess

manuelita otero

Is there a certain area in your house that you try to avoid because it’s just too messy?  Once in a while you may make the decision to tackle the problem only to walk in and feel overwhelmed not knowing where to start, so you close your eyes and decide to postpone the battle for another day. Maybe it’s an attic, a basement, a garage, an office, or even your own closet.  It doesn’t matter where it is, but you know it’s there and it bothers you.    

A messy area steals our time and our peace, even if we don’t realize it. Don Aslett, an expert on cleaning and organizing says in his book “Clutter Free” that “Clutter takes as much space in our minds as it does in our closets.” Wouldn’t you agree? You keep thinking about all the places in your house that you would like to organize, the things that you need to sort, the papers you need to check and throw away, and just thinking about it makes you tired!  Instead, think about the day you clean your house or organize your room.  Don’t you go back often just to look at the beautiful work done? I do! It makes me happy and no one has to notice or say anything, I know I did it and I know it looks great. Organizing and getting rid of what we don’t need is a liberating experience.  So don’t let that mess take any more space in your house and in your mind and let’s look at ways to get rid of it:

-Visualize it: Define what do you want and create a plan of action. Get ready mentally before you start doing the physical work. Define your final goal, how long is it going to take and what will you need to achieve it.

-Divide and you will conquer:  Sometimes a mess is just too big, and will take too long to organize, so it is better to divide the place in mini work areas.  This will help you tackle a job even if you don’t have too much time and it will give you the opportunity to celebrate small victories as you slowly see the difference in the room.  

-Invite a friend: Everything is better with good company, invite a friend and make organizing a fun event, catch up, laugh for a while and just share a good time. Inviting a friend to help you organize not only makes the work more fun, but it helps you be accountable because you can’t just give up and postpone the work for another day.   

-Be strong and honest:  Do you really need everything you have?  Most likely not.  If you haven’t missed it and haven’t used it for a while then probably you don’t need it, so why not give it away? Someone else could use it and you will be free of clutter. It’s a win-win situation.  Be honest with what you really need and be strong to be able to let go of what you don’t.

-Set up for success: Once you have finally worked through the mess and conquered it, make it easy to keep it organized.  A place gets messy because things don’t have a “home” or because we don’t put them back in the right place. Use labeled containers, give a special place to each thing and ask everyone in the house to keep things neat. Don’t let things pile up, take time to put them back in place. You will see how easy it is to keep your place organized.     

The key to confront a big mess is to get started.  No matter how big the mess, it can be divided and you can have your space and your peace back. You may even enjoy the process and definitely love the final result.  

Manuelita   @manuelitaotero