You know you need to get organized, but despite your efforts, you find yourself searching for a solution time and time again. However, the problem may not be a faulty organization system, rather you may be making these crucial organization mistakes.
Here are 10 common organization mistakes and how to fix them.
1. It’s Not a Priority
The first organization mistake most people make is that they fail to make organizing their home a priority. Getting and staying organized takes work.
It’s plain and simple, to really get organized and get a handle on the clutter you need to make it a priority. When organizing and decluttering is relegated to your spare minutes you will never get the results you are working so hard to achieve.
Treat it like it matters. Just think of what finally being organized will do to your life. You will relieve so much stress, create an atmosphere of peace and calm and finally have time to do those things that truly matter to you.
Having said that listen carefully, this does not mean you have to spend all of your free time decluttering. It is equally important not to obsess or stress over the decluttering process.
All you really need to do is schedule regular times to declutter. Write it down in your planner like you would any other appointment. You will be surprised how quickly you see positive results when you make regular appointment times to organize and declutter your home.
If you need some motivation to make organization a priority, be sure to read 5 Ways Eliminating Excess Clutter Will Improve Your Life.
The next common organization mistake people often make is failing to actually remove the clutter from your home. I hate to admit it, but I am still guilty of this one from time to time.
When I don’t know what to do with something it is so easy to just move it somewhere on the top shelf or the back of a cupboard. Out of sight out of mind as the saying goes.
The problem is that you really can’t organize clutter.
The reality is, it’s impossible to stay organized if you have too much stuff. It just can’t happen.
And honestly I get it, decluttering can be hard. Especially when it comes to certain items that have an emotional attachment. Often, it’s thinking about those sentimental items that make us freeze up in our decluttering efforts.
So the solution is to start with the easy stuff.
If it is broken or in need of repair, toss it. If you have duplicates, get rid of one. Make a conscious effort to notice what things you have in your home that you aren’t using and really don’t need. Toss them into a box, when the box is full, DO NOT look through it. Toss the full box in the car to take it to your local donation center.
When you are ready to deal with those sentimental items, read this article on How to Conquer the Emotions Preventing You from Decluttering.
3. You Don’t Start
When your home is filled with stuff, the thought of clearing it can be very overwhelming. Because you are not sure of where to start or what to do with everything you never start.
Believe me, you are not alone here. No matter how much you want to be organized, the simple fact is that it’s easy to just freeze when we start thinking about all that needs to be done.
Just start. Truthfully, it’s as simple as that.
Here is the thing though, if you are feeling overwhelmed don’t start with the biggest problem areas.
Start small. Find the easiest area in your house to organize and start there. By starting small you will build momentum. Pick a single drawer to start with. Also, the bathroom is a great place to start.
When you have cleared that area out give yourself a little win. Those little wins snowball into an organized and clutter-free home.
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4. You Haven’t Given Yourself the Right Tools
Another common organization mistake is failing to give yourself the right tools to get and stay organized.
One of two things can happen with organizing tools. Either you have purchased a wide variety of inappropriate tools, that only adds to the accumulation of clutter or you don’t have sufficient organizing tools.
Having the organization tools that work for you.
To figure out what the right organization tools are for you, determine where the clutter keeps arising in your home.
For example, one of the big problem areas in my home for many years was paper. Everything paper brought into my home somehow ended up on our dining room table. The first thing I did was purchase a basket to organize all mail that needed to be dealt with and a tray for papers that needed to be filed. Everything else gets scanned to the computer.
Another area that clutter often accumulated in my home was my bed. I was always tossing clothes on the bed. If this is you, declutter your closet and learn to pick out your clothes for the week ahead of time.
For cluttered drawers look into purchasing some dividers.
I use a large decorative basket in my living room to corral the items the kids leave lying around.
But, remember, the key here is to only purchase those items that will work for you, in your home.
Your challenge is to spend some time this week really watching and looking for those areas that clutter gathers in your home. Use only those tools that are necessary. If you need to purchase some new items to help you stay organized and get rid of everything else.
5. You Think Organization is One and Done.
You’ve already organized once, the system just didn’t work. Uh wrong, Organizing is an ongoing activity. Just as your seasons of life change so does the need to change your organizing systems.
Schedule a regular time to organize and clear out things. Remember tidying up is not the same thing as organizing. A quick tidy up allows you to clear your surfaces and place things in a drawer cabinet or basket. Organizing means that everything has an assigned place and is put into that place.
If you make the habit of regularly organizing your home, soon, it will become natural.
6. You Don’t Know How to Organize
Organization mistakes are guaranteed if you don’t know how to organize your home. And well, if no one has taught you, how can you know what to do?
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know where to begin or what to do when it comes to organizing. Organizing is a skill that necessitates a teacher and lots of practice.
I have a few posts that go into detail on the how to’s of becoming clutter free. You can start here with Getting Started With a Clutter-Free Home. You may also want to check out these posts:
- How to Stay Clutter Free For Good
- Conquer the Emotions Preventing You From Decluttering
- How to Simplify When your Spouse is not on Board
- How to Get Help Your Family Declutter.
Once you have a handle on your clutter, one of my absolute favorite how-to organizing sites is Organizing Made Fun. A couple other organizing sites I enjoy are A Bowl Full of Lemons and Just a Girl and her Blog.
If you are looking for some good organizing books I would recommend:
- The Complete Book of Home Organization: 200+ Tips and Projects, by Toni Hammersley
- Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul, by
- Clutterfree with Kids, by Joshua Becker
- Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider and Jacqueline Musser
7. You’re Not Asking For Help
When it comes to your family show them the organization systems you are working on and how they can help you maintain them. With your children, set boundaries as to their stuff. Give them physical spaces their stuff must fit into.
Also, please know, there’s no shame in asking for organizing help from a friend if you need it.
8. You’re Holding Onto Unused Items
Do you have items in your home that you don’t use and just never got around to getting rid of? Maybe you feel guilty for getting rid of perfectly good items that you paid good money for, even if they are no longer useful. Holding on to unused items interferes with your efforts to get fully organized.
First, realize that guilt is a negative emotion not worth holding onto. Next, realize that the damage is already done. what I mean here is that you’ve already spent the money.
What I mean here is that you’ve already spent the money. Holding on to the item is not going to bring that money back. Moreover, every time you look at the item you are feeling those feelings of guilt all over again.
Getting organized means making good decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. If you’re not using it, let it go.
Depending on the items, you can simply donate them or if they are valuable, look into various ways to sell them. No matter which you decide, getting rid of the unused items will enable you to stay more organized.
9. You Store Everything Out of Sight
I am a huge fan of keeping surfaces clear as much as possible. However, by storing everything out of sight you are taking things out and putting them away all day long. As much as I love the look of clear countertops, it’s easier to keep things organized when you have what you need at hand.
Spend some time thinking about what you really use. Things you use on a regular basis need to be accessible. It is super important to be realistic about your real-life. You want to live in your home, not have a showcase. Keep those things that you use on a daily basis in a place readily available. This will make your home easier to organize and keep clean.
Be realistic about your real-life and your daily routines. You want to live in your home, not have a showcase. Keep those things that you use on a daily basis in a place readily available. This will make your home easier to organize and easier to keep clean.
10. No Follow Through
Lastly, of all the organization mistakes commonly made, the single biggest mistake that prevents people from getting organized is failing to follow through.
Knowing exactly why you hold onto your clutter will not help you if you don’t follow through with getting rid of it.
Getting past the overwhelm and starting your decluttering projects will not help you if you don’t follow through.
Simply scheduling your decluttering tasks will not help you if you don’t follow through.
There are many actionable steps here but you must follow through.
Once you begin to eliminate all of the excess clutter from your home you’ll begin to feel less stress, more peace and find that you have the energy to do more of what you love.
It’s just stuff. I know it’s overwhelming. But, you can do it!