How To Get Organized When Life Is Stressful

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In this season of great uncertainty, there are very few things under our direct control, but we can get organized. What does this actually look like for you? Not sure? No worries. We’re here to help you figure out how to get organized.

Check out these tips for getting started, staying organized, and making it count in a meaningful way from our guest expert, Gold Certified Konmari Consultant, Kristin DeCou. Are you ready?

How To Get Organized

Before you start, know your why. It’s important to have a clear sense of how this project is going to benefit you. Chances are it’s going to be challenging at times. Having a strong connection to your “why” will help you keep going through the doldrums.

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Clearing clutter not only helps tidy your physical space and make room for what matters most. In addition, it helps reduce your stress so you can experience a greater sense of calm at home

How To Start Getting Organized

Start by getting a clear understanding of your vision and values. It also begins with recognizing where there is clutter in your life.

Is it in your physical space? Organizing your clothes is a popular place to start. Is it digital clutter – on your desktop, laptop, or phone? Start there.

Get clear on your values and vision.

What matters most to you? Understand why you want to get organized and what’s getting in the way.

Your hopes for the future may have altered even from a few weeks ago based on the world’s turn of events with COVID-19. Carve out time to craft a new vision for your life, your home, and what you want to remember from this season months and years from now.

Start small.

The only way to eat an elephant is piece by piece. It’s the same for your home. Begin with one category or space and make it an easy one.

"The only way to eat an elephant is piece by piece. It’s the same for your home. Begin with one category or space and make it an easy one." – Kristin DeCou #SpringCleaning #OrganizingTips Click To Tweet

Identify things that you use regularly where a small change will yield an immediate impact. This can be as simple as your cooking utensils (I’ll take a guess you’re cooking more?), or as nuanced as your book collection (doing more reading too, right?). 

4 Steps To Be More Organized at Home

At the present time, you may be spending your time “safe at home.” Thus, this is where you will be first practicing your organizations skills.

It’s helpful to be methodical in your approach to organizing. Follow these four steps to help you as you organize.

1. Take everything out.

Don’t skip this step. Using the example of cooking utensils, empty that drawer or canister completely. Wipe it clean while you have the chance.

2. Select your favorites.

Start with what you use, what you like, and what supports you now. Don’t get wrapped up in what used to work, or what might help in the future. What “sparks joy”? Set those items aside.

3. Express gratitude for what doesn’t make the cut.

If you have six wooden spoons and only choose three, keep those three and take a mindful moment of thanks for the others, setting them aside for donation.

4. Store, keeping easy access in mind.

Store like with like, returning the items you keep and displaying them in a way that makes them easy to access.

Read: How to Organize Important Papers

How To Stay Organized at Home

The simple answer: Find a greater purpose that motivates you.

We are in extraordinary times, a worldwide pandemic. Organization may not be at the top of your priority list, and rightly so. If you are a parent, you may even find yourself with less time at home.

“When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”

Marie Kondo

Get more guidance from Marie Kondo!

Even though it seems unlikely, making room in your day to reap the benefits of organization — both internal and external— can be essential in times of high stress and uncertainty. It’s important to acknowledge that by confronting your clutter, you confront yourself. This can be difficult. When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go,” Marie Kondo writes, “there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” 

If you watch the news frequently, you’re seeing plenty of stories that might make you long for the past and feed your fears for the future. Even so, you can choose to come back to your vision. Be clear on what you want for yourself, for your family, for your home, and for the person you’re becoming.

5 Tools To Help You Stay Motivated

The next step: Use simple tools to stay motivated. 

Here is a quick list you can pull from to keep you going:

  1. Schedule it – Add time to organize to your calendar as you would a work meeting or event. You’ll be more likely to follow through.
  2. Get an Accountability Partner – Share your plans and organizing schedule with someone. They can cheer you on.
  3. Treat yourself – Find ways to make the process rewarding and special. Order your favorite takeout meal to celebrate important milestones.
  4. Document – Take a “before” photo and “after” photo to see the progress you’ve made. Text it to someone who would appreciate it!
  5. Listen while you work – Put on your favorite music or a podcast while you get organized.

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Realistic Organization Tips

Realistically, your home will not always be organized during this time. Mine isn’t, with two little ones at home — and I’m a professional organizer!

Give yourself grace. Living with others, especially if you have kids, means that not everything is within your control. Emotions will cycle, just as organization does. When that happens, be understanding with yourself and stick with it.

Here’s a few other realistic tips to help you get organized and stay that way.

Give everything a home

This is important to keep clutter from rebounding. “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong,” shares Kondo. “Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.” 

Use what you already own.

If you’re scrolling through social media, you might think you need more products to organize your life. That’s not true. Only after you’ve organized one space and category completely, consider whether or not purchasing a storage solution will be joy-inducing and life-giving for you. If not, the storage item will contribute to clutter, and no one wants that.

Keep going.

Use the momentum from milestones to fuel your next project. Stick with it and you’ll watch, little by little, how your home supports and serves you better.

"Use the momentum from milestones to fuel your next project. Stick with it and you’ll watch, little by little, how your home supports and serves you better." #organizingtips #cleaningtips Click To Tweet

Set Meaningful Goals.

Last but not least, set meaningful organization goals. This is optional, but it can be extremely effective. Keep it to three goals or less, and pick ones that you know will transform your daily life for the better. It’s more about making a commitment, setting an intention, and bringing your goal to life. 

Maybe you want to create a reading nook, which requires clearing out a corner in your bedroom. Or maybe you want to give your desk space a face-lift, making it orderly and clutter-free while you work from home.

Studies show that an organized work space increases productivity. Whatever you desire, whatever your intuition is leading you towards, pick something meaningful and go for it.

Get More Help

Get our free printable checklist to help you get started!

Connect with An Expert

Finally Family Homes thanks guest expert, Kristin DeCou for this article. Kristin recently presented at our Life Launch program for former foster youth at LA Mission College.

Kristin DeCou is a professional organizer, a gold certified KonMari Consultant, and the Founder of Modern Refresh. Follow her on Instagram at @modernrefresh for more organization tips and inspiration to uplift your space and spirits.

Find this helpful? You may also enjoy:

How to Organize Important Papers

How to Prepare for the Unexpected

Managing Your Time Wisely – Beginner Tips

One purpose of this blog is to help parents of teens navigate the challenges of preparing their children to be successful independent adults. 

The mission of Finally Family Homes is to provide the same kind of support for those teens who don’t have a family or home to help them transition into adulthood. Donate today & make a difference!

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  1. Wonderful content. I have already organized my kitchen tools, after reading
    your comments. My intent is to keep working until I get control of the elephant I
    have created.

    1. Thanks so much Janet! So glad to hear it’s helping and inspiring you to get organized! Keep working at it and soon you’ll have that whole elephant in order 😀

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