I think we all agree that to wear clean clothes, laundry has to be done regularly. I’d also assume that in order to improve our physical health, we have to work out regularly. The same applies to organizing, if you want to make real progress.
You can’t collect, sort, clean and fold the laundry once and expect that your clothes will be forever clean and put away (wouldn’t that be nice?!), nor can you do 20 push-ups and run on the treadmill for 15 minutes and expect significant physical improvement in your body.
These jobs are never done. For noticeable progress and lasting impact, they require on-going maintenance – these are not one-time events.
The same applies to de-cluttering and organizing. You need to make the process a regular habit to see significant progress.
The initial de-cluttering process, which involves taking all of your belongings out, sorting “like with like”, deciding what to keep / donate / recycle / return / dispose of, takes the most time, and major progress can be made after the first round of de-cluttering. Completing this in every part of your home is a big win, so celebrate your efforts!
However, you must create a maintenance strategy to continue enjoying the benefits of your newly de-cluttered and organized space. Unfortunately, this step often gets missed. If we don’t plan for maintaining the order, things will slowly start to clutter up your home. Life happens, stuff piles up.
The good news is maintenance doesn’t have to take a long time. It could be 10 minutes a day, or a few hours one the weekend. Having a plan is what counts.
Take the time to put things in their place and let go of any unwanted items on a regular basis using the same de-cluttering and organizing principles that you started with. Just as you must sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away your clothes, or go through your workout regularly to achieve results, so must you make de-cluttering a regular habit.
If this just seems like too much, consider getting help; professional organizers like myself are trained to keep things organized once a system has been set up. Knowing that maintenance will be an issue, what can you do to ensure you get the best results from your de-cluttering and organizing efforts?
Happy to hear your comments, feedback and suggestions below or email me to learn more.