When Uncertainty Strikes, Get Organized

With so much uncertainty and fear happening all around us due to COVID-19, it’s easy to start feeling anxious, restless, and unproductive. Collectively, around the world, people are managing this challenging situation in different ways. 

Here in Toronto, it’s March Break, normally one week off of school that is often characterized by families traveling and kids going to camp or enjoying local adventures. None of these options are available during this time, and collectively we will create others, as health concerns must come first, and we must do our best to “flatten the curve”. 

Amidst so much uncertainty, a question emerges, 

“What is the best way to manage this situation for myself and those around me?” 

Followed by,

“Can I be productive and make the most of this extended time at home? If so, how?”

In addition to taking care of your body, staying active, gathering supplies, connecting with others, and avoiding media overload, there is one idea that resonates with me personally and professionally – getting organized. As an optimist, I figure if we find ourselves at home with free time…

This can be a good time to conquer the cluttered areas that are on your to-do list

Whether decluttering, tidying up, sorting, or organizing, taking action that leads to immediate results will likely make you feel calmer and more in control of dealing with this unfamiliar situation.

10 Practical Ideas to Start Decluttering & Organizing at Home:

  1. Sort through a pile of mail or paper. Look for paper in places it shouldn’t be (kitchen counter, dining room table, etc.) and quickly tackle that first. File, shred and recycle as needed.
  2. Front hall closet. Sort by season, keeping current items in baskets accessible, less used items in the back. Store off-season items elsewhere if too cluttered. 
  3. Pantry. Sort all items into categories (i.e.: all spices in one place!) and remove anything that is old, expired, or unlikely to get used. Match bottoms and tops of all storage containers (recycle all loner items) and use a box or bin to contain them all.
  4. Linen closet. Decide what you use, check their condition and sort by size. Donate any old and unused sets. Sort/organize other closet items in labelled containers.
  5. Toiletries. Time to get under the sink and sort! Contain only what you use and need in a box or bin and throw out the rest. Figure out how many travel-sized items you really need.  
  6. Bedroom closet. A wardrobe cleanse feels so good! Bring all items out and sort by type and then KonMari each piece (Does it bring you joy? Does it make you feel good, now?!  Donate/fix/discard clothes that are too old, out of style, damaged, or unflattering.
  7. Kids toys. Kids toys have a way of multiplying quickly! Find places to contain them and ask your kids to put things in the in/box/drawer/closet. 
  8. Desktop. Sitting down to a clean workspace feels great! Organize essential items that need to be on your desk and use drawers, shelves, bins or boxes to organize the rest. 
  9. Digital files. Starting with your desktop files, file, scan or delete files. Create folders for key tasks and consider creating an action folder for only key items.
  10. Vehicle. Time to clear out all the things that don’t belong – papers, extra, sunglasses, receipts, water bottles, food packaging, coins, etc. Don’t forget the trunk!

Bonus Idea: Use number-based challenges to conquer your clutter. For example, take 30 minutes to gather up as many items you no longer need/use/like as you can. Or challenge your family to find a certain number of items that are no longer needed (100 is good!) or try the 20-20 challenge where you decide on 20 items to put away and 20 items to give away. You can always adjust the numbers – the idea is to add some fun and challenge to decluttering! 

Not to downplay what is going on in the world at all – it is scary, disruptive and unprecedented.

However, the COVID-19 situation may be giving us time to do things we normally don’t have time to do. Like declutter and organize.

As an organizer who knows firsthand how a more organized home leads to increased wellbeing, I’d like to think that choosing this option may be the thing we all need to feel healthier and more productive during this challenging situation. 

Please reach out to me if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help!  

Image by katharinakanns from Pixabay