I have worked with many clients over the last seven years helping them purge their homes and get it back in shape. Sometimes an unforeseen life event threw them a curve ball and they didn’t have time to duck out of the way so they got stuck where they were. But life continued to move forward all around them and the stuff continued to build all around them as well. Enter a professional organizer(that’s me!), and we began to dig out, purge and take baby steps forward to getting unstuck. Ahh, the refreshing freedom of being unencumbered by the stuff. Happy day! But wait, time passes and the stuff begins to creep back around them. What is going on? Well, my job is to help those clients get unstuck by purging and setting up systems that will work for them based on how they function in their own space. The breakdown happens when the new systems are not being used at all.
I try to remind my clients that after all the hard work is done, the emotional roller coaster of purging is complete, and the systems are set up to handle incoming stuff, their job is not over. They MUST maintain a constant, conscious mindset of maintenance just like you would with a diet. When you go on a diet, you are always thinking about what items you purchase at the grocery store, how much you eat at each meal, and making choices between various options on the menus that will help you lose the weight. But once the weight is gone, you can not just go back to eating the way you did before! You must maintain the constant, conscious awareness of your choices and portions. Guess what? The same goes for keeping on top of your organized home.
If after the hard work is done with me, you just go back to shopping without thinking, leaving things wherever you used them last and not being mindful of purchases or putting items back into the proper homes that were designated for them, then you will have a breakdown of the organizing system that was set up.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the system breaks down because it was the wrong system for that person or the family and so it needs to be adjusted. But the majority of system breakdowns in an organized home occurs because the people are not maintaining an awareness of the system. Actually, once you incorporate the system as a habit, you don’t really need to have a constant awareness. The putting things back in their proper home and asking yourself questions while shopping becomes an auto pilot response. Of course for some people, auto pilot may take a much longer time to occur and maybe never for a few.
Don’t FALL back into old bad habits if you want to keep your home organized.
Be sure to share your new system with the entire family after you have gone to the trouble of doing all that work. They can’t help maintain a system if they don’t even know it exists.
It is always faster to put your belongings away than to spend time looking for them when you need them later.
Create a “Power Pick-up Time” in your home. Everyone spends 10 minutes picking up and putting away whatever is left out, whether it is their mess or not. This may not be needed as often later on down the line once everyone is in the habit of “putting away right away”!
What does your family do to help maintain organization? Please share your own tips with us!
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