It is a new year! And chances are “Get organized” is in your list of 2018 to dos. Companies seem to know this and everywhere we turn there are sales on organizing containers that are sure to “magically” fix all your organizing woes.
We are here to give you 3 important to-dos before you buy those containers, on sale or not! (Hint: It may even turn out that you don’t need those container after all.)
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Do you have a weakness when it comes to containers? Hands raised, me too! Are you always grabbing more fancy file folders with the hope that you will finally get all your paper in order. Desk organizers anyone?
Or maybe those shiny Tupperware containers and drawer dividers are what get you daydreaming?
Believe me, we all fall prey to those pretty containers offering the hope of a more organized tomorrow. And buying containers may feel like an easy step to move you towards your goal of getting organized. But containers are not the first step! Before you head to the store, here are 3 things to do instead of (or at least before) buying containers. These tips are guaranteed to help you avoid containing clutter!
1. Pause, What is the vision you have for your space?
We have all been there, you are pursuing the store and there are containers on sale, really cute ones too! You have been meaning to get organized so this is perfect. These containers may be just the push needed to motivate you into epic organizing mode!
But, wait!! The last thing you want to do is buy containers to organize your clutter. Pause, don’t let a sale convince you to buy impulsively.
Take a minute, before you head to the store to think about what you want the final space to look and feel like. Peter Walsh convinced us, in Ep 26, that this often overlooked step is so important! When you are intentional with what you want your space to be, decluttering will come naturally out of your newly decided vision for the space.
With that initial pause, it will become clearer what containers you actually need, if any at all. Plus we all know, we don’t save any money if buy stuff we don’t need, even if it is on sale.
2. Identify the problem area then Focus for 10 minutes at a time.
Tip 2 is a two parter. First, what are your problem areas? Is there are a drawer or cabinet that bothers you everytime you open it? Is there a spot on your counters that has become a catch-all and a pile of stuff is always living there? What space makes you think, ugh, I need to get organized? This may be easy for you if those problem areas are always on your mind!
So for the next part, spend 10 minutes focused on one problem area. Set the timer and starting sorting! As you are sorting items, pay close attention to the type of items that are causing the problem and why they are being left there. Why has it become a problem area? Ask yourself:
- Am I dropping these items here because they don’t have a home?
- Am I being lazy?
- Is this item hard to put away? Is it’s home unnecessarily hard to access?
- Does this item have a task to follow through on so I left it here to remind me?
As you are asking yourself these questions, it will become clearer what the real problem is. Often times containers aren’t the answer to the clutter piles in our home! It is establishing new systems which may or may not involve containers.
In past episodes, we have discussed setting up systems to conquer the clutter before it starts. A few good ones to check out are Ep 27 Stopping the Mail Clutter and Ep 28 about Managing Paper Clutter, Ep 5 Kid’s Paper Clutter, Ep 32 Kid’s Toy Clutter, and Ep 19 Clutter’s Way Station. I also have a blog series on getting ALL your household papers organized.
I love conquering problem areas 10 minutes at a time, in fact, it’s how I’ve organized most of my home. Here is a list of spaces I have tackled in 10 Minute Organizing sessions. (Be forewarned, some of these projects are from 5 plus years ago, so they are not always the prettiest pictures.)
If you get stuck and have any specific questions, ask away! We have a voicemail line (858) 480-7722 or send us an email Hello @ AtoBpodcast.com.
3. Get Specific
Once you have decided your vision for the space and spent 10 minutes really figuring out what the problems are, it’s time to get specific!
Keep the specificity of a silverware drawer tray in your mind as a guide when deciding if you need a container. For instance, when you buy a silverware organizer you:
- know what will go in the container and more specifically, each section
- know where it will go in your home
- know the dimensions and if it will fit in the designated space
- have decided on the material, how easy it is to clean, lid or no lid, and how you will label if necessary
Since organizing our silverware seems almost second nature to us, it clearly shows how specific to be when shopping for containers.
If your space doesn’t feel as clear cut as organizing silverware, one of my favorite strategy is to use temporary containers.
Use a shoebox or a repurposed container from another area. Give it a trial run of a week or two. Then you can see if a container helps solve your problem areas. Make adjustments as needed before you invest in containers. Shoebox lids, checkboxes, cell phone boxes all make great temporary dividers.
I hope this gets you motivated to get organized (and save the shopping for later). Remember buying the container doesn’t make you more organized but taking action does!
You can share your progress with us below in the comments or on social media. Use the hashtags #AtoBpodcast #10minuteorganizing. What are you going to conquer today?
Again you can connect with us by email Hello @ AtoBpodcast.com or our voicemail line (858) 480-7722.
Don’t forget, if you are in the Southern California area, join us on January 18, 2018, for An Evening with Peter Walsh! Get all the details on NAPOLA.org.
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