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Too Overwhelmed to Get Organized?

By Audrey Thomas, CSP a.k.a. Organized Audrey

People have often told me that what prevents them from getting organized is a heavy feeling of overwhelm. They feel paralyzed by their clutter and disorder and just don’t know where to start. Sometimes this overwhelmed feeling comes at a time when they are dealing with other life issues such as a sick child, caring for an aging parent, job loss/change or even raising a rebellious teenager.

Starting a project when you’re also stressed or feeling overwhelmed requires strategy and tenacity. The hardest part will probably be taking those first steps to get things started. If you would describe yourself as stressed, overwhelmed and disorganized, then try some of these strategies in moving beyond your current state into one that says, “I think I can do this!”

  • Simply write down what you want/need to get done. It might be empty the attic, find my birth certificate or locate all of our family’s photos in one place.
  • Next, on a calendar (paper or electronic), block off times that you can devote to this project. I suggest that you start out with sessions between one and two hours long. Blocking off ahead of time speaks to the priority you’re giving to this project in relationship to the other things going on in your life.
  • Reflect how you’ll feel once your project is completed. Spend time imagining how things will look and feel differently.
  • If you are going to be tackling a space such as a basement, think about your plans for that space once it’s organized and cleaned out. This will help keep you motivated and working toward your end goal.  
  • Plan ahead for success by looking over the area that you’re going to be working on. Do you anticipate throwing things out or donating items? If so, make plans to support those actions such as having the right supplies at your fingertips like garbage cans or plastic bags for donations. If you’ll be donating to a local charity, check to see if they do pick-ups at your home and get a date scheduled with them. This will motivate you to get those bags filled on time! Be sure to get a receipt for your donations.
  • For big projects, arrange small incentives along the way in order to keep focused and working until completion. It could be something like dinner out, a shopping trip or lots and lots of chocolate!
  • Finally, if necessary, order a dumpster from your garbage hauler or city. Once it arrives, you’ll no longer have excuses for releasing items.

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