Welcome to 2021.  I hope you have challenges you conquer, joys you share and fun to revitalize yourself.

I am a naturally organized person.  It comes very easily to me. Many people find getting and staying organized difficult.  You will enjoy reading my guest blogger’s article on how to become neat by Sophia Perry of Arizona Moving Professionals.

Trust me when I tell you that a messy person can learn to be neat. As a former slob who daily transferred a ginormous pile of semi-dirty clothes from bed (when it’s sleep time) to the work desk, and vice versa, I can tell you, you too can transform. I don’t even know how it used to get to the point of having almost the entire content of my wardrobe on the bed. But it did.

And the story doesn’t end there. The most frustrating thing was the laundry. I wash one round. While it dries, the second is being washed. I still haven’t folded the first one, and the second is drying. Soon there is the third round. And the rest of my wardrobe is now clean but wrinkled beyond recognition, on an armchair waiting for something to happen. And when I finally get round to dealing with those mountains of clothes, I end up with a closet so messy that I don’t even know what clothes I have. I wish I could say these were my greatest issues, but… There were also dishes. Technically, the situation was the same as with the laundry. It’s just that I never managed to empty the dishwasher, so new dirty dishes piled up in the sink, and… Well, you get the picture. However, there is help! Much like the 12-step program, here too, there are steps to take to get on the path of tidiness.

1. Designate a place for each and every item you possess.

After a long day at work, believe me, I understand the tiredness. But don’t drop your pants, key, and shoes wherever you see fit and leave them lying there until you need them again. If you know that shoes belong in the hallway, keys on a peg next to the door, and jeans in the closet, go put them there. Repeat every day. It will start feeling normal. It will become an automatic thing.

2. Eyes on the prize – visualize the outcome and work on the road to get there.

To stay motivated, it’s vital to be realistic. Start small. Set a few attainable goals every day, and cross them off the list once you’ve done them. The crossing off will create a feeling of accomplishment and get you incentivized to keep going. It’s like training yourself. In addition to daily plans, start making weekly and monthly plans as well. Put them up on your fridge, so you remind yourself of what needs doing. It will bring some organization to your life.

Motivation can come unexpectedly. For example, once I heard a motivational speaker, whose name I can’t recollect, say: “If your bed is a mess, your life is a mess.” He explained that it’s his morning routine that makes him successful. He gets up, works out, and makes his bed. Making the bed is a task he completed early in the morning. So he set himself for success. He already accomplished something. Needless to say, I have made a habit of making my bed every morning now.

Set small goals every day and cross them off the list. It will make you feel like you have accomplished something.

3. Stop with the hoarding.

Stop piling up clutter. Having too many things is what complicates the cleaning process. And not just that, to many items to wipe, move, dust are downright overwhelming. As Marie Kondo says, and I’m paraphrasing – if it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it. Also, if you haven’t used it for a long time – get rid of it. If you don’t need it – you’ve guessed it, it goes out. Finally, don’t accumulate sentimental knickknacks. Don’t get attached to things. They are just things. Many have fallen into this trap. If you don’t enjoy, need, or use something, lose it. A messy person can learn to be neat if they learn to declutter mercilessly! I have come to despise ornaments with no purpose, just because they add to the cleaning time. And time is precious.

Moreover, clutter can get in the way of productivity. Therefore, tidying up your workspace is very important. This is especially crucial if you work from home. There are already too many distractors. And several dirty coffee mugs, a mountain of clothes on your chair, dirty socks on the floor are not helpful. Also, too many things on your desk, such as purposeless ornaments, don’t make for a suitable working environment.

Clutter can get in the way of productivity. Keep your workspace tidy and organized.

4. Simplify cleaning.

How can cleaning be simplified, you wonder? Well, simple. Organize your home so that it’s easier to tidy. Decluttering is one way to do it. But you can do more. For instance, I’ve realized that curtains really make my life difficult. So I got rid of them and replaced them with zebra blinds. They are stylish, modern, and, most importantly, easy to maintain. There is no washing, ironing, hanging. Just occasional wipe with a wet cloth and a bit of dusting. Good quality ones are antistatic, so even dusting is optional. Think of the areas in your home that cause you the most headaches, and figure out ways to make them more manageable.

5. It all boils down to making new habits.

Make yourself do something, even the smallest thing, every day. Not every week or every few days, but every single day. The point is to make it a habit to keep your home neat and tidy. If tidiness doesn’t come instinctively, you must train yourself. Basically, repeat until it’s a routine. Every time you leave a room, try to leave it better than you found it. Put a thing or two away. As you cook, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher as soon as you are done with them. Wipe the surface the second you spill something. Don’t let things get really filthy. So big cleaning will be less frequent.

If tidying up doesn’t come instinctively to you, make a habit of it.

A messy person can learn to be neat

Some people call it a creative mess. Some say they can only function in chaos. They claim they can’t find anything if their home is tidy. But is it really true? Or are those excuses? Old habits are hard to break, but a messy person can learn to be neat. It’s essential to change self-image. You are not a slob or a lazy person – you need to purge. Rid yourself of clutter and bad habits. Finally, make positive associations with cleaning. Listen to music or an audiobook. That way, an unpleasant, mundane task will become something more enjoyable.

Let me help you to leave your messy self behind. Book a 30-minute complimentary virtual organizing assessment.  https://mindoverclutter.as.me/virtualorganizingassessment

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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