10 Steps to Avoid Organizing Overwhelm

The following post is from Laura of I’m an Organizing Junkie:

10 Steps to Avoid Organizing Overwhelm at lifeyourway.net

image credit: Maigh


One of the most common organizing questions I get is, “I’m so overwhelmed with all my stuff. Where do I start?”

I know how easy it is to be discouraged by all we have to do that we simply drag our feet and do nothing. We look around at our spaces and think, “I’m never going to get to the end.” It’s frustrating and draining when the task ahead seems to be more than we can handle.

Here are some steps to encourage and support you with avoiding the dreaded organizing overwhelm:

1. Once you decide that you are ready to make a change, create a list of all the areas of your home you want to organize. Take a walk around your house and get it ALL down on paper.

2. Now break areas down into tasks that will fit short periods of time that you can manage easily. For instance if in step one you listed you wanted to organize your sewing room, go one step further and break that task down into manageable steps (ie: sort fabric into colors, purge 10 things, consolidate sewing accessories, etc..)

image credit: hello-julie

3. Determine how many tasks you can tackle a day based on the time periods set in step two. For instance if you broke tasks down into 15 minute increments perhaps you can accomplish two a day. Set a goal, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

4. Start with the area that gives you the most stress. If you use a certain cupboard every single day and every single day when you open that cupboard door something falls out on you, start there.

5. Don’t jump from area to area. Finish all the tasks associated with one area before moving to the next. Savor the victory of completion, and this will provide the motivation you need to continue.

6. Along with a garbage bag, keep three boxes or baskets handy: one for items that need to go somewhere else in the house, one for donation elsewhere, and one for items that need to be actioned (ie: to repair, returned, etc)

7. Don’t complicate matters by running out and buying new containers before you really know what it is you need to containerize. Consolidate and purge items first.

image credit: snowpeak

8. Exercise your decision making skills. If you haven’t used something in a year or don’t love it, don’t keep it. The more you part with, the less you have to find a home for.

9. Ask a friend to help. A fresh set of eyes on your space is often the clarity you need to get unstuck. Another option is to hire a Professional Organizer to assist and support your endeavors. Prices vary from place to place. Visit these national organizations for further information.

10. Take it one day at a time and don’t look up!

For more information on how to break down tasks into manageable portions, check out my 52 Weeks of Organizing series.

Which step do you think would have the most impact on you?

Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing. You can find her blogging regularly at I’m an Organizing Junkie, and her organizing book, Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, is in stores now!