Help with Developing a Plan

It is good to have clear goals and effective steps to reach them. Your initial plan is a place to start and will need to be adjusted as you learn more.

I have listed a number of steps to take in order to help you develop a plan. Try not to get weighed down by any of these suggestions.

The purpose of this step is to encourage you to think about what you want, to possibly discuss it with someone you trust, and to begin with a clear path to success.

Suggested Steps

  1. Identify and list problem area(s). With pencil and paper in hand, walk around your house and make a list of what needs to be organized. If you can feel overwhelmed by that much information, focus on making a list for one room. The point is to get as big of a picture as you can handle while still feeling hopeful.
  2. Decide which area you want to work on first. Choose an area that will give you a high reward when it is organized but will not take more than one block of time (four hours or so). You want to accomplish your goals one success at a time.
  3. Determine how you would like this area to look. What are your trying to accomplish? It is helpful to know where you are heading. Are you looking for an efficient work space or an uncluttered space to find quiet and rest? Will the space need to be painted? Will you need some new furniture? Get a vision. Then take it one step at a time. Decluttering and organizing are first. Resist the urge to run out and buy anything. The clearer and more orderly your closets and rooms are the easier the decorating will be.
  4. Estimate the amount of time you will need to complete the project, and then double it. Most organizing projects take much longer than you think they will. The project or portion of the project needs to be completed before your allotted time runs out. That means you will need to plan to stop at least one half hour or more before your time is up in order to take out the trash, put all the give away bags or boxes in the car or specifically designated area, and put away all the things you found that need to go somewhere else in the house.
  5. Determine when you will have the time available. If you have a large project (like your whole house), it will be necessary to schedule a number of work sessions. You will need to make getting organized a top priority for a time. Keep in mind that when things are in order you will be saving time by no longer taking hours looking for things you know you have but can’t locate. And  you will be saving money by not having to buy things you already own but can’t find.
  6. Decide if you will need help in order to get the job done. If it looks as if you will never have enough time to get the job done, you may need assistance. When that is the case, choose the helper carefully. You will need someone you can trust will honor your decisions. Someone who will not gossip. Someone who is organized and helpful. If you do not know someone like that you may want to hire a professional organizer.
  7. Determine how you will dispose of your trash. Make sure you have large trash bags in two colors—use one for trash and one for non-breakable donations–and some boxes for breakable donations. For large projects, you may want to rent a dumpster or call for a large pick-up from your city or county.
  8. Determine where you will take your donations. Locate a goodwill, thrift store, homeless shelter or other charity that is close to you. Find out what they will take and when.
  9. Talk with everyone who will be affected by what you are planning to do. You will need to assure people that you will not make decisions about anything that belongs to them. Respecting others people property is one of the most important things you can do. This includes your children. Many people have been deeply hurt because someone threw away something that was special to them. Often these people develop an aversion to letting go of anything. If no one is interested in cooperating with your plan, then focus on your own stuff and give them time to observe the results.
  10. Determine what you will need to help you maintain a positive attitude. You may need an accountability partner to help you stay on track. It may help to keep the to-do list you made handy and to check things off as you finish them. If your project is a large one, you may want to decide on some rewards for yourself and anyone else who is participating. In the end, having things organized is its own reward.

Helpful things to remember:

  • It is best to own no more than fits into the space where you live.
  • It is easy to feel bad when you compare your house to other people’s seemingly well-organized homes.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Take it one step at a time and one day at a time.
  • Do what you know how to do; then you can learn more.
  • You will need to maintain whatever you have organized.

 

Now read Four Simple ( Not Necessarily Easy) Steps for Organizing Your Possessions.

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Florence Feldman

Florence Feldman has lived through a lot of different situations, from finding herself an overwhelmed single mom at 28 to caregiving for her mother with dementia for 6 years to surviving cancer. Florence learned to organize to survive. Along the way, she became a professional organizing consultant, and for more than 30 years has been helping others get unstuck and find freedom. At the ripe young age of 68, she produced an award-winning documentary that has offered encouragement to hundreds of caregivers. Florence has also been speaking for most of her adult life, delighting audiences by dealing with deep and sensitive topics with humor and candor.