11 Reasons Your Home Organizing Projects Fail

SuccessFailureDoes that headline sound too harsh? I apologize if it does.  I feel strongly about sharing these with you, not so you feel bad, but so you can avoid these mistakes in the future. Plus, I just framed them this way because it makes for a more dramatic post. I’ll try to keep it drama-free from now on.

On day #3 in my 31 Days for Real Life Organizing series, I listed the 9 most common mistakes people make in execution of organizing around the home in general. Today, I’m sharing what I saw and experienced when working with clients during a home organizing session.

  1. You didn’t allocate enough time- People often grossly underestimate how much time and energy an organizing project will take.
  2. Allowing interruptions- Arrange for the children to be elsewhere {unless it’s their space}, ban pets from the space, turn your ringer off and shut down your tablet/computer, etc.
  3. Not defining boundaries- You need to define boundaries on your project according to the time slot and help you have available. Typically, you are not going to be able to organize the entire garage in 2-3 hours on your own. Start small. If you finish with plenty of time, then you can move on to the next area of the room.
  4. Not preparing supplies- If you have to leave the space repeatedly to get supplies, you may get easily distracted and forget to come back.
  5. Shopping first- Unless you are a professional and have an area of specialty {i.e. packing for moves, kitchens, etc.) you should not go shopping until you’ve worked through the space. I have a 3-step plan for organizing projects that i’ll share with you soon. I’ll tell you when you should do your shopping and why.
  6. Not fueling properly…or at all- Food and hydration are necessary to fuel your body. Organizing on an empty stomach makes it difficult to focus, make decisions and makes you cranky {ok, it makes me cranky anyway}.
  7. Not energizing yourself/your environment- Put on comfortable clothes and shoes {organizing can get messy and dangerous at times}. Make sure you have enough lighting and choose your noise energy. What? Individuals define noise differently and are energized/focused by different sounds. For example, unless I’m watching TV I find the noise of it to be annoying and distracting. You might find that silence does that for you. Depending on the situation and level of concentration required, music is also an option.
  8. Leaving the space- This is one of the most common things most non-professionals do. They leave the space everytime they find something that belongs elsewhere. I highly recommend leaving 15-30 minutes at the end of your organizing session to put things away. Otherwise, you may never get through the intended space.
  9. Not having a plan or system- This is pretty standard for most non-professionals. Many people jump right into the “doing” of the project and resist doing any planning. If that works for you, great. Then you don’t need to be reading this. Planning your project in advance {15-30 minutes will do for many projects around the house} will help you achieve your goals successfully. If you don’t map out your destination, you could be going nowhere fast.
  10. Trying to get it all done in a day or weekend- Organizing is a physically {and mentally} draining job. My home organizing sessions were 4-hours. I found this to be the best balance of being able to get enough done to make an impact and having enough energy.
  11. Asking a friend or family member help you organize- This one can go either way. On numerous occasions, I’ve been called to help organize a space after a friend or family member applied their “brand of organized” to the space. You may have a friend or family member that is fantastic at helping you get organized. Unfortunately, it is the exception not the rule, in my experience. A close friend or family member can be judgmental {without meaning to be} and since they have a personal relationship with you, may share their personal views about you, your stuff or your space into the session with them. Additionally, just because someone is great at organizing themselves doesn’t mean they have the patience, skills and understanding to help someone else.

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