One Shelf At A Time

This has been coming for awhile. Every time I sit to read in my favorite spot on the couch, I fight the nagging inner voice saying, "You really need to organize that end table." Every time I bring in the mail, I inwardly kick myself that I still haven't cleared out the random cords and old Christmas cards from that file drawer in the nearby credenza so I can actually use it for (gasp!) filing the mail. And every time I sit at the table for dinner, I am distracted by the clutter I see on the kitchen counter  and the dining room credenza. 

I haven't always been like this. Organizing is a passion of mine. When I got my four-drawer file cabinet 12 years ago, I raced home eagerly every day to "play" with it. I anticipate and savor the January magazines and blogs with articles like "52 Ways to Stay Organized This Year" and "101 Products to Help You Declutter Your Home", and one of my favorite parties EVER was the one where the hostess complained about her disorganized pantry and not only accepted my offer to fix it, but let me do it right then and there! Ahhhhhh...sweet, sweet memories.

But the best indicator of my obsession with organizing was that my house was actually ORGANIZED. Everything had a place, and I could find anything in a moment or two, thanks to my constantly-updated inventory of everything (every. thing.) in my house. It was my normal. I loved it. 

And then I had kids. Not that it's directly their fault. But since their arrival, I've accumulated way more stuff and had way less time to deal with it. And, let's face it: I've added plenty of my own clutter (thanks to my love of flea markets, Archiver's, and Target) and have been less and less willing to spend my precious "me" time purging and organizing. 

So it's time for a change. And I am so off-the-charts, waking-up-excited PUMPED to get going! Inspired by @beckynovacek's Instagram journey the last couple of years (#40days40bags) and Apartment Therapy's January Cure, I'm plunging into a decluttering and reorganization of our complete home this month. 

STEP 1: For each room/closet, list every area that contains stuff. For example, my dining room list is "secretary, credenza, table, floor". (Yes, I've listed the floor in every room because sometimes that's the worst perpetrator. 😊)

STEP 2: Divvy up the list to tackle a certain amount of projects per day. I'll be doing three areas per day, not including the necessary post-Christmas cleanup that needed to happen first. 

STEP 3: Get to work!

A few key strategies that are helping me:

- Purge and organize only. Cleaning comes later.

- Work in 15-30 minute increments and take a short rejuvenation break in between to read, write, or play. If you're really in the zone when your timer goes off, reset for an additional session, but don't overdo or you'll lose interest.

- Organize for how you live, not how you think you should live. I learned this from one of my favorite organizers, Julie Morgenstern, and it makes an incredible difference. If you drop your purse on the nearest chair, create a dedicated hook or chair right inside the door that's for that sole purpose. If you uncork wine next to the sink, set a container there to collect them. Don't fight your tendencies. Organize them!

- Let your family know what you're doing and that you may (will) enlist their participation and/or help. 

I am confident that investing time in this project will be well worth it. I expect to be proud of my diligence and motivated to maintain it. I expect to feel peaceful in my house. I expect to be giddy with joy every time I find what I need within five seconds of wanting it. The day is coming, my friends! But only if I stop writing this post. 

Splendid organizing to you!