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Get Organized: Clear the Clutter
1. Set small goals.
Pick the area of your home that would bring you the most peace if it were organized. Is your closet in disarray? Is your junk drawer overflowing? If the task seems too big, break it down: Instead of tackling the whole kitchen, take it one shelf at a time. The sight of even a small clean space will inspire you to keep going.
2. Make a plan.
Create a vision of how you'd love the area to look. This mental picture will help you develop your action plan. Then, figure out how much time you can devote to the project, and stick to that schedule. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself about how much time you can give to the task and how long it will take.
3. Don't blame yourself.
You're not the only one drowning in clutter, so don't beat yourself up about it. Save your energy for making positive changes. If you catch yourself thinking a negative thought like I'm such a slob, replace it with something positive, like I'm taking control. Give yourself credit for trying.
4.Divide and conquer.
Sort your belongings into three piles: "toss," "keep," and "donate." If you're struggling with whether to keep a sentimental item you don't use, ask yourself, How will I feel next month if I give it away? And remember, sometimes the meaning is in the memory, not in the memorabilia.
5. Stick with it.
You did it! To stay organized, set rules on how you'll keep the area clutter-free. Maybe you'll declare the kitchen counter a sundries-free zone; maybe you'll vow to toss flyers twice a week. The more you stay organized, the more you'll feel like you own your space, instead of your space owning you.
Pulling It Together: 3 Questions for Ariane
Why is being organized so satisfying?
You can't control every part of your life, but you do have power over how organized you are, and it's satisfying to have a place where you don't feel overwhelmed. People often think, If I can't even find my keys, how am I supposed to handle anything else? When we are organized, we feel like our lives are in order too.
What can I do to achieve results that last?
Staying organized is about having an awareness of how much we want versus how much we need. As you're organizing, be aware of how many things you've used only once, twice, or not at all. Think of all the money you've wasted and keep that in mind the next time you're tempted to buy an item you may never use.
If I'm a disorganized person, can I really change who I am?
Absolutely. Everyone has at least one area of their life in control. Do you try to be punctual? Do you have your finances in check? You can carry over that skill. Start with one doable project, and bask in the feeling of success after you've nailed it. Remember, what you tell yourself can either limit you or set you free.