Most people who desperately want to get organized are held back by hidden obstacles they don’t understand. Too often, people are convinced that their clutter is the result of their own sloppiness, laziness, or incompetence. Not true! Thinking that way inaccurately puts the blame and shame on you- and prevents you from finding the right solution.
Over 26+ years as a professional organizer, I’ve learned that the key to getting organized begins with diagnosing the true cause of the clutter.
All messes can be attributed to at least one technical error. Technical errors are simple mistakes in your organizing system that can be as easy to fix as changing a light bulb. Revisit the piles in your life, without judgment, and see which of these mechanical mistakes could be at the root.
Here are the 4 most common causes of clutter & simple solutions to fix them!
1. Items have no home
Cause: Simply put, you can’t put things away if there’s no place to put them. If items are piled all over the place, it is likely that you never designated a particular spot for them. In other words, the item has no home.
Solution: Take the time to assign each item a single, consistent home, e.g.- invoices always go in this bin, notebooks always go in this drawer, binders always go on this shelf. Label everything so you’ll always remember where it belongs, and be able to easily find it when you need it.
2. More stuff than space
Cause:If your closets, drawers, cabinets and shelves are all packed full—and you still have lots of surface piles, you’ve got more stuff than storage space.
Solution: You’ve got two options: (1) Lighten your load, or (2) Add more storage space. Make sure you’re using the space you do have as efficiently as possible. Use stacking and carousel shelving to maximize storage in a small footprint, add rolling storage that can be tucked away helps and going vertical
3. Storage is Inconvenient
Cause: Is it too much of an ordeal to put things away? If you have to go climb a ladder, move a piece of furniture out of the way, or take a 5 minute walk just to put something away, you’ll never do it.
Solution: Store things where you use them to make them easily accessible. For example, Clear out archival files and unused supplies to make room for what you use daily within arm’s reach of your desk chair. Look to where the piles are, and create storage there.
4. Organizing is Boring
Cause: Lets’ face it—organizing and putting things away everyday is a dull, repetitive chore.
Solution: Make it more appealing and fun by adding a sense of personal style. Get containers you love instead of withering baskets, broken-filing cabinets and leftover moving boxes. Don’t underestimate the power of pizzazz; it can make a big difference in whether you feel inspired to use and maintain your organizing system.