"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
- Arthur Ashe
Organizing your space (and life!) can seem like a HUGE task when you're first getting started. Perfectly curated IG accounts and Pinterest boards will have you wondering how your space will ever look like that...but it IS possible! The most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter where you're starting from and how long the road may seem, a well-organized life is within your reach!
"Start Where You Are"
Every journey starts with that very first step towards your goal. No matter how large or how small, it gets you moving in the right direction and on your way to the organized life you want!
Map Out Your Way
Like many things, when it comes to organizing it's important to start your journey by getting a good idea of where you're starting from:
What chaotic spaces cause you the most stress?
Which space would probably be the easiest fix and take the least amount of your time to conquer?
Is there anything in particular that needs to be done before an important deadline (guests coming for a visit, the arrival of a new baby, etc.)?
By looking at the larger picture of all of the things you want to correct you'll not only have a better idea of where you're starting from, you'll also have a nice road map of what you need to accomplish to get where you're going.
Once you're finished listing out your trouble areas, you'll be able to prioritize the things that need to be done and break down what at first glance seems like an overwhelmingly large task into smaller, less intimidating projects.
Marking Milestones Along the Way
As an 80's baby/90's kid, one of my favorite memories from grade school was the Pizza Hut rewards program with Accelerated Reader (I was a nerd, if you can't tell from this being a favorite memory 😉).
I used to love collecting my little stickers, adding them to my button, and watching as I got closer and closer to the free personal pan pizza! In the drab adult world, we rarely have visuals of progress as exciting as that was but setting milestones is just as important now as it was then.
After you have your list of organizing to-do's, you can break them down into smaller projects that act as milestones along your path to an organized life. Think of them as the little stickers on the Accelerated Reader button.
Getting one project done isn't going to magically organize your whole life, but it does get you one step closer and that's still something to celebrate!
And really, that's the whole point of setting milestones - giving yourself small accomplishments to celebrate along that long road. This helps you to stay motivated, keep a positive attitude about the process, and remind yourself of the progress you're making.
"Use What You Have"
So you have a plan and you have it broken down into pieces that are manageable enough to keep you from freaking out just by looking at your to-do list. You're all set to get started and then it hits you. You kinda need some "stuff" to organize with, right?
Maybe some baskets to organize your bathroom drawers and cabinet. A bookcase to organize the books and DVDs in your living room. Cute envelopes to keep your budgeted cash categories separate in your purse.
The thought of having to spend money may derail your organizing journey before it even gets started!
But while it's true that organizing takes "stuff", that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be brand new things that you have to go out and purchase.
You'd be surprised what you can do with "stuff" from around the house:
Empty baby food jars are perfect for keeping paper clips and pushpins organized in your office
Produce crates from the farmer's market can turn into a statement piece in your living room as storage for books, DVDs, CDs, and vinyl records
A couple of coats of spray paint turn old flower pots into super cute storage containers for makeup brushes or art supplies
As a DIY junkie, I love to upcycle old "stuff" and turn it into new "stuff"! The possibilities are endless when you mix in a little bit of spray paint, a hot glue gun, and a few minutes of creativity time. I collect great ideas for organizing DIYs over on my DIY Organization board on the DeeCluttered Pinterest account.
If DIY'ing just isn't your thing, check out the #DeeClutteredPicks series here on my blog and look out for the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for great deals I come across on new items that you can add to your organizing arsenal without breaking your budget!
"Do What You Can"
Your plan ✔
Congratulations, you've set yourself up for a good start to your organizing journey! Now it's down to the most important thing to remember throughout this entire process - "Do what you can".
Even the best plan can fail if you go into it with unrealistic expectations, so don't sabotage your organizing journey by stressing yourself out with unnecessary pressure!
If you work the standard Monday-Friday, 9-5 work week, it makes little sense to expect yourself to organize your entire home in seven short days.
Especially if you're anything like me, you spend the day running through a list of all of the things you'll get accomplished when you get home...just to get home and want nothing more than to sit on the couch and let Hulu take up the rest of your night.
Or you may be determined to make this the year you pay off all of your debt. You create a great budget (your plan), download some pretty printables, and add a few cool personal finance apps.
You may think you're good to go but if your budget is based on side hustle income that you may or may not get and budget categories that leave no room for your social butterfly lifestyle, you'll probably find yourself struggling one week in.
So make sure to adjust your plan (and your expectations!) to your life - your work schedule, your personal life, your habits, your likes/dislikes, your strengths, and your weaknesses - so that it is the most realistic it can be.
This is the best way to be successful in reaching the destination at the end of that long road - a well-organized life!