Organize Your Life: 12 Step Program to End Clutter Now!

Is your home littered with little baskets and containers where you deposit everything that you don’t have time to put away? Do you have more than one junk drawer? Do you find yourself searching through piles of paperwork just to find that one item you need?

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, really. Thousands of American’s suffer from the same affliction. Try these 12 steps to organize your life.

1. Admit you are organizationally challenged and that your life is out of control: This means you have to accept the responsibility for yourself and stop blaming everyone else for you inability to organize your home.

2. Believe that with the proper techniques of organization you can organize your home and that it will restore you life. Believe it or not, there really are organizational techniques for doing the job. It may mean letting go of the junk in your life that you “might need someday”. Organization requires making some tough choices about what will stay and what will go. These sacrifices are worth it, once you have your home organized you will wonder why you held onto all that junk it in the first place.

3. Make a decision to commit 15 minutes a day to organize your life. That’s 15 minutes just for organization, not for the regular maintenance of your home. You may have the tendency to think you do not have an extra 15 minutes to devote purely to organization. You do. You waste more than that everyday looking for things. Once you have organized your home, you will actually have more time to do the things you want, because you won’t be wasting your time searching for things.

4. Admit to yourself and those you live with that you are organizationally challenged and have not been able to organize your life like you would like. You have to let go of the idea that if only everyone else would organize their things, you could too. This about you, not them.

5. Inventory the areas of your life that have been impacted by your inability to organize your life. Think of all the times you’ve gone to work wearing the wrong shoes because you couldn’t find the ones that matched perfectly. Think of the deadlines you’ve missed or burned the midnight oil to meet, because you couldn’t find all of your materials. You deserve better than that.

6. Prepare yourself to rid your life of clutter. Tell yourself that it is over. You are done. The clutter must go. You are no longer at the mercy of all your things. You are going to organize your life. Just imagine living in a clean and organized home where everything you need is at your fingertips.

7. Make a list of all the ways your inability to organize has hurt your family. Maybe you haven’t been that successful in your career because you simply hadn’t learned the skills to organize yourself and your life. Maybe you missed a deadline or a meeting that could have made the difference. Or maybe you are just so exhausted from always searching for what you need that you haven’t provided quality time with your family.

8. Apologize to family members for the harm your inability to organize has caused. Tell them what you are going to do about it. Be specific and enlist their help, if you can. Be prepared for their disbelief and maybe even failure to assist you in the beginning. They will come around when they see you organize your life and make the effort necessary to keep it organized.

9. Monitor your activities and admit your responsibilities to erase clutter in your home and organize it… Catch yourself before it’s too late. Before you set down an object… “just for a minute”, think about what you are doing. If you are finished with it, put it away where it belongs. It’s those “just for a minute” actions that got you where you are today.

10. Stop pointing the finger at someone else in your home when you lose things. If you left something where it doesn’t belong and someone moved it, it’s still your responsibility. It’s not their job to organize your life for you. You were the one who didn’t take care of it. Pointing your finger at others only builds excuses for your inability to organize and lets you pass the responsibility on to someone else.

11. Make a conscious effort everyday to maintain an organized home and office. The biggest problem is caused by the tendency to set things down with the intent to put it away later. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are too busy to do it now. If you do it now, you will have time for other things later. It is simply a habit you must build, that is all.

12. Having been enlightened and learned the skills to organize your life, share those skills with others who are organizationally challenged. That doesn’t mean preaching to them about the virtues of an organized home. Simply share your story with them. Tell then how much more time you have now, and how peaceful your life is once you learned to organize your life.

Now that you have the tools to begin organizing your life, you will need to set some specific goals that you can begin working on right away.

Take a good look around you and make a decision on where to start. Choose an area that causes you and your family difficulty everyday. Maybe it’s that cupboard that sends objects careening onto the counter every time you reach for an item. Maybe it’s the bookcase that has double rows of books with odds and ends tucked in between. Or maybe it is the unsightly mounds of paperwork that has invaded every corner of you desk.

Whatever it is; start there. Forget the notion that you are going to organize the whole house, or the whole office, all at once. Although that is a lofty goal that should be strived for; it’s important that you set short term attainable goals to get you started.

Focusing your efforts on one specific area will provide the opportunity to meet success almost immediately, and increase the chances that you will continue to work your way toward organizing your life.

Don’t be afraid to throw away an item that you no longer need. It served its purpose at the time. Let it go. Resist the urge to tuck unneeded items in an unused area because you might want it some day. You won’t and tucking it away in an unused corner of you desk or cupboard simply begins the process of collecting clutter before you have even finished organizing.

If you simply can not bear to throw away perfectly good items that you no longer need, set them aside in a box to donate to charity or give away to friends; but, only if you are absolutely committed to delivering the contents of the box to the new owner right away. Do not let the box sit in your home waiting for the moment when you have the time to deliver it. The longer it sits in your home, the greater the likelihood that it will become a catch-all box and will simply become another source of clutter.

Be conscious of the tendency to move clutter from one area to another. Although some items will justifiably belong in another area of your home, resist the urge to simply deposit the item in another cluttered area to get it out of your way. Think about where it really belongs and keep it there.

Celebrate your accomplishments. Once you have organized a section of your home; celebrate. Take a break from all your hard work and relax with a good cup of coffee or that special tea you like so much. Enjoy the feeling of knowing you are on your way to an organized life where everything you need is at your fingertips, instead of being held hostage by the clutter of your life.

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