Since the launch of A New Leaf in 2006, Cathy Mendler has extended her reach beyond the needs of her own clients to inspire individuals and businesses across Canada to organize their space, increase their productivity and simplify their lives.
RESOLVING TO GET ORGANIZED
Whether you need to organize your home, your office–or both–here are some ideas to help you succeed. Let’s get started and turn over another leaf!
Set aside some time to think about what you want to organize. Make yourself a cup of your favourite hot drink. Grab a pen and some paper. Did you know that if you write down your goals, you are more likely to achieve them?
Create a Master List
Go through your house thinking about one room at a time. Take photos of each room; decorators say you’re able to view it more objectively. Determine what functions each room has to fulfill. If the room has to perform multiple functions, create a different zone for each activity.
Your master list should contain all of the projects that you want to complete. Estimate how long you think each project will take. Be realistic.
The next step is to prioritize your list, and determine which room you will work on first. It’s best to start with the room that causes you the most stress.
When you schedule organizing sessions in your planner or calendar, you’re making a commitment to do the required work.
You may not be able to complete a room all at once. If necessary, divide it into sections, and work on one section at a time. If you only have one hour, pick a project from your list that you can complete in that time period.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. If you want to organize a number of areas, schedule a family meeting. Involving the whole family in the process can teach them valuable life-long skills. Just remember that children can’t stay focused as long as an adult. Try to make it fun!
It’s also a good idea to schedule a snack break; prepare snacks ahead of time. Plan ahead–when cooking, double a recipe and freeze one batch. At the end of the day when you’re tired, you’ll have an easy meal!
Stock up–garbage bags, recycle bin, empty boxes, cleaning supplies, rubber gloves, etc. Label boxes—Keep, Sell and Donate.
Use storage containers that you already own—the ones you emptied when you de-cluttered. For some items, you may need to purge before you can determine what type of containers you need.
Harold Taylor, a leading Canadian time management expert, tells us studies have found that you’ll accomplish more if you focus on one task at a time.
Gather together everything you want to store in an area before you start organizing that space. Start by grouping similar items together, so it’s easier to make a decision about what to keep. Place items that belong elsewhere in a box just outside the room. It’s easy to become distracted if you leave the room.
Resist the urge to tell yourself, “I may need it someday.” Remember to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE.
Take a break–set a timer–to keep up your energy level. This is especially important when working with children.
Similar items should be stored together and as close as possible to where they are used. An item is more likely to be put back if its home is close at hand.
Clear storage containers should be used as much as possible, so you can see what is inside. Be sure to label all containers.
Maintaining your organized space will require some effort from everyone. Make tidying up part of your children’s chores. Schedule a daily or weekly clean-up time, so things don’t get out of control. If you find something isn’t working, don’t give up. Schedule a family meeting; a small change may be all that’s required.
When you’re done, don’t forget to reward your children and yourself for all your hard work!
For more organizing solutions, check Cathy’s website: