Around here our motto is “more fun, more done.” While you might debate whether the fun should come before the done, you’ll probably agree that the more fun something is, the more likely you are to do it. If you want to get more organized, but find yourself resisting getting started, look for ways to make getting organized more fun (or if you’re like me, even more fun than it already is!).
1. Turn decluttering into a game of beat the clock.
In my online workshops, I advocate using a timer and decluttering for (at least) 15 minutes a day. The timer helps you stay focused on the task at hand, plus it’s a terrific opportunity to turn decluttering into a game. See how many items you can drop into your decluttering basket before the timer dings and keep track of your record. Then, challenge yourself to beat your record each time you declutter.
2. Organize with friends.
Everything in life is more fun with a friend along for the ride. This may be one of the reasons that our college years hold a special place in so many people’s hearts. Nearly every activity I did in a typical college day—from eating breakfast to brushing my teeth before bed—was done with a friend within earshot. Everything is more fun when you have a friend to share your experience, whether you’re cramming for final exams or un-cramming your overstuffed closet. So, ask a friend to be your decluttering buddy. Or join a simplify 101 workshop where you’ll find all sorts of friends who understand firsthand the trials and triumphs of the organizing journey.
3. Play happy music.
Get into the happy zone when you organize by turning on some uplifting music. Put together an organizing mix for your iPod or MP3 player and fill it with you favorite upbeat songs. Then, crank the tunes every time you declutter. You may even find yourself dancing as you pluck items and drop them in your decluttering container. Now that sounds like fun, right?
4. Track your progress.
The most fun spaces to organize are the ones where you can see visual evidence of your efforts right away. But what about really big projects or paper-organizing projects where progress is slower going and harder to see? Develop a visual way to track your progress and sustain your motivation. Keep a tally of the number of grocery bags of shredded paper and black garbage bags of stuff you clear from your home this year. Or, do as author Gail Blanke recommends in her book Throw Out Fifty Things, and make it your goal to get rid of 50 different items in the months ahead. For example, 10 books counts as one type of item (books). Or make it a goal to declutter for a certain amount of time each day and track your progress on a year-at-a-glance calendar, marking an X each day you hit your target.
5. Connect with the end result.
Create a list of all the benefits you’ll achieve by being more organized, and then anytime you start to feel your enthusiasm waning, picture yourself enjoying these benefits. Some of the most common benefits of getting organized include being able to spend more time relaxing with family and friends, eliminating stress, locating things right when you need them, entertaining and having people over for casual get-togethers, and saving money. (And I’m just scratching the surface!) The important thing is to figure out what’s in it for you. What will you be able to do easier, better, more often or at all because your home is organized? Create a list and then picture yourself enjoying those benefits as you organize.
6. Schedule fun-filled micro-breaks.
Anytime you organize for a longer period of time, be sure to schedule fun, midstream breaks. Take a few minutes to enjoy a favorite healthy snack or spend a few minutes browsing on Pinterest for organizing inspiration. Go for a brisk walk around the block or just lie down for 10 minutes and visualize your project’s end result. If you give yourself permission to stop and catch your breath, you’ll be more energized and get more done—which is always a lot more fun.
7. Give yourself permission to experiment and play.
There’s nothing that takes the fun out of a task quite like expecting perfection—especially if it’s a task you don’t do often or don’t enjoy doing in the first place. Instead of trying to get your organizing projects perfect the first time around, give yourself the freedom to experiment, play and try things on for size. You’ll eliminate a lot of pressure and give your creativity the chance to run wild. In the process, you’ll have a lot more fun, too.
8. Celebrate your achievements.
Celebrate your organizing milestones—big and small—each step of the way. When you finish organizing a room or declutter for 15 minutes a day for two weeks straight, treat yourself to something fun like a bubble bath, a massage or time spent on a favorite hobby. (Just make sure your organizing carrot doesn’t involve bringing new stuff into your home!)
9. Use fun containers.
Containers are like the icing on the organizing cake. They can give your organizing project that extra dose of style and color, and make your organizing efforts all the sweeter. When it comes time to select containers for your organizing projects, choose something you really love. Not only will it make the process of getting organized more fun, if you love how your space looks when you’re done, you’ll be more motivated to keep it that way.
10. Add a dose of creativity and personality to your projects.
Creating customized organizing solutions for your projects is a terrific way to make the organizing process more enjoyable. For example, in Organize Your Paper Clutter, I show you how to create customized file folders using scrapbook paper. This means you can create paper-organizing systems that are pleasing to your eye, and you’ll get to exercise your creative muscles in the process. If you don’t enjoy crafty projects, look for office supplies and storage solutions that reflect your personality and add a bright spot to your home.
Once you try these tips and gain some confidence, organizing will be fun all on its own! Have you ever noticed that you tend to avoid tasks you don’t feel you’re very skilled at, instead gravitating to the activities you know you do well? This is perfectly natural. We’re hardwired to stay in our comfort zone, which is one of the reasons it can be difficult to get started on the organizing journey if you haven’t organized for a while. The only way to get better at anything is to do it, and as you do you gain confidence, which makes doing the task more and more fun. Keep this in mind as you begin your organizing journey – the more you do it, the more you’ll like it!
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