Joy Loving Home (2)We’ve all heard the age old question…
Which came first? The Chicken or The Egg?
In Organizing the question is…
Which comes first? Catching Up or Keeping Up?
There are two different philosophies surrounding this question. Let’s look at the pros and cons to each. Then I will share where I stand on this question.
The idea of Keeping Up before you can catch up is valid. Your house didn’t get to its current state overnight and you can’t expect it to change overnight either. Starting with the discipline of systems and routines makes sense. It allows you to slowly see progress overtime by developing lasting habits that will help you dig out of your current state of disorganization and clutter.
If you like the sound of this method, you might consider reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He outlines steps to take each morning that will set you up for success. While they are not directly related to decluttering and organizing, they create a framework of discipline that will help you tackle whatever is holding you back.
A more direct approach to decluttering and organizing in small bite size steps is The Fly Lady. She has a whole program you can follow that will start with an evening routine of cleaning your sink and will help you build success one baby step at a time.
This systems first approach is successful for a lot of people! The downside however, much like slow steady weight loss, is that sometimes it is hard to stay motivated when you can’t see big progress. Patience and consistency is the key to this approach but if you can stay disciplined in both areas you really will see a difference over time.
The idea of Catching Up before you can begin to keep up is valid as well. What is there to keep up with if there isn’t a single system in place to begin with? Starting with a huge overhaul where you get everything set up right once makes sense. It allows you to start with a clean slate and the motivation to keep things that way.
If you like the idea of this method, you should consider reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book outlines the Konmarie method of sorting through your whole house by category. Marie Kondo suggests you go through this method as one big push from start to finish so that you can feel the impact of this overall change in your surroundings and subsequently your thinking about the way you view items in your home.
This overhaul approach is successful for a lot of people! The downside however, is that if you don’t have the discipline to keep up your new surroundings, your house will go back to disarray and the letdown of that can be really defeating. Old habits can be really hard to break even with new surroundings. It is similar to gaining weight back after losing a lot on some sort of fad diet. Quick results can be so motivating but not necessarily long lasting.
So what is the answer? If catching up or keeping up both have downsides what can you do?
The answer is BOTH!
Catch up and Keep Up! How? Let’s look at the Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball method, for answers.
If you aren’t familiar with this method, you can read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey or just google the Debt Snowball for full details. In a nutshell, Dave suggests that people list their credit card or other debt in order from smallest amount to largest amount regardless of interest rate. Then he says to pay off the smallest debt first and once it has been wiped out you put all of your energy into the next largest and next largest. This results in a snowball building effect as it rolls down a hill. Each time you wipe out a debt, you aren’t responsible for those minimum payments or increasing debts anymore! Since you were paying them anyway, you just increase the amount you are paying the next one down, until it builds your ability to pay each one off more quickly.
How does this apply to clutter?
Think about your home in terms of which rooms are the most organized and neat and which rooms are the worst. Write down every room or space in your home in order from neatest to most disorganized.
Now tackle the neatest first. Get a quick win! Go all out in that first space. Remove everything and sort it into categories. Give the whole space a good cleaning. Purge anything you don’t love or use. Now put things back into that space only if they belong there. How do you know they belong? Because they fit the ideal vision for how you want that space used. Next containerize and label things so they will have a clear home and everyone in the home will know where to put things back.
Once this first space is done, add some fun new decorations, or paint, admire it and MAINTAIN it. Once you love how it functions and looks, you will be motivated to keep it that way. Once you are able to maintain this one small space for a few weeks add the next and the next, just like the debt snowball.
- You will be motivated to keep going because you are seeing results.
- You will be able to maintain because you are building the scope of what you need to maintain slowly.
- Your skill will build as your organized spaces build so you will be able to see the change continue for the long haul.
Each time you choose a new space, evaluate what is working and not working from the previous space.
- Does everything have a home?
- Is it clearly labeled?
- If things aren’t finding their way home, why?
- Is your new system too complicated or set up in the wrong way for how your family lives or where they use the items?
A newly organized space is only a success if it works and is maintainable based on how your family lives.
If this still all sounds like too much to tackle, consider using an organizer. We help by listening to your vision and how you live and function in order to get you those big wins!
If you live in the North Fulton, GA area and want help, I’d love to hear from you!
Click here to book a complimentary consultation!