The Organizing Mistake You Might Be Making

By: Ginger Hanson 

After I completed the minimalism challenge and found 465 items to get rid of, it made sense that my next challenge would continue on home improvement train – 30 days of organizing. There are many areas inside my home that need a lot of work in that department. I think it’s a common trap to fall into after moving to throw stuff in a spot with the intention of coming back later to finish putting it away or organizing it. For my challenge, I wanted to focus on key areas that I was struggling with rather than setting a task of a certain amount of time per day organizing. So, I determined which areas would encompass my challenge including the fridge, our small kitchen pantry and the hallway closet, to name a few.

Well, the days ticked by and I would simply stare into those spaces. I opened the pantry and closed the pantry and reopened it and closed it again. I stopped in front of the hallway closet only to feel to overwhelmed and walk away. I scrolled through endless organizing posts on Pinterest. I searched for just the right baskets and containers to start the projects. While I did manage to organize a few small areas, I was nowhere near the mark of successful and I felt guilty about my lack of progress.

That is, until I read a passage in Gretchen Rubin’s book titled Happier At Home. A friend of hers had mentioned she needed to get organized and Rubin’s response was “you might try getting rid of stuff first. Then you won’t have to organize it.” It might seem like the most obvious thing, but it struck me why I was struggling with the challenge I had set for myself. I’m not done getting rid of stuff yet! I don’t want to organize because I don’t want to keep all of the stuff in those areas yet. Organizing is a great goal and a good challenge to accomplish, but I have to be ready to organize before I will be successful. And I’m just not there yet. I haven’t decluttered everything that I want to declutter yet. 

While this challenge was definitely not my most successful challenge, I did learn from it. I will continue to declutter and when I’m in a good place there, I will have to attempt the organizing challenge again. If you’re finding it difficult to organize, you might be making the same mistake I did. It’s as simple as getting rid of stuff first so you don’t have to organize it.

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