On the road to minimalism? Here’s one little change in mindset that makes a big difference finish organizing projects faster.
Finish Organizing Projects Faster
You know when you first start an organizing project, decisions are so hard to make and come slowly? People say things like:
- This is a cute necklace. I’ll keep it…just in case I have an outfit for it someday.
- This was important to my mom. I should keep it a while longer.
- I don’t really have space for this, but it’s kind of cute. Maybe I’ll ask my sister/neighbor/house cleaner if she wants it. (Read: I’m not ready to part with it, so I’ll defer the decision to someone else.)
This a strong case of the Endowment Effect, which I wrote about this in my book, Organizing Your Home with SORT and Succeed.
Then after an hour, a day, or several days of wading through things that you forgot or didn’t even know you owned, you’re like, screw it. I’m over it. Faced with reality of too much stuff and not enough time or space, exhausted and wanting to be done already, it sounds more like this:
- Uhg, ANOTHER pair or scissors! You’ve got to be kidding me! Donate!
- Cute! But donate!
- Nice, but where would I put it? Donate!
- I can’t even believe I’ve been storing this (junk!) for so many years. Toss! Toss! Toss!
Mindset Shift for Organizing
At the start of the project, it takes my clients half an hour to unwrap, handle, evaluate, and decide on each individual item in just one box. So tedious!
By the end of a project, they look at the label on the box (Christmas), peek inside and see red and green, and pass it to me for the donation pile. Next!!!
How I Finished My Organizing Project Faster
I went through my own version of this when we organized my basement. We plan to empty half of our basement to create a teen hangout. The kids are getting older and need their space. My business has shifted a bit during the pandemic, and I don’t need everything I’ve been storing. Even so, I knew those feelings would come up as I played the role of the pro organizer and the client.
- What if I need it someday?
- I used to love that! Maybe I should keep it.
- I hate to throw out or donate something I spent money on!
My goal was to donate (or toss) half of what was in the basement. In order to get there more quickly, I had to pretend I was already over it, before I became exhausted.
- If I haven’t seen it in years, I don’t really need it!
- If it’s still in the original packaging, it needs to find a new home with someone else!
- If it’s gotten dusty, damaged, or mildewed, I don’t want to touch it. Ewww!
- Sure I could make a project from it, but would I be happier with the space cleared? Yes!
- Can I make more than $50 selling it? I’m listing it!
With this kind of attitude, I was in the right frame of mind to pitch, toss, fill up the car with donations, and clear out the space! (I posted the finished $100 basement makeover here.)
Learning to finish organizing project faster this way is definitely an advanced organizing skill, but I know you, dear reader, are advanced!
Getting over your stuff before you even start organizing requires a mindset shift, but it can save you hours! Are you up for it?