You decide it’s time to get organized. What do you do first? Pull everything out of the closet? No. Go buy new containers? No. Move items from one room to another? No.
The first step to getting organized is creating self-awareness.
This is the most essential step to getting organized and most people skip it completely!
Self-awareness…sounds boring and unnecessary, right? When you get inspired to organize, you want to jump into action and attack that closet right away. Well, keep the energy flowing, but be aware of what you need to do first. To have success in your organizing project — meaning you purge, organize, and maintain the order on-going — you need to start with self-awareness.
Here’s my reasoning as to why this is the most important step.
Why do I need to be self-aware in order to get organized?
You can’t fix what isn’t broken, and you can’t fix something unless you know what’s broken. You need to identify what is and isn’t working in your space in order to be able to organize affectively. Beginning by assessing the situation helps you to more strategically address or “fix” the disorganization.
What do I need to be aware of?
Before beginning to organize, it’s essential to take account of the project. Consider:
what is working in the space?
what isn’t working?
what do I hope to achieve by organizing?
what do I want to use this space for?
what should live in this space?
what’s the ultimate goal?
These are questions that will help you plan, as well as give you guidelines for making hard choices through out the project. When there is no awareness there is no plan. And when there is no plan there is no long-term success.
How will this benefit me?
Short term: this will help you analyze and strategize your steps to getting organized. You’ll have a clear idea on how to get your project from start to finish. Most importantly, when you get stuck or distracted throughout the project (and you will), you have a reference point to help you get back on track. Whom ever first said: “start with the end in mind,” was very wise, and probably very productive, I’d assume.
Long term: the process of getting organized can be the easy part for some people. Staying organized is the challenge part for most people. If you start your project with a plan, you are much more likely to maintain the space long term because you have a reason and a method for why/how you organized it the way you did. It was an intentional project to improve your quality of life rather than a crash course in organizing.
Getting organized comes more naturally for some than others. ALL levels of organizers need to take this step of self-awareness before starting any project: assess and plan.
Author, Julie Morgenstern, says in her book Organizing from the Inside Out: “The point is that self-awareness is your most powerful tool in getting and staying organized.”
Before you start your next organizing project, take a few minutes to assess and plan in order to create self-awareness for both short and long term success! Who knows, you may learn that what you thought was broken, wasn’t even the cause of the problem.
Is it hard for you to create your own self-awareness? Michelle Kuiken’s coaching skills can help you create the awareness you need so you can step into action. Contact her for a coaching session via phone or hands on organizing support.