Five questions: Getting organized
Organizing your home or office space may seem overwhelming at first, but the benefits are worth it, says Mary Ellen Vincent, a Kansas City-based professional organizer. Below, she offers some tips.
Q: The disorganization has built up for so long, I don’t know where to begin. What’s my first step?
A: Decide what you want to do with the space. For each room, determine its primary function. What are the other uses for the space? Will you read there? Play games? Exercise? Write? Allow the functions of the space to determine what you keep there. If you won’t use something in the space, try to find another place for it.
Q: What are the benefits to being organized?
A: The biggest benefit of being organized, in my opinion, is to have peace of mind. It comes from knowing what you have, where it belongs, and understanding the systems you use for maintaining your space. Function is more important than appearance.
Q: What can I do to stay organized once I’ve decluttered?
A: Some tips include:
• Scheduling regular activities or meetings at your home or in your office so you have an ongoing reason to maintain your space.
• Making your systems as simple as possible and teach all the other people who might use that space how to maintain it.
• Take photos of your space and analyze the appearance. Sometimes we stop seeing the clutter around us because we’re so used to it. A photo may tell us another story.
Q: What are some other tips?
A: Understand what is motivating you to get organized. The more commitment you have to improving your organization and maintaining your systems, the more permanent your end result will be.
Q: How can I inspire the same organization in my kids?
A: Kids learn from their parents. Be good examples and practice what you say you value. Talk about the value of being clean and organized and what it brings to you.