Happy Tuesday, all! Back in June I touched on the term “Get Organized” and what that entailed of. In case you missed it, you can find it here. For a quick recap, my method consists of three parts – the trifecta – to “Getting Organized”.
Today I want to expand more on the idea of being mentally organized. Lacking mental organization is the culprit to us not achieving the physical organization of our possessions. There are two main obstacles that keep us from being mentally organized; emotions and shame.
The first obstacle we face is emotion. Having emotions towards your objects is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s important that you allow yourself the time to feel all emotions and deal with them properly. If you are holding on to the belongings of a loved one that is no longer living, embrace their possessions. Honor your loved one by enjoying whatever the items may be and take time to understand how much it may have meant to them. If you have a souvenir that reminds you of a trip you took in your twenties, share the stories, relive the memories through your item, cry and laugh!! If you have remnants from your glory days (from whatever time of your life that may be), revel in those memories. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions connected to these items and remember all the memories, both good and bad. It’s what you do next that matters.
If after you’ve allowed yourself time to appreciate the items, you feel ready to let go of them, great! The important thing is being at peace with letting go of the item. If you are not at peace with letting go, ask yourself, "Why not?" What emotion is it bringing? Sadness or happiness? Regret, loss, bitterness? Pride, love, nostalgia? Pin point that and then you have your answer of what to do next. If they are bringing you the negativity, get rid of it. Life is too short to be holding on to anything that brings you bad memories and stress into your life. However, if the items are emulating the positive emotions, how can you honor those? You could make room for it in your home by rearranging, putting it on display or hanging a shadow box. Create an organized space so that you can see these items that bring you happiness and gives you the opportunity to appreciate them.
Sometimes you just aren’t ready to do anything with the items you come across. I’m here to tell you that that is okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Having a box while you’re organizing labeled as “Revisit in two weeks” is perfectly acceptable (as long as you actually revisit it…). You may even come back to these items a few times and that's okay too. My advice, on this, though, is that if you are revisiting this item more than two times, it is probably time to let it go. Uncertainty is not joy. It is not happiness. It is not bliss. It is bringing you stress, in some form. It is taking up space physically and mentally. Take as much time as you need, and then, with a big sigh, let. it. go.
The second obstacle that keeps us from being mentally organized is shame; shame for not keeping it picture perfectly organized every second of every day. Well **SPOILER ALERT!** – WE ARE ALL HUMAN. The good news is we all go through this. I am not perfectly organized but I strive towards that and that's all I can do. At the end of the day as long as we give it our all, that's enough. We organize and get it just right, then our situation changes, or something breaks or we get a new fill in the blank and need to make room for it. Our situation changes and adapts and we need to too. Consistent organization is the goal. Now, that isn’t an excuse to organize it, then go about how you did things before and wonder why it never stays that way. No, we need to change our habits and strive to keep our lives balanced and organized. I see it all the time. I'll organize a client's space, it looks beautiful and everything is great, but no habits are changed and it resorts back to it's old state and they are ashamed. I'm here to say, don't be ashamed. We can work together to find your version of perfectly organized and form new habits.
It takes 21 days to learn a new habit. It takes time, dedication and perseverance, but it can be done. An old dog can learn new tricks if there is an incentive and reward involved. Well, your incentive it to not be going crazy every time you look at the space and your reward is a peace of mind (maybe actually give yourself a reward—it’s hard work 😉). Just remember to take baby steps. One room at a time. Maybe one cabinet or one box at a time! Allow yourself to succeed. Your excitement and pride in your success will fuel you to keep it organized and move on to the next room. If you reach a point when it gets tough and you become discouraged, take a step back, look at your progress (& be proud of it) and remember why you started.
When we organize, it’s so much more than making everything look neat and tidy. It is finding a home for every item. It’s giving your keys a home so you aren’t running 10 minutes late every morning looking for them. It’s arranging your pantry just right so those little kiddos know just where to look to help gather ingredients for dinner. It’s making your storage room a place where bringing out holiday decorations isn't a nightmare and leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed instead of happy and excited for the new season and decorating. Organization is about finding order and efficiency in your life so you can be a better version of yourself and enjoy it that much more with the ones you love.
So why do you want to organize your closet? Why do you want to organize your basement? Give specific words to your reason, write it on a piece of paper and hang it where you can't miss it. Ask yourself every time you see that paper, "Am I doing everything I can to work towards this?" "Is what I’m doing and the items I am keeping contributing to my true definition of getting organized?"
Becoming mentally organized means remembering the real reason we organize. It means being aware of your emotions and facing the real reasons you are holding on to possessions. It’s being centered around awareness of what you need and what brings you happiness. Being mentally organized can be tough, but man, it is rewarding. The power of that space being organized will leave you feeling liberated. Sustain that feeling and that mental organization by staying centered. For some that means meditation or prayer. It could also mean getting adequate sleep and exercise. Some find journaling to be helpful to get their thoughts out of their head and onto paper. The important things to remember are:
You have my wholehearted support throughout your organizing journey. Happy mental organizing, friend.
Emily has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. There she learned how valuable organization can be in being productive. She chose to use this knowledge and help others achieve this productivity and optimization in their homes and small businesses. Read & Enjoy and as always, let us know if you have any questions!