About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I have GOT to get organized!"
Seems like everyone has said that at least once, and some say it at least once a day. But when you start thinking about actually doing it, getting organized can seem like more trouble than it's worth. Who has the time to color-coordinate their clothes and alphabetize their CDs? What real-life household looks like those pretty magazine photos, and really, who'd want it to? Why would you spend a weekend "organizing" (whatever that means, exactly) when you could be relaxing, spending time with family and friends, or catching up on more urgent projects? Why, come to think of it, is it so all-fire important to be organized anyway?
What Is "Organized"?
The first thing we need is a realistic definition of "organized." An organized space is not necessarily
An organized space IS always
It can be beautiful as well, but it doesn't have to be. It can be perfect as in optimal, but not perfect as in unattainable, and certainly not fussy and high-maintenance. A space doesn't have to be devoid of objects in order to be organized, although it will probably seem much more spacious.
You can spend lots of money on organizing tools if you want to, but you don't have to. In fact, your organized space will save you money by preventing you from having to buy duplicates of things you lost or replacing things that got ruined because they weren't stored properly. Getting organized will also save you time in the long run: You will have to invest a chunk of time in the beginning and smaller bits thereafter to maintain your level of organization, but it will be less time than you lose searching for things.
Getting "Organized Enough"
I advocate being "organized enough." When you're organized enough, you almost always reach destinations and complete tasks and projects on time, and you don't forget very many things you meant to remember. In your organized home, the focus of this book, you can put anything away when you want to and you can find pretty much anything on the first try.
When you're organized, things will still go wrong in your life, but at least disorganization won't be one of the contributing factors. The basement might still flood, but if the stuff down there is stored in water-resistant containers, the damage will be minimized. And, every once in a while, you'll forget something or lose something or be late to an appointment, but it won't happen very often. To completely eradicate these occasional lapses would require being more than organized enough, and it's not worth it. Organized enough means you are functioning at a level that is both productive and maintainable in the long term. I express this goal to my clients by reminding them that it's possibleand perfectly acceptableto get an "A" without getting 100 percent.
What Organize Your Home In No Time Can Do for You
The In No Time series was created for busy people who want to enhance areas of their lives that could use some organization. The title has two meanings: You want to get organized very quickly (seemingly in no time) and you need to accomplish this feat in the absence of spare time on your part (you have "no time" to organize). Getting organized won't necessarily be easy, and it won't happen overnight, but I promise it will be well worth it: Once you're organized, everything else becomes easier. Complete each of the projects in this book and you will
- Identify the causes of your disorganization, both within yourself and as a result of others in your space
- Gain new ideas for getting other household members to embrace and cooperate with your organizing systems
- Learn principles that will serve as a foundation for adding organization to any area of your home, and even any area of your life
- Assess and defeat your clutter patterns
- Take an organized approach to purging clutter from every area of your home
- Implement storage options that work best for your home and family
- Learn to detach from belongings that are not supporting you
- Maintain your progress over time and recover from occasional (and inevitable) setbacks
- Put safety measures in place to prevent clutter from creeping back
Who Should Read This Book?
If you believe you are capable of organizing your home but you need some guidance and encouragement, you've come to the right place. This book is meant for readers who
- Enjoy being organized and are willing to put forth the effort to achieve that state
- Have been organized in the past but have experienced a new challenge or situation that has brought disorganization into their lives
- Want to put new systems in place but don't want to create them from scratch
- Are struggling to adapt to a life transition, such as the birth of a child, a job change, or a divorce, which can wreak havoc with previously established organizing systems
- Are establishing their first households or have been given the responsibility of household management for the first time
- Have already established pockets of organization but would like to improve or build upon them
- Are frustrated by the negative impact of disorganization in their homes and are ready to work toward positive change
For some people, this book will be a great start, but it won't be the only help you need. If you are intimidated by organizing or have had little success with past organizing efforts, you might find it most beneficial to work through this book with the guidance of a professional organizerpreferably one with experience in chronic disorganization. If you have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), it's important that you recognize its impact on your organizing abilities: Give yourself permission to be not so good at this and accept assistance from family, friends, an AD/HD coach, and your medical doctor or therapist.
How This Book Is Organized
The lessons and projects in this book are presented in a logical sequence, so you will have a more seamless experience if you work through the book from beginning to end. However, if you prefer you can use portions of the book in random orderespecially if you're already organized in some of these areas and simply want to fill in the gaps in your system.
This book is organized into three parts; here's what each contains:
- In Part I, "Seeing the Patterns," you'll begin by identifying the reasons disorganization has been a problem for you. Understanding where the difficulty comes from is half the battle; from there, you can begin to strategize and put improvements in place with a targeted and efficient approach. This section will also give you insight into whether external forces (other family members, for example) are making it difficult for you to apply the organization you want. With that insight, we move into the organizing principles that will serve as the foundation for the rest of your progress in this book and beyond.
- In Part II, "Clearing the Clutter," you'll organize your attack, then roll up your sleeves and start purging clutter. You'll learn the most effective ways to create storage for the items that have earned the right to remain in your home, and you'll also find help and encouragement for times when the going gets tough.
- In Part III, "Maintaining Your Progress," you'll learn how to maintain your organization over time and settle into a more organized lifestyle. This section also contains information on handling special situations such as holidays, house guests, and preparing to sell your home, plus a step-by-step plan for getting back on track when it seems like everything has fallen apart (what we organizers call "backsliding").
Special Elements and Icons
Throughout this book, you'll find a variety of special elementslists, sidebars, icons, and other "extras" designed to catch your eye and call out items of special interest relevant to the nearby text. Some of these special elements are described here to help you learn how to use their information when you encounter them in your reading.
"To Do" and "You'll Need" Lists
Each chapter of the book includes a list of what you'll need and one or more to-do lists. "You'll Need" lists give you a quick reference for organizing equipment and supplies and, if necessary, shopping: Be sure you have these items on hand before you begin so you can make the most of your organizing time. The items on your "To Do" lists give you the steps you'll take to complete the projects in each section.
Basic Organizing Principles
There are a few organizing principles that I think of as the foundations of what I do as a professional organizer. One or more of these principles comes into play with every job I take, and each of my clients becomes accustomed to hearing me mention them again and again. Because these ideas are so important, I've flagged examples of them throughout the book with the icons you see here. If you read my earlier book, Organize Your Personal Finances In No Time, you'll be familiar with these icons; the principles behind them are the same as those I presented there. Absorb these key principles into your approach to organizing your home, and then use them in other areas of your life and see what a difference they'll make for you:
Have a Home: Designate a "home" for every item you own, including all types of paper. A major component of clutter management ...