Goal to Minimize? Make a plan.

by Sep 27, 2020

Have you been trying to organize your home without success?

Do you find that you just keep moving stuff around and not seeming to make a difference?

The first step might be to reduce, to allow yourself space to find a place for everything. This starts with a mindset.

There are lots of great guidelines to direct you, many inspiring words and videos to inspire.

Experience has shown that you need to create a system that works for you. This might mean combining pieces from different sources. It could mean that you need to make a plan and work it. One strategy is to treat this like a formal project and prepare a project plan, including input from everyone who needs to participate to make it work. For example, if you want to minimize throughout your home, you will need to involve all family members in the planning and implementation.

Steps to writing a simple project plan:

  • Have a meeting with your partner, housemate, family….. anyone sharing your space – to discuss reasons to reduce and set manageable objectives. Define success
  • Be realistic about time availability and how much you will be able to donate to this project. It might be different for each member or you might choose to work at the same time and/or area. For example, Saturday from 9-10 could be dedicated to everyone decluttering / organizing one space – and then collecting items to donate or discard in a designated spot.
  • Define timelines, with a beginning for start and end. It might make more sense to do this for components like completing the shed clean or building a new bedroom shelf.
  • Set milestones. These help you keep on track and provide structure for review. Perhaps you will take a bag of donations to a local charity one Tuesday every month, or post 5 items for sale online every two weeks. If you do decide to post items for sale, set a deadline for how long it will be posted – and still stored in the house – and what will happen if it does not sell in the designated time (reduce price? donate? ??).
  • Identify responsibilities. Who will track progress? Who is going to take donations to the charity? Which family member(s) will managed online sales – one person or everyone for their own items?
  • Start planning from where you want to end. “We want to be able to use the fitness room equipment for what it was intended. To do that, we have to stop using it as a storage place. The first step is finding a better system for keeping our seasonal decorations that we use and sell all the items that we don’t want…”
  • Review the plan regularly. Celebrate achievements, look at what is working, what is not and make necessary changes to plans and processes.
  • Always always take before and after pictures. They reveal success that might not be immediately apparent and provide inspiration to keep going, AND avoid returning to old patterns. An image of a reduced and organized closet on your closet door can be a great motivator.
Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


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