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By SHEILA O'MARA
It appears the season to reorganize is upon us. Whether I pick up a newspaper, magazine or an advertisement for any store, tools for organization seem to be front and center. Even at Corvin’s Furniture this week, many customers who have come in inquiring about bookshelves, shelving units and file cabinets. It seems that resolutions to organize are as prevalent as weight loss resolutions this year.
Retailers across the country are advertising their attractive storage containers and cool tools that will help you achieve organization with style. I must admit, even I have fallen into the trap. If I purchase those file folders, surely I will file the papers away, right? If I have clear shoe boxes with colored lids, then I will always want to put my shoes away where they belong, right? Having the cool “stuff” doesn’t mean I am going to be organized though.
The point I am trying to make is this: More important than the containers and tools are the systems behind the organization. It doesn’t matter how wonderful and attractive your storage and tools are if you aren’t going to use them. So let’s take a moment and focus on the process of getting organized, rather than the containers.
In developing a system for organization, the best place to start is to write out your goals. Yes, WRITE them out. It may seem elementary, but seeing on paper what you want to accomplish will actually help you develop ways to make it happen. Do you want to have a streamlined pantry? Does your linen closet look like a tornado hit it? Are you tired of the mud room looking like a fortress of coats and shoes? Start out with all of the areas that you would like to work better for you and write down the large goal for each.
Good goal setting takes more than writing out the desired result. Most goals are not achieved because they were not specific enough to see through to completion. Goals must be measurable and attainable.
So after writing “Organize Pantry," list smaller goals that will help you achieve the large one. Maybe write “clear pantry of all expired food items." Once you achieve that goal, you might write “separate canned goods from boxed foods in pantry."
What is great about setting and achieving the small goals is that as soon as you begin you will see results. From there you will naturally organize the boxed goods in one area and the canned goods in another. Now you have really achieved three separate goals that work toward your big one of having an organized pantry.
Most organization projects are so big and are so overwhelming that you never actually start. Starting with a checklist of smaller tasks or goals that are attainable and deliver visible results will actually encourage you to keep going. Remember that once you have achieved a goal — whether a small or a large one — it is important to reward yourself. Maybe that means eating a snack, or maybe it is finally getting to purchase the matching Tupperware to use in the pantry. Whatever the tangible reward is, it is vital for you to keep up with that if you want to keep the momentum flowing.
Take some time to write out your goals for your home or office this year. Make them specific, realistic and attainable and don't forget to reward yourself. When you start out this way, it will hopefully set you up to develop some systems that will keep you organized. It may even give you the chance to purchase some of those great looking storage solutions and actually use them. Good luck and happy organizing.
Sheila O’Mara, owner of Staged SO Right, a full-service home staging company, is an accredited staging professional. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.