Recently I knocked on the door of a woman who had called me to help organize her home. As she opened her door to let me in she suddenly burst into tears. She had not allowed a visitor into her home in many years and was embarrassed for me to see it.
I first met this woman when she attended one of my seminars. Her clothing was pressed, her hair in a designer cut and her nails perfectly manicured. She looked flawless. Now the secret of living in a cluttered home, one she had been keeping from the rest of the world, had been exposed when she opened her door and allowed me to step inside.
Through tearful eyes she said, “I didn’t know where to start. It’s all so overwhelming. I feel paralyzed when I look around.”
If you find yourself in a similar situation, my advice to you is start somewhere. Pick a spot, the kitchen table, the family room couch or your nightstand and focus on that one small space until it’s done.
It doesn’t matter where you start. The goal is to unlock your perception that you won’t have success, which is one of the reasons you feel paralyzed.
By focusing on just one small space at a time you will have many small successes that will motivate you to continue to the next area.
Start in one room and break it down into small projects. For example, if you choose to organize your kitchen, start with the kitchen table. Then focus on the countertops.
Continue with the upper cabinets, doing just one at a time as time allows. When those are complete, de-clutter the lower cabinets and any drawers. Get just one cabinet or drawer done without worrying about when you might have time to get to the next one.
Make sure you keep a trash can and donate bin near by. Make it easy to remove those items you no longer need.
Don’t worry if you’re messing up other rooms in your home as you carry items from the space you are organizing to their proper rooms. You will tackle the rest of the house one small area at time, and those items will be dealt with when you focus in those areas.
Your goal is to get small tasks done on a regular basis instead of feeling anxious and defeated before you ever get started.
If you feel panicked and overwhelmed about where to start, just start somewhere. Don’t worry about how little you get done or how much more you have to do. Focus on the small task before you, not everything that needs to be done in the whole house. You will feel less paralyzed.
Sometimes action has to come before motivation. Set your overwhelmed feelings aside, roll up your sleeves and promise yourself you won’t let your past failed attempts keep you from one small success at a time. Once you start enjoying the newly organized spaces you’ll be motivated to move to the next small project to tackle.