When our lives and our homes are overwhelmingly chaotic, getting it all in order can feel absolutely impossible. It feels so daunting that we keep putting it off because we don’t even know where to start and we’re afraid of the time commitment.
With a little effort, you can organize your life in one week and I’ll show you each step of the way. We’ll start by identifying which areas are creating the most chaos and create a plan to tackle them. Then we’ll do the cleaning and organizing, one area at a time so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. Finally, we’ll create a system to maintain your progress and hard earned peace of mind.
If your life feels like it’s spiraling out of control, don’t despair. You can get it back on track with a little effort and organization. In just one week, you can tidy your home and bring peace back to your life.
How to Organize Your Life in One Week
1. Get Your Mindset Right
First, you need to have the right mindset. More often than not, it’s not the clutter that defeats us, it’s our lack of belief in ourselves and that little voice that tells us, it’s too hard!
When you create the right mindset you’ll have the motivation to sustain you through the process. You’ll be able to maintain your momentum and navigate any challenges that pop up with grace instead of being derailed by them.
Think about or journal on the following questions:
- How is the chaos, disorganization, and clutter in your life affecting you right now?
- What are you losing out on by not taking control back and organizing your home and life?
- How do you want your home to make you feel?
- What will you gain by taking this week to organize your life and home?
- If challenges and delays come up, how will you handle them?
Once you’ve got clarity on what you’re losing by not getting your life organized, and what you can gain by tidying your life, it’s really going to light a spark under you and get you mentally prepared to take on the task of organizing your life in a week. This is your WHY, your motivation for taking action.
If organizing your home is a family effort, help them understand your why.
2. Identify Your Trouble Spots
Next, assess the situation. What areas of your life are causing you the most stress? Is there a room that you don’t like to be in because it’s cluttered or stifling, what is it about that space that bothers you?
Maybe it’s the clutter or grime, or maybe it’s that the decor is too bland, too loud, or just not your style.
Make a list of these areas, being as specific as possible. If never being able to find a matching lid for your food storage containers is causing you grief, write that down so you can create a strategy to fix it. If it’s the color of your walls, write that down. If it’s your closets being so stuffed you can’t find anything, on the list it goes.
If it’s your whole house, that’s ok! Write down all the different issues you can think of.
Here is a list of 100 things to organize if you need ideas.
3. Separate into Zones
Now that you know exactly what’s bothering you, separate everything into different categories or zones.
This can be room by room, or by item type—clothes, office supplies, kitchen items, electronics etc.
While the Kon Mari system has you take every like item from every room in the house and put it in one spot as you sort through it, that can be overwhelming for some people. You can absolutely just focus on one room or category at a time and make a note that if you find more of a particular item, it goes in a specific spot and then immediately place it there as you tackle different zones.
The Tidy Life Refresh has guides and checklists for the major areas of your home, so you can follow along and check off these zones as you go.
4. Create a Decluttering Plan and Schedule
You know your trouble areas, you’ve created zones that you’ll work on, now it’s time to decide your priorities and create a plan of action.
Look at your zones and estimate how much time you think each will take, then assign them to different days during a week or weekend. To really organize your life in a week, you’ll need to work on this for 5-7 days—and then you’ll be done! Put each day’s zone onto your calendar. Your organizing and cleaning schedule could look something like this:
- Monday 9am: Bedroom
- Tuesday 9am: Bathroom, Beauty Supplies, and Hall Closet
- Wednesday 9am: Kitchen and Dining Room
- Thursday 9am: Kids Toys and Entertainment (books, movies, games, electronics)
- Friday 9am: Office, Paper Work, and Digital
- Saturday 10am: Garage
- Sunday 10am: Cosmetic Tasks (paint, update furniture, hang new curtains, hang art etc)
Then you might have one more day to drop things off at the donation place—do this as soon as possible so it’s not sitting in your house or car for months (I am guilty of this). Work with what you’ve got. Maybe you only do an hour in each zone in the evenings after work, that’s perfectly ok! Any progress you make each day is valuable.
It’s up to you if you want to start with the hard areas first, or if you want to start small. Sometimes I can’t concentrate on the little things if there’s a big dirty elephant in the room, other times I need to clear up mental space by eliminating the small tasks before I feel ready to tackle the big ones.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer, go with what works for you.
It might be a good idea to begin in the areas you use most, just so that those zones can become peaceful areas instead of stressful ones.
Just get started.
And if you need to ask a friend or family member to come over and help, just give them plenty of notice. If your family needs to help you, tell them ahead of time exactly what you’re doing and when, don’t tell them on the day of and expect them to have a good attitude.
5. Start Cleaning and Organizing
It’s organizing time! Stick to your schedule and show up.
Get up early, turn on music, hype yourself up—remember what your losing if you don’t organize your life and what you’ll gain when you do—and get started. If your phone is distracting you, put it in another room.
Gather your supplies: trash bags, donation bins, bins for things that belong in another room, and cleaning supplies. Wait on buying organization supplies until you’re finished because you might already have what you need, or you might get rid of enough things that you don’t need them.
Focus on one zone at a time and finish it before starting the next one.
Something my mother used to do that drove me crazy was start organizing one area, and then half way through she’d start on another area, which meant that stuff from two different zones was spread around the living room for a few days.
Take a break when you need to, but work on one thing at a time. When you hit a mental wall get a snack, take a nap, take a walk, do what you need to in order to feel refreshed and then come back and finish.
6. Create Maintenance Systems and Routine
After you’ve done organizing your home, or as you go along, create organization systems and routines for maintaining order in each zone.
That may look like:
- Having a specific spot for each item and returning it to that spot as soon as you’re done with it.
- Learning to tidy small messes throughout the day, instead of waiting until you have huge overwhelming messes that take hours to clean.
- Creating daily, weekly, and/or monthly routines to maintain the order and energy you want in your home.
You might decide to do a light clean every weekend and deep clean your house on the first Sunday of the month. After dinner you could adopt the habit of cleaning the dishes and wiping down the counters right away instead of leaving a mess overnight. You could fold your clothes as you take them out of the dryer instead of letting them sit in your hamper for two weeks.
There is a way to keep every part of your home organized, you just have to decide that’s what you’re going to do regardless of any creative excuses your brain comes up with.
Put reminders on your calendar if needed, I like using Google Calendar because it will send a notification to my phone and email.
When you’ve finished celebrate your accomplishment! Sit in your refreshed and organized home and give yourself a huge pat on the back for committing and doing the work. Have a movie night, go out for ice cream, take pictures of your tidy closets, just do something fun.
Don’t forget your Tidy Life Refresh checklists.
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