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7 Steps to Order

7 Steps to Order

7 Steps to Order

Order is becoming an increasingly valuable and valued commodity in today’s living and work environments. Those who struggle with it find a loss of productivity and creativity as well as loss of time and increase in frustration and overwhelm. We need order to keep on top of projects and day to day living and without it, we are at the mercy of clutter and searching for lost items within our midst.
There are 7 steps to order that I feel can return our living and work spaces to manageability and help us increase functioning with greater results.
Step One: Admit there’s a Problem
By admitting we have a problem, that our situation is unmanageable and that we can no longer function in chaos, we have opened the door to a new possibility. Too often we struggle thinking we can do it alone, that if we got one more organizing system on our computer, or more drawer organizers, file cabinets or another storage solution, we’d be free. Yet these “band-aids” don’t fix anything and can also compound the problem and move us no closer to our solution. When we admit that our best efforts got us where we are, then we open to another way that could work.
Step Two: Get Support
Getting support in the form of coaching, guidance, and direction, you can step us out of our own willfulness and partake in the wisdom and help of someone with expertise and assistance who can help you make sense of the chaos. As a professional organizer,  I can see beyond the overwhelm and begin to untangle the web of stuff that has confounded you. Stuff is just stuff to me, while to an individual who owns it, its often fraught with emotion and a variety of thoughts and feelings. I help separate out that component to help simplify the process.
Step Three: Get into Action
Action is key. While some clients want to analyze and discuss and rationalize the process, I am about getting people into action. I begin by opening bags, boxes, envelopes, anything that’s been closed up and examine what’s there. There is often a layer of obvious detritus that is easily eliminated, allowing us to make the next level decisions as what to keep and what else can be pared down further. Once people are in action, momentum begins to build. We start the process of elimination and where things were once stagnant, they begin to flow out thereby creating more space in which to function and create.
Step Four: Make Decisions
Making decisions is a key component to creating order. Where clutter reigned due to unmade decisions, I help people make the decisions they can’t make. Sometimes people aren’t ready to deal with specific items and, meeting them where they are, I honor that and help with the ones they can. Often, once we’ve begun the project and once they start letting things go, they can revisit items and are often ready now to release them. Organizing is a process and requires dealing with items ideally once, and sometimes more than once. Due to emotional attachment to an item, some things can take years to let go of while others are easily released. The goal here is begin making decisions.
Step Five: Create Infrastructure
Infrastructure is often missing in places in which I am working whether it’s in a closet, garage, cabinet or other space. We need a place to file papers, to place pens and pencils, to store shoes, to stack our dishes. We need structure within a garage where rarely used and commonly used items can be easily accessed as needed. Without it, items end up piled on the floor and we can’t get to them, we lose things or things get damaged. Structure within our lives extends to our storage to maximize space as well as having access to our possessions.
Step Six: Learn New Behaviors

It’s our behaviors that led to clutter in the first place. It’s our behaviors that have kept our living and work spaces in such a state as they were.  By initiating and learning new behaviors, we can alter the outcomes we experience in our living and work areas. We may have a habit of throwing our mail onto the entryway or dining room table where it quickly accumulates. We may have no idea where to put photos, memorabilia and other items so they end up piled in bags and boxes in a corner collecting dust and getting damaged by moisture. When clients work with me, we sort these various categories and contain them and then have a place for them to live so when an item of a said grouping appears, they know exactly where it goes and they can use the system and practice the behavior.
Step Seven: Practice New Habits   
This step ties in with new behaviors. It’s said it takes 28 days to learn a new habit. By consistently practicing a new habit, like making immediate decisions about mail, then the old problems disappear. The order I’ve helped establish with a client can be maintained. Of course, you can have the best system and best infrastructure, yet if it’s not used, then the client reverts back to their old habits and things pile up again. It’s the same with a trainer at the gym, if you don’t go and use the apparatus, then your body remains the same. New habits require a new way of thinking and the diligence and follow through of consciously practicing them until they become the new way of behaving.
Following these 7 steps can help you break through the clutter and establish the spaces you desire to live and work in. If you should need help, feel free to call for a free 20-minute consultation.