One of the books on a bestsellers list right now is about getting organized. It’s not the first and it won’t be the last. There’s a modern day mantra that goes like this, “I’ll be (happier, healthier, calmer, thinner, wealthier …) just as soon as I get (my life, the house, the kids, work, my schedule…) organized”.
I don’t know about health, wealth and happiness, but I do know that getting the basement organized can create a feeling of satisfaction – if that leads to those other things, then all the better. The basement can be a good place to start your quest for more control over your stuff.
For most people looking at a project as a whole is overwhelming, especially those we really don’t want to do or are dreading doing. It can be especially discouraging if it’s something we know we should do and know it’ll benefit us when it’s done, but we keep putting it off. It adds guilt to the resistance, which is rarely a good formula for motivation.
The best way to stop this impasse is to break down the overall project into pieces that are controllable. The key to any kind of organizing is to start with small manageable tasks which can be done in reasonable time frames. How many parts you break it into depends on the size and scope of the job. Here’s an example.
Dyan and Sam had been wanting to organize their basement for years – lots and lots of years. It was becoming an ever increasing irritant; they needed the space and their families had started making bad hoarding jokes. So, they came up with a plan that fit both of their organizing preferences and agreed to be ruthless in getting rid of things.
Dyan wanted to do her tasks in frequent, but short time frames. She did the initial organizing by sorting things into 4 piles – throw away, donate, sell and keep – for a ½ hour every day. Sam wanted to set aside less and bigger chucks of times for his chores. He set aside an afternoon every other week to go to Goodwill, haul the trash, or get the items ready for a garage sale. At the end of the process they went through the surprisingly small “keep” pile together.
How you carve the task of organizing your basement into manageable pieces will work better if it’s guided by your preferences and personality. This method works for all projects, from simple to a major. Also, once you get your basement done you can use the same skills to tackle the garage, attic or your kids’ rooms.
Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published. She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction. She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator. She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes.