For those of us who have slogged through an especially challenging winter, Spring can’t come any too soon. It’s time for nature to renew itself and bring forth new life. You, too, can experience this sense of rebirth by renewing your commitment to getting organized. Imagine how freeing it will be to be able to sit down at the kitchen table without moving a mountain of stuff, get your kids out the door without (too much) stress, or find important papers when you need them! If you’ve made previous attempts to get organized, yet failed, use this time of new beginnings to make a fresh start.

Follow the simple steps I’ve outlined below to get started on your way to organizational freedom. If you find you just can’t get there on your own, feel free to give me a call to discuss how I can help you – I’m able to assist you even if you don’t live in the Chicago area through telephone or Skype coaching sessions:

Make a list of all of the areas you want to organize (e.g., the spare bedroom, basement, linen closet, etc.).

Break down each area into smaller projects, such as dresser, bookshelf, closet floor, bottom right corner of desk, etc.

Schedule time on your calendar to work on each of the smaller projects. Ideally, a minimum of an hour would be best so that you’ll actually see some results. However, if you can only schedule intervals of 15 minutes or so, that’s ok – every little bit gets you closer to your goal.

Make appointments with any outside professionals that you will
be hiring to help you, such as a rug cleaner, window washer, etc. Making these appointments will help commit you to getting started.

Be prepared. Have all the supplies you will need on hand so you can keep going once you get started: garbage bags, a stepladder, boxes for sorting, cleaning supplies, etc.

Get your family to help. They'll be more motivated to keep things clean and organized if they've put some sweat equity towards getting them that way. You can assign each family member one of the smaller projects within each room (e.g., one person cleans the bookshelves, another cleans the closet, etc.).

Make it fun. Play upbeat music to keep everyone's energy level up; have a contest to see who can fill up the most garbage bags; set a timer and see who can complete their area first. You might also want to establish rewards for yourself and your family; once the house is clean and organized, treat yourself to something you love to do.

Follow through with your plans. Make a phone call for pickup, or drop off the things in the "Donate" box. Schedule the garage sale on your calendar for the things in the "Garage Sale" box. Bring the clothing in the "Give to Others" box to the people you intended to give it to.

Take a break. If you find yourself losing motivation, take time to notice the progress you've made, and take a break. Be sure to schedule your next organizing session, but don't be discouraged if some days you're just not up to the challenge of getting organized. And don't be afraid to ask for help if you need some additional motivation to move forward.

Author's Bio: 

Internationally known professional organizer, author, and speaker Sue Becker is the founder and owner of From Piles to Smiles®. She enjoys helping people from around the world live better lives by creating customized systems to overcome their overwhelming paperwork, clutter, and schedules. She specializes in helping people who are chronically disorganized - those for whom disorganization has been a lifelong struggle that negatively impacts every aspect of their life, especially people with AD/HD. Her hands-on help, as well as her presentations, have helped thousands of individuals create substantial change in their lives.

Sue is Illinois’ first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. She co-authored the book Conversations on Success, and has appeared as an organizational expert on NBC News and the national TV show, Starting Over. A CPA, Sue has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.