Boost Your Organising Motivation: 3 Must-Read Books

How can you support yourself when you feel stuck, unmotivated or struggle to get started with your organising challenges?

When I’m struggling with motivation to complete a project or feel overwhelmed by all the things on my to do list, I love to open my mind to creative ideas, listen to another perspective or learn something new.

There are so many ways to access ideas. I love to listen to an audiobook (perfect when I’m driving or doing jobs around the house); watch a film; or read inspiring content online. 

It can really galvanise you into action when you hear amazing, creative and inspiring stories, see what others have achieved, or learn a new idea that you can try out for yourself.

Lately, I’ve explored some books that have inspired me and I think you’ll enjoy them too. 

These resources can help you develop new habits, support better self-talk and help you to think differently about the things you spend your money on.

Small Talk

In this second book by Richard and Roxanne Pink, they talk about their own experiences of self-talk and that of their ADHD community. They highlight the negative beliefs and lies ADHD people tell themselves and offer ideas for how to overcome limiting beliefs, or support others to do so. 

This book has really helped me better understand the impact of self-talk on well-being and behaviour and in particular for people with ADHD. It shares strategies that have helped Roxanne transform her self-talk and how we can better support loved-ones to do the same.

People often say to me that they are ‘not an organised person’ or ‘just awful at organising’. I always find it’s not the case and they have strengths that they don’t recognise. I’m sure this book will help me better understand and support their experience.

Atomic Habits

I love this book by the award-winning author, James Clear. In it, he considers how to establish the habits that we want using his atoms model. He says it’s too difficult to make big changes. Instead we should concentrate on creating tiny habits that build and have a compound effect.

This thinking is similar to my approach when I work with clients who want to become better organised. It can be difficult to sustain big changes. It may be better to make adjustments to the way the home is organised or tweak routines, so that it feels natural and easier to manage.

James also recently created the Atoms app, available on IOS and Android. It enables you to set tiny goals and track progress as you create your habit. 

The No Spend Year

Intrigued by the title of this book – I dived into it on my kindle. 

Once I started reading it I was instantly captivated by the challenge to not spend money on anything, other than absolute essentials, for an entire year. 

I like to work out how to enjoy a camping trip whilst taking as little as possible with us, so know how a challenge like this has the potential to get creative juices going. Though I’m not sure I would go to the same extreme, it’s useful to reflect on how much we really don’t need in our daily lives to be happy.

What have you been reading lately that you’ve loved or found inspiring? Do let me know on Instagram or Facebook – search or tag me @organisedwell.

And if you want to see what Apps I use to help me be organised – read my blog Discover how the Apps I love could make you better organised

Do you give yourself permission to declutter?

If you experience resistance to reviewing your things, you may not be giving yourself permission to declutter.

I’ve worked with lots of clients who find it difficult to get started or complete their declutter project. If things have built up, it can feel overwhelming, you might don’t know where to start, may find it hard to make decisions about what to do with things and may worry about the decisions you have made.

Often, the items have crept in or hung around too long; thoughtful gifts; items inherited from loved-ones; purchases made with hard earned money; items from a special event or era. You might feel obligated to keep them or be the custodian of these special objects. And once they arrive, they outstay their welcome, but releasing them can feel like an impossible task.

One way to overcome this barrier is to give yourself permission to declutter.

When you give yourself permission to declutter; you take control of the situation. You allow yourself to make decisions and to take action. Whereas the stuff around you might represent the past, others wishes or preferences and weigh down your home; giving yourself permission to make a change removes a barrier, enables you to put your wishes first, and to focus on the things and activities you love.

Give yourself Permission

Below are three ways to that permission can help you to declutter your home.

Permission to release the things that no longer serve you

It’s so easy to shop, acquire things, and we receive gifts or inherit things all the time. Often things build up and we don’t even notice it, until we do!

When it’s time to work through it all, it can feel hard to let things go. There are many reasons we feel like this, not least because it’s a normal human trait to place a high value on the things we own – even if we might not wish to acquire them again, given the choice!

Give yourself permission to let the go with these useful phrases:

  • I don’t use this but if I need it again in future, I can borrow/hire/buy second-hand/buy it again
  • It’s wasted by not being appreciated in my home, if I release it someone else can enjoy it
  • I am freeing up my home for the things (or space) that I value the most
  • There are lots of other things that are more important to me
  • I can hold on to the memory by taking/finding photos, keeping a diary entry about the item, but I don’t need to keep the item itself

You have permission to let it go.

Permission to get some support

I know that asking for help can sometimes feel like giving up, but getting support with a task that is important to you can be the difference between achieving your goal and not. Whereas you have other strengths, you may not have the expertise, energy, time or headspace to work on everything yourself. It’s more efficient to find someone who can help you.

We all have natural preferences or styles that can make it easy or more difficult to get things done – for those of us (I include myself here) that need deadlines, accountability and extrinsic reward, a professional organiser can provide this kind of support too.

If friends and family have the skills and interest, ask them for help. They may be able to give moral support or practical help. You’ll also find online groups, forums, podcasts and TV programmes that can offer ideas and encouragement.

Much like hiring a gardening, a personal training or a cleaner; a professional organiser lives and breathes their specialism. Professional Organiser’s have the knowledge, skills and experience to help make a changes. And because organising and decluttering is their favourite thing to do, they have the headspace to think about these things and come up with creative ways to do things, where you may not.

You have permission to ask for help.

Permission to prioritise your needs and wishes

Decluttering is a difficult task because we get attached to the things we own. They are familiar, may be comforting and we may feel obliged to keep them for a whole range of reasons.

Give yourself permission to prioritise the things you love and want around you. To create an environment that supports your mental health, the things you love to do the most, your favourite things and happy memories and your personal style.

Focus on keeping the things that you love, that make you feel great and that support you and your lifestyle, rather than the things you feel obliged to keep because they were gifted, cost money or were valued by others. You have permission to prioritise your life in your home.

If you want to dedicate some space to keeping memories this is a nice way to create balance, but do this intentially and prioritise space for your life and your treasures first.

It’s not selfish, in fact it’s the reverse. If you look after yourself, you will have the energy to love and support others in turn.

You have permission to put your needs first.

What do you need to give yourself permission to do in order to create the life you want?

Would you like to work with me? Find out more About Me or my Services.

Five reasons you find it difficult to clear clutter and what you can do

When I tell people what I do, they ask me all sorts of questions about my work but this has to be the one subject that comes up the most.

Why do I find it so difficult to release my possessions and what can I do about it?

If you find yourself distracted by your possessions when you want to relax with a cup of tea, your wardrobe overflows making it difficult to decide what to wear, or, your surfaces need to be cleared before you can clean or prepare a meal, then you are affected by clutter.

Clutter is the stuff that gets in your way. The items may be treasured possessions, or paperwork and other disorganised debris, that has gathered on surfaces like it has a mind of it’s own.

Why is it we find it difficult to release some items?

A number of researchers have considered this question and further research is needed, but here are some of the reasons it’s not so is easy to tackle your possessions and clear clutter.

Perhaps the item:

  1. reflects something about you
  2. is part of your personal history, triggers memories, or has associations with family history
  3. relates to an experience or a gift received from a valued friend (even if you dislike it)
  4. is personified or has become familiar over time and you've come to believe it’s unique (perhaps you've given it a name)
  5. enabled a transition, such as a child's toy or blanket that helped them become more independent

Feelings about objects are complicated but they often change over time and as we change as individuals. We may be affected by memories associated with the items or fear of losing the item. Some people experience grief when releasing items.

So how might you manage this?

For some, the practical considerations are enough to enable them to clear clutter and release things they no longer need or love. It may make decisions easier to think about their lives with greater space and freedom, the physical, financial or emotional costs of keeping items in the home, or the benefits that others will derive from receiving donations.

Other approaches to try:

  • Acknowledge the emotions you are feeling, give yourself time to deal with them. Perhaps journaling or talking will support you but do get help if you need it. You don’t have to do it alone!

  • Think about where you are now and what’s important. Give thanks for the past but begin to focus on a positive present and future

  • Think about how you can keep the memory or sense of who you are without keeping the item (would taking photos or keeping a small part of the item be helpful? If you have lots of items, could you select a few to keep?)

  • Give it time – take your time. Start with the easy items, keep items you aren’t ready to part with and come back to these later when you may feel differently

'Time is the wisest counsellor of all' - Pericles

You may need to give it time, but the very process of sorting through our possessions and removing the easier items brings focus and awareness. As we work on the task, we change and grow. And over time it becomes easier to release things that had felt meaningful but that no longer serve us.

Ready to clear clutter?

If you have questions or need sensitive support to work through your things, I'm here for you. Feel free to contact me on 07970 989955, or via any of the options on my contact page.



Spring Clearing Week

APDO members are focusing on clearing our closet this Spring Clearing Week so I’ll be sharing wardrobe clearing ideas and my experience of the Six-item Challenge on Facebook and Instagram all week – join me and watch out for a guest appearance by Helen, The Wardrobe Fairy, from 16th March!

Spring Clearing Week 2020-logo

Focus on what you can control, forget the rest!

If you didn't quite get to everything you wanted to do in January, don't fret. We have the advantage of being at the start of a new month and every day brings a fresh opportunity to renew your focus and begin something.

You may know of this concept but I think it's amazing and wanted to share it with you in case you've not come across it before. It's an amazing mindset trick that puts you thoroughly in control of your goals.

Have you found you get stressed out by all sorts of things? Maybe some of these:

  • the jobs you didn't get done around the house last year
  • what will happen now that we've left the EU
  • the mounds of paperwork taking over your kitchen counters
  • your environmental impact
  • your partner's messy bedside table
  • the state of the economy
  • how you never have enough clean shirts on a Friday

Don't stress - use your zone of control!

Often we experience stress when we lack control, so the key to reducing your stress is to focus on what you can control.

Think of these three elements:

  1. Zone of control (blue) - the things going on here are within your control to change
  2. Zone of influence (white) - you can influence the elements within this area but you cannot personally control what happens here
  3. Zone of concern (green) - you cannot control or influence what happens within this area

Zone of control diagram

You can reduce your stress levels by focusing your energy on the elements within your Zone of Control, those things that you can personally change. For example, you can make sustainable purchases, recycle and reduce your energy consumption to lower your impact on the environment. You might go further and change to renewable energy sources, choose to walk more often rather than use your car and so on.

How can we use this mindset at home?

When it comes to our homes, we are busy, have other things to focus on and often live with other people (or pets) who create mess too.

If you are getting frustrated with the state of your home, you could try taking action on the things that are within your control, such as:

  • decluttering and organising your side of the bedroom (often when we get organised this rubs off on others as they notice the benefits of our efforts)
  • organising your paperwork and start to manage it regularly so that it doesn't pile up
  • adding a weekly 'light load' diary reminder to ensure that you have shirts
  • helping your child practice tidying and giving away toys they no longer use (important skills for the future!)
  • create zones with accessible storage so that things can be tidied away easily when finished with

What other things can you do to organise the things within your control?

So the next time you feel stressed...

Train your mind to focus on what you can control. Ask yourself "Where can I take control?"

And remember ... let go of the things that you can't control!

(Yes it takes practice but it's worth it!) ;o)

Three Top Organising Principles

I was asked to share my top tips recently and jumped at the chance to share these top three organising principles.

These principles are so effective for helping you to get organised and keep on top of your clutter because they make you intentional about how you manage your things!

1) Have a place for everything.

One of the key reasons we get into a muddle is because we don’t have a home for our things so they are left lying around or put down in a spot to deal with later, and later never comes. As we know clutter attracts more clutter, and before you know it, your counters or floors are a mass of things that don’t have a home.

The first of my organising priciples is to make sure you decide on a home for the items you want to keep so that you and others in your household know where to return them when finished with. If you know where it goes, you’re more likely to return it to its place – whether that’s straight away or when having a daily tidy-up. You also know the first place to look when you need it again!

2) Store the things you use most often in easy to access spots.

Of course this makes complete sense when we think about being able to find things as you need them, but the real reason we want easy access is to make it easier to put them back!

If you need an item, you are quite likely to get a stool out and climb up to a high shelf to get it, but you are also more likely to leave it out because you can’t face the effort needed to return it. You may think to yourself, I’ll need it again in a few days anyway so what’s the point in making the effort? That’s a recipe for clutter just there!

Make it easy to put away, and you will save yourself the clutter and a big tidy-up job later.

3) Review your things regularly.

Often we don’t even remember what we do have. Possessions get hidden behind other things, those items we use infrequently get forgotten and if we can’t find something, we may even purchase another when we need it. A regular review of your possessions (not necessarily all in one go!) is an invaluable way of understanding what you have and ensuring that it’s accessible. If it’s no longer needed, this also gives you a great opportunity to remove it from your home – selling, donating or recycling as you go.

The One in, One out rule is a helpful prompt for this review. Each time you buy something new, move an item on. It could be a similar item such as a when you replace a jumper or bathroom towel set, or it could just be another unrelated item of a similar size. The key is to maintain (or even reduce if you wish) the number of possessions in your home so that you don’t become overwhelmed with a build-up of things over time.

If you like these ideas and organising principles, sign-up to receive for my Five Free Super Kitchen-Organising Ideas direct to your inbox.