Picture this: the one room in your house that has become your catch all. Are you picturing it? Can you see all the items piled up in there? Are you thinking about putting them away and getting stressed out? Are you wondering where to even begin?
This is exactly what has gone through someone’s mind just before I get a phone call or email from a potential client. They know they want to organize. They have bought bins and books and tried to start more times than they can count. In fact, I have NEVER worked in a home without at least one organizing book purchased prior to my arrival. The problem is they don’t know what to do and where to start because every time they do, they get sidetracked or it is taking WAY TOO LONG to find places for what they are trying to put away. In fact, the sheer nature of the catch-all room is because they have run out of places to put their belongings.
Does this “mythical” person sound like you? Do you go to put one thing away (usually in another room) and find it has no place? You try and find a place, and then inevitably bring that item back to the first room or bring a new item back after the first item took its place? It is a vicious cycle, right?
I can help you. It is time for me to give you permission to do something you never dreamed was ok. It is time to remove all the items from the catch-all room that do not belong there and go dump them, with no home, in the room they do belong in. Can these items stay homeless forever? No, of course not. That would defeat the purpose of organizing. That would ACTUALLY be “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” But you also can’t start organizing if you are paralyzed by the “no room for anything” cycle. So, go ahead and start making piles that will leave the catch-all room: a pile for the bathroom, a pile for the kitchen, a pile for the basement, a pile for the bedroom. Don’t forget a pile for the garbage and a pile for donation is also needed. Don’t move any piles from the room until you have sorted everything. (Trust me on this! Leaving the room to “put things away” will only serve to side-track you.) Once you have made piles of everything to leave the room, take those piles to the other room and dump them. Seriously! It is ok!!! … Do it. NOW you can organize what is left in your catch-all room. You will suddenly find organizing this room quite easy!
Did you read all this is sheer terror??? I know you did! My clients feel the same way when we start. Here is the problem though: it is too easy to get sidetracked putting each item “away” in the next room. Every single person admits doing it. In fact, now that I said it, you remember doing it too. Don’t worry. You will put away the newly homeless items in the other rooms. But you need to tackle one room at a time and find a proper place for everything. These items living in completely the wrong room have not helped you in either room or in your life in general. You can’t find anything that way! Here is the best part of this “pile dump” plan. The motivation and sense of achievement you will get from having ONE ROOM cleaned out will get you moving and ready to do the next room. Remember, organizing is contagious! Once you do one room, it is easier to take on the next one. (And, chances are, since the catch-all room is always the hardest, all the rest will be even easier!)
So, there you go: permission from a professional organizer to take piles from one room and dump them in another. It may be the opposite of what you thought you needed to do, but that’s why I am the professional. 😉