The ten biggest organising mistakes

By the time you have started investigating Professional Organising services, I’m sure you’ll have tried many times to get yourself, your space and time under control.  What has been going wrong with your past efforts?

Let’s identify the 10 most common problems in organising:

  1. Rushing out to buy special containers and shelving.  Your first step needs to be the defining your goals.  Close your eyes and imagine what your ideal living room would look like, how stress-free each morning can be when opening your orderly wardrobes.  Write your targets down for clarity. Just use what’s available (cartoon boxes, strong bin liners) to sort through your belongings first.  Only consider purchasing containers once you’ve measured what and planned where to keep your things.
  2. Trying to do it too well.  Do you have an all or nothing mentality?  Realise that getting organised often is a slow and constant process.  Don’t put pressure on yourself by trying to create the perfect environment – it will slowly unwind unless you’re living in solitary confinement – but aim for a gradual and consistent improvement, just like losing weight.
  3. Waiting for the right time.  Admit it you’re never going to find that big chunk of spare time.  Learning to be organised is adopting a new lifelong habit, not having a Zen-like moment. Instead of procrastinating, resolve to sort through one shelf or drawer at a time to break down the de-cluttering into achievable steps. Alternatively set a 15 minute alarm or get a kick start with a professional organizer.
  4. Not wanting to let go of the clutter.  If every single item has already been culled and you’re still out of space, would you consider letting go of some items sometimes?  How about folding up some of the shirts so that you can properly access those on the hangers?  Can the children rotate toys on a quarterly basis so that their interest remains fresh?  If you don’t miss or need it whilst in storage, maybe that item wasn’t so vital after all?
  5. Out of sight, out of mind.  How many of you are hiding your possessions or spending money on self storage? Unless there is a strong reason (such as a relocation or inheriting goods), you need to re-assess its usefulness if the item has not been touched in the past six months. You will save money and appreciate your culled down belongings if you can see everything that you decided to keep.
  6. Reading too many books and getting confused.  People are individuals and habits, good or bad, make you who you are. The key is controlling them.  A Professional Organizer will take time to understand your personality, habits and limitations to help formulate a teaching plan tailored for you.  There is no cookie-cutter approach that works for everyone.
  7. Avoiding making decisions.  Clutter has usually accumulated as a result of postponing decisions about things and temporarily stuffing them out of sight.  Get back into the practise of making firm decisions by starting with the least important/valuable items.  Organise a car boot sale or have a charity in mind so that you know your things will be going to a good home instead of gathering dust.
  8. Giving up too soon.   Getting organised is primarily a learning and adjustment process.  It’s said that you need 30 days of constant effort to break a bad habit and form better ones.  Stay on track and motivated by pairing up with a buddy.
  9. Doing it all yourself.  Starting anything new or breaking a bad habit is always difficult alone. Declare your intentions and get those at home involved and helping out.    As you teach others, you will be reinforcing your newfound wisdom.
  10. Asking the wrong person for help.  When it comes to your personal space and treasured belongings, it’s easy for those close to you to become judgemental (“You’re just like your mother!”) and propose you finally get rid of your collection of XXXX.  Ask for the right person to coach you in the fundamentals of organisation so that you recognise what, why, when and how to do it and make informed decisions.

Now that you are aware of the common pitfalls, take steps to avoid them and channel your energy positively into creating a sense of order.


Written by

Asian Professional Organisers is the first member in Singapore of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers, serving clients in Singapore and Hong Kong. Georgina Wong started out as a professional event organiser before transferring her expertise to where it matters most - in the home and workplace. We offer all forms of organising from home staging of your property to workplace productivity and from wardrobe auditing to digital decluttering.