There are a plethora of reasons why people’s efforts to get organized ultimately fail. At the root of all of them is what has gone into the organizational systems implemented. What have you invested? That’s the question, and that’s what makes all the difference in whether your efforts stick.
One of the questions people most love to ask me is whether the work I do with my clients sustains over time, or is reversed almost immediately due to clutter relapsing.
On the whole, I will tell you: the work I do with my clients sticks.
When clients hire me they are investing fully, meaning they are investing both financially and in spirit. They are committing themselves to change, and commanding themselves to finally “get it right,” rather than “making do.”
We spend hours dissecting things from the base level up. We talk about all the reasons behind all the decisions. We implement new systems that work ideally for them. We don’t cut corners. We don’t use materials or supplies that are just laying around the house (although we do sometimes, but only when they’re better or comparable to what we could buy). We swap out old containers for new ones, whether the old ones are functional or not.
Why? Because how you feel about an organizational system and an environment makes all the difference in what happens next. If you feel that your set up has been assembled hodge-podge style, that you’ve used elements that aren’t ideal, or ones that you haven’t actively selected, those feelings affect how you treat that space. And that affects how successful you are at maintaining it.
I’m sorry to say that the people whose efforts repeatedly (and much to their frustration and disappointment) eradicate themselves time after time are the ones who don’t invest enough. They don’t invest enough time, they don’t invest the time to go the store or buy that they need to complete the project, they use slopshod materials they’re gathered along the way. There is no order to their system, and thus there will be no order to their order.
Of course the reality is that many (if not most) people are bound by a budget. Yet there is a time and a place for recycling and frugality. And there is a time to say, “I need to invest in myself by investing in this project. I need to make this a priority.”
Maybe you’ll eat a few less dinners out this month. Maybe you won’t take that weekend trip. But you will instead allocate the dollars you have to creating a system that supports you.
If you have gone to the effort of spending countless hours working and thinking about a space, if you have paid a considerable sum of money on the products whose aesthetic fits best with your own, if you feel like the system itself is a treat to yourself, then maintaining that system feels the only natural thing to do.
When you invest, you express priority. And when you invest in your life by investing real time and money into your organization, you make that organization a priority. You attach yourself to it. You care for it because you care about it. Because it has taken a lot to get there.
You may not have an unlimited budget. That’s okay because there are options at every price level. But if you don’t invest anything, you won’t care about that project enough to keep it neat. If you don’t like the way it looks or feels you will have no incentive to support it.
Real talk today, kids. Real talk.Image credits: IKEA, The Everygirl, Camille Styles