Five Common Organizing Pitfalls & How to Overcome Them

Are you tired of clearing out the same old piles over and over again, only to watch them build back up, seemingly overnight? 
You deserve better.  

If you’ve found yourself organizing on repeat, you may be falling into one of several common organizing pitfalls. Here’s how you can finally break free. 

1. Getting stuck in the backlog. 

Problem: If you’re dealing with an overwhelming amount of stuff, it can be easy to focus only clearing out what’s old. But forgetting to handle new, incoming things while you’re at it can kick you into a cycle of feeling constantly behind. 

Solution: Remember organizing means clearing out AND actively addressing incoming items. For long-term momentum, try 30 minutes a day: 15 minutes a day for going through old stuff, and 15 minutes for addressing what’s new. Don’t forget to set a timer! 

2. Lacking a system for storage &/or maintenance.  

Problem: When you do manage to clear out the backlog, what happens next? If there’s still no clear system for storing what’s staying and keeping the space straight, those piles will likely return. 

Solution: Implement intentional systems for storing and maintaining. Once you’ve cleared out what doesn’t belong, keep going! Identify what you want to store in the space, how accessible certain things need to be, and what kinds of storage or organizing tools you need to build your system.  

3. Expecting others who use the space to be on board without discussing it. 

Problem: Countless clients have complained to me that it’s not them, it’s their partner or kids who constantly create clutter. While it’s true some people are more naturally organized than others, lack of communication is one of the biggest factors in failure.   

Solution: If you want to live organized, but those you live with don’t “get it” or seem to ignore your efforts, think back. Have you actually explained to them why you want to be organized? Do they know what’s expected of them and why their help is important? If not, start that conversation today. It’s possible they’re not even aware they’re sabotaging your organizing efforts. 

4. Not putting things back where they belong. 

Problem: No system will maintain itself. So, the responsibility falls on the user(s) to keep the system going. That means putting things back where they belong… Every. Single. Time. This one sounds obvious because it is… but it still warrants repeating.; the user(s) of the system   

Solution: I know it sounds tedious, but putting things back where they belong as soon as possible is THE fastest way to start living organized. It’s so important we’ve mentioned it before – see step #4 of our recent blog, Organized Garage = More Summer Fun.  

5. Learning when it’s time to update your existing system. 

Problem: If your systems have been working well, then suddenly things start piling up again, don’t stress. Over time, systems naturally break down because our organizing needs change. Seasonal shifts are a great example of this. 

Solution: If you decide to pick up a new hobby or start using your spaces in different ways, be aware of the impact. Look for telltale signs like items without homes or the beginnings of piles, and take action quickly to adapt or update your systems to match your needs. 

Are you facing one or more of these common organizing challenges? If so, don’t give up! Just pick one you want to address first. (Bonus points if you comment below and tell us which one.) Then, start implementing that solution today. Keep at it, and in time, I promise you will reap the rewards. 

In the meantime, remember: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to get help! You don’t have to do it all alone. Find a compassionate and organized friend to help you, or, if you’re ready for professional reinforcements, our team is here to support you.  

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