Making the Most of Shelter in Place: 5 Tips for Organizing your Space

Finding motivation can be difficult…finding motivation to organize what may seem like a hopeless mess can be really difficult…and finding motivation to organize in the midst of a pandemic can be VERY difficult, but that doesn’t make it impossible. If you’re finding yourself bored at home with nothing to do or searching for some call to action, this is it…and I’m even going to give you some helpful tips to get started.

Tip 1: Get into a groove

Organizing is a task – and though some may enjoy it more than others, no one can deny that it takes focus, energy, and depending on the mess, some serious endurance (and if you’re like me…allergy medicine! Dust!). Before you begin it’s important to get into the right headspace for you – so change into some comfy clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Make sure you’re hydrated and have had a meal recently. Pop on your favorite playlist, or a podcast if that’s more your style. Set yourself up for success by creating an environment where you’re feeling good.

Tip 2: Make a game plan

It’s easy to become overwhelmed if all you see in front of you is one giant mess that needs to be tackled. One easy way to make this task seem less daunting is to break up your giant task into smaller, more reasonable tasks. For example, say your GIANT task is that you need to clean your bedroom. The idea of cleaning a whole room sounds like a lot, especially in one sitting. By breaking this down into multiple smaller tasks, like 1) clean and replace my bedding, 2) clear out my bedside table, 3) clean out the closet and donate old clothes, we create more reasonable expectations for ourselves and tasks that can be spaced over multiple days. Since it sounds like we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, that’s a great way to think about it.

Tip 3: Find a planner, and use it!

Planners don’t just have to be for jotting down meetings and appointments. Instead, think of a planner as your go-to reminder and motivator for anything, including organizing. By writing down organization tasks in your planner, you commit yourself to doing them, as it becomes part of your schedule. If simply writing it down isn’t enough, consider even blocking off a designated amount of time for any given task, and reserving that time in your planner. Nothing is more satisfying than crossing off a completed task, so not only does this handy tip help you to schedule, remember, and honor your organization tasks, it also motivates you by giving you the incentive of the satisfaction that comes from crossing that task off the list.

Tip 4: Pick an accountability buddy

Just because we’re socially distancing doesn’t mean we don’t have ways to communicate with and help our friends. Designate someone in your life who you talk to regularly and who you can trust to hold you accountable. Make an agreement that you both are going to accomplish certain tasks, that way when your own motivation fails, your accountability buddy can serve that purpose for you…and vice versa. Choose a way to communicate that works best for you as a pair–this could be a FaceTime while you both complete your respective tasks, shooting each other words of motivation, or reminders, or even upping the stakes by creating a public challenge for each other on social media! This is, of course, challenge by choice, so determine what works best for you and your buddy!

Tip 5: Give yourself a break

So you’ve followed all the tips: you had a good meal, you decided you need to organize your clothing drawers today, you designated organization time in your planner, and your accountability buddy has texted you “you can do this!,” but you’re really just not feeling it right now, in this moment…what now? Although these tips are helpful for gaining the motivation you need when you want to use it, we must remember that in unprecedented times like this, as much as we try, sometimes the motivation just isn’t there, and that’s okay. Just because we find ourselves at home with excess time on our hands doesn’t mean you have to spend that time being “productive” unless you want to. So don’t be too hard on yourself, if you aren’t feeling it at the end of the day, that’s a-okay. 

Although these tips are not a fix-all, exhaustive list of ways to organize and find motivation, they are a starting place. Use them as you’d like, and hopefully, they can function as a source of motivation in and of themselves. Happy organizing!