I was with a client the other day and we laughed over a joke I made. I told her, “I think people should have to get a prescription from an organizer before they buy a container!” Disorganization is no laughing matter, but the joke did inspire some reflection. When I came home I was struck by just how consistent of an issue it has been over the past ten years. Clients know they have a problem in their homes. So they go out to Target or The Container Store and buy containers. When they get home, they often don’t ever use the containers. Usually because they don’t know what they want to put in them and where they want to put them. And often they buy the wrong size.
When I made the joke, it was a quip. But the analogy holds. You wouldn’t go to the pharmacy for a headache and choose the prettiest package. And you wouldn’t buy medicine without at least a firm guess on the source of the headache. Disorganization is a headache of the home. It can have multiple sources. Health problems, a lack of household systems, stress, and changing schedules can all play a part in disorganization. I use a very simple method of Organization that I developed over the past ten years. The 5 C method has been used every time I work with a client.
Clarify – identify the problem,
Categorize – sort items
Clear Out – remove unwanted items
Contain – store items you want
Continue – maintenance
It isn’t until the fourth step that we begin to consider containers. Before you can know how to get organized, you have to know what the problem is, and what items you are working with. You also have to continue to use your systems. If a prescription tells you to use it twice daily for two weeks, do you stop on day 5? Organization is a process that can improve your life. But you can’t start in the middle. Every journey has a starting point. Finding that starting point takes a little time, a little patience, and sometimes a little help. But that’s what I’m here for.