How to Organize Your Life Without Feeling Overwhelmed
August 2, 2021 8:00 AM EST | 8 min read
Do you sometimes feel like you don’t know how to organize your life?
Most people look at their clutter, feel tired and overwhelmed, and then ignore it as the piles grow.
They think ignoring it is the easier choice.
As the piles grow, they feel more overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed.
But for various personal reasons, they still choose to ignore it.
Soon, they pay money to store it somewhere, chuck it all without giving it any thought, or live with it because they’ve developed a hoarding problem.
None of these are healthy decisions.
Even if you have just a little bit of clutter, you will experience more stress and feel overwhelmed than you deserve.
So I wanted to share my favorite tips on organizing your life without feeling overwhelmed.
Trust me, it can be done!
1.) Organize Your Life by Taking Baby Steps
Most people give up before they begin because organizing their space feels and looks like such a huge job.
Often, they can’t even figure out where to begin.
This is the wrong way to get- and stay – organized.
The trick is to take the overwhelming feeling out of the situation.
Do that by focusing on taking one step at a time:
- Pick a category to start with, such as clothing.
- Select one item of clothing at a time and choose whether or not you still like, use, and need the item in your hand.
- Choose a spot to keep that item and place it there.
- Repeat these steps with the next articles.
2.) Don’t Assume It’s All or Nothing
You do not need to start and finish an organizing project on the same day.
If it’s so overwhelming for you, please don’t!
There’s no such thing as finishing it because life will always bring new stuff, new people, new choices, and new opportunities.
But the more you build up the skills you use to organize your life, the easier it will be to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle.
- Break down projects into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Set a time limit so you don’t get overwhelmed or exhausted.
- Be proud of what you did accomplish that day versus what you didn’t get done, as it will help motivate you to keep going.
3.) Focus on Your Priorities
Figure out what’s important to you.
Is it your health, happiness, family, work, or friends?
Knowing what’s important to you is valuable in helping you organize your life without feeling overwhelmed.
When you know what’s truly important to you, it’s so much easier to identify and eliminate things that are becoming a hindrance to your priorities.
- List your top five priorities in life to help you figure out what items can stay or need to go.
- Place easy-to-implement boundaries for yourself to help you remain focused.
- Align decisions based on your priorities.
4.) Do Relax and Breathe
A lot of people fear that they will make a mistake and throw something out that they will need desperately.
Like you finally decide to throw out your taxes from 2000, but you fear that the next day, the IRS will start an audit on those exact records (even though you know perfectly well that unless you deliberately committed fraud, that can’t happen).
Those fears force many people to keep thinking, “they may need it someday”.
Fear only lets you continue making bad decisions for yourself.
So instead, try to relax and realize there are a few “errors” you can make:
- Do your homework. If you’re worried about letting go of important papers because you may need to prove something later, use the Internet to look up what you need to keep. The more you educate yourself, the easier – and safer – you’ll feel once you organize your life.
- Contact the company concerned. Most items can be replaced if you accidentally let something go. You can often contact companies if you lost a receipt or can’t find an exact or close enough replacement elsewhere.
- Remember that letting go of anything is a hard process – and that’s okay. Honor that feeling, and don’t push yourself into making hasty decisions because you think you “should”.
- If in doubt, keep it until you’ve reached a point where you feel comfortable letting your stuff go.
5.) Start with the Easy Stuff
Life is hard enough without you purposely making it harder for yourself.
So start the organizing process by choosing to make the easy decisions first.
This works well because it’s less overwhelming, but also, you allow yourself the time to develop the skills used in the task.
These skills will enable you to make better decisions for your life now and in the future.
When you reach the harder decisions, you’ll be a pro at decision-making, and the process will feel easier.
- There isn’t a time limit for when you get organized. If you can’t decide, put it on hold until you’re ready.
- Ask for help and support. This process can be very stressful for some people – but ask for it anyway. Whether you pay for a professional or have a trusted friend to help you, support and guidance are key to achieving great and lasting results.
- Trust your intuition. Organizing is a great way to learn how to work with and trust your intuition. So allow yourself to listen to your inner voice on whether or not to keep something. Soon, you’ll have built up your intuition muscle to use with all your life decisions.
6.) Take a Break When You Organize Your Life
This can be a tiring process.
There are a lot of decisions to make, and it can feel overwhelming without taking a few breaks in between.
It also isn’t always the most fun process.
But when you do it in smaller increments and then take a break, it makes it easier to work through the time length you’ve chosen.
It may also help you continue the process more readily because you’ve broken it into smaller, more manageable chunks.
- Set a timer to remind yourself to take scheduled breaks.
- Take 5-10 deep breaths during the break to re-center yourself and get your brain functioning again.
- Go outside for a little while and use the time to visualize exactly how you want your space to look and feel without the clutter clouding your choices.
7.) Focus on the Positive
Once you organize your life and think it’s going to be hard and overwhelming, chances are, it will be.
However, when you focus on WHY you’re getting organized, it can make the entire process easier to do, and you may find you’re enjoying yourself.
Why not think about possibly finding some lost treasures, or even how you might make some money getting rid of unwanted items?
- Remind yourself that you’ll feel lighter, and things will be easier when you get rid of old stuff.
- Focus on how excited you’ll be to see and enjoy your most treasured belongings again.
- Find something you would love to purchase, and then pay for it using the money you make selling your old unwanted items.
8.) Keep Similar Things Together
Make the process of organizing easy rather than overwhelming by keeping similar items together.
If it’s easy to remember where you put it, you’re more likely to place it back there each time you’re finished.
- Try not to bury something way in the back. The more you see an item, the more likely you will use it.
- Put items used most often at the front and items least used towards the back.
9.) Buy the Right Products
There are so many products for organizing out there that trying to find the right one can be overwhelming.
The trick is to ensure the product you buy has the following three qualities.
Otherwise, more often than not, you’ll find you have a collection of unusable products adding to your pile of clutter.
Make sure organizers are:
- Working the way you need it to.
- Fit in the space you’re using it for.
When you approach organizing as a process to help you lighten your load and make it more manageable, it quickly can become a far less overwhelming process.
Remember that you deserve to live a happy, healthy, productive life – however, that looks to you.
By using these simple tips on organizing your life, you’ll start to see AND feel the positive differences letting go of your clutter can make.
You will also experience a difference in your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
If you require additional support and guidance, hire a professional you feel comfortable working with.
Danielle N Dahl
April 9, 2020 at 6:00 PM
Such great points! I am excited to have some time to organize the clutter around my house!