4 Ways To Leave Your Organizing Mistakes Behind And Create New Systems That Work

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woman organizing her spices

So often, my clients stress over their organizing mistakes. It may be because their strategy wasn’t quite right and needed to be tweaked. Or, perhaps, they forgot how to follow through with it. 

They are so focused on what went wrong with their organizing system that they give themselves no room to be present in the now.

It’s important to know what doesn’t work but also to leave the past organizing mistakes behind so you can move forward.

The best way to fix a past mistake is to learn from it. Know what went wrong and what went right so that the next time you're organizing your home, you won't get stuck in the mess. 

RELATED: 100 Best Organizing Tips & Ideas For Easy Home Organization

Here are 4 ways to leave your organizing mistakes in the past and create new systems that work.

1. Identify your past organizing mistakes.

Recognize what hasn’t worked for you in the past and think about why it didn’t work.

Ask yourself the following questions: Was the strategy too complicated? Maybe there were too many steps involved to maintain the organization system.

Has something in your daily life changed that makes the strategy ineffective? Is there any single part of the organizing strategy that did work? Can you take the part that worked to create a better organizing strategy?

Sometimes, the best organizing strategies are the simplest.

2. Practice new habits.

Be honest with yourself. Is it the organizing strategy that doesn’t work, or is it that you're not practicing new habits mindfully?

Sometimes, an organizing strategy requires you to change part of your routine to create a new habit.

New habits are not created overnight. They are mindfully practiced until you no longer need to think about them. It can take 3 or more weeks for a new habit to become a routine.

Did you forget that your new habit for dealing with the mail is to open everything? That means e-mail invoices, paper invoices, and scheduling time to finish the task.

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3. Forgive yourself and leave the past organizing mistakes in the past.

Think about what went wrong. Did you get interrupted and then forget to go back to a task?

This means that envelopes were left here and there. Piles of papers were stacked by the door, on the dining table, and near the couch.

4. Start over.

Now you know what went wrong, you can start again.

Gather those piles of papers. Recycle or shred the ones you don’t want. Schedule time to attend to the remainder. It just takes 10 minutes.

Maybe you were interrupted in the middle of going to put the laundry into the dryer. You forgot to return to your task so the laundry sat in the washer overnight and now must be re-washed.

Yes, it’s a bother, but it happens. Set a reminder on your phone to put the wash into the dryer. Set another reminder to take the laundry out of the dryer, fold it, and put it away.

Put little reminders (or alarms) on your phone to help you follow through on the steps to complete tasks.

When it comes to fixing your organizing mistakes, there’s no time like the present.

Someone once said we call it the present because it's a gift. So, live today and leave the past in the past.

Everyone makes organizing mistakes. It’s good to acknowledge when something doesn’t work the way you want it to. Think about what went wrong and how you can make it better.

A friend of mine reminded me a couple of weeks ago to stay in the moment and not dwell on past mistakes.

You see, I was stressing over the fact that I was making mistakes during the filming of a video for The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Specialists 2022 Conference application submission.

My friend said to leave the past in the past. There’s nothing you can do about it now, so move on — this was great advice.

I did just that, focusing on the moment and doing my best at that time. That’s all anyone can ask. And there’s a lot of talk right now about being mindfully present.

When you place yourself in the moment, you give yourself permission to concentrate on what’s happening now instead of ruminating over what happened before.

It’s important to leave any past organizing mistakes behind so you can start again and move forward.

Dwelling on a past organizing mistake will not change it. But, you can tweak various organizing strategies to suit you and the way you live your life.

RELATED: 9 Tips On Tackling Home Organization When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC, and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone consultation.

This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.