It is day fifteen of the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge. I am so amazed at all of the great progress so many of you are making in small and large areas.
One of you wrote me to let me know that you felt like you were moving too slowly through the process. You found yourself procrastinating areas you were moving items to sort through. The speed at which people organize varies depending on the project or the mental process for decision-making.
I often tell people when I first meet with them that I cannot predict how long an organizing project will take. Someone can fly through decisions if they are mentally ready. It can take some of my clients 1-2 hours to get through one box. Others find the decision-making easier and fly through boxes in minutes.
When you walk in a room it can look like a lot of items to sort, but the categories are simple. Other rooms can seem to have nothing, until you start pulling out the boxes under the bed or digging deeper in the shelves. If there are a lot of little items it can take so much longer than expected. More importantly, the mental struggle related to the items can have a huge impact in how fast you can sort through as well.
The point is, organizing is not a speed race. When you are dealing with a room full of paper expect it will take you a lot longer than a garage full of large objects. The volume of individual decisions is greater when you are going through a thousand sheets of paper versus one hundred books on a shelf.
I often tell people start on the “quick hits” first in a room. These are large items or objects you can decide on and remove quickly. Leave the harder decisions for the end. You will feel like you made fast progress and gain room in the space for the larger sorts. Getting rid of one piece of furniture you don’t want will have a much larger impact than spending five hours on a box of paper.
Be kind to yourselves and know that different organization projects are going to require varying concentration levels and time. There is no need to speed, only to spend the time making thoughtful decisions that will get you to your goal.