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5 Barriers to Getting Organizing

Hurdles in your organizing journey that may get you frustrated, stuck, and left in a disorganized state.


There's nothing more frustrating than being excited about something only to soon be let down by unexpected delays, hinderances, and disruptions. I've heard different versions of the same story from many people. You get a boost of motivation and you're finally ready to tackle the mounting clutter in your home once and for all.


You've gotten yourself all pumped up and maybe you've even shared your excitement with a friend or family member. But when the time comes to really get into the organizing, you get hit with one obstacle after the next that seems to drain you of all the motivation you had. We hate to see it happen don't we? 🙄 Not just with organizing your home, but with life in general. Life has a way of not always going the way we want it to right when we need it to the most. So not fair! But such is life.


When you delve into the issues that come about when trying to organize your home, those barriers actually expose the exact reasons why the task of getting organized was so delayed to begin with. What I'm saying is simply this; there's a reason or reasons why you waited so long and when you finally start you come face to face with all of those reasons at once.


It's like being in therapy. If you stay long enough to get deep into it, you'll eventually be faced with everything you avoided or weren't fully aware of prior to starting. This huge inconvenience usually comes when you're full of motivation and ready to move forward in life. 😩 It leaves you feeling frustrated, stuck, and left in a confused place if left unaddressed. I've seen this happen with both my therapy clients and organizing clients. It sucks, it's uncomfortable, but if we push through the barriers, I promise the benefits on the other side are worth it in more ways than one.



So let's get into it! Here are 5 barriers that may be getting in the way of you getting organized.


1. Not knowing where to start


You may be pumped but still not even get past the thinking stage of your project if you're already stumped about what to do or where to start. Here's one truth to hold onto: If you don't start somewhere, you're sure to never see progress. This is not to say that where you start is not important at all, but I'd rather you start somewhere than not at all.


However, I recommend you start with a space that's manageable, even if it's just one cabinet, drawer, or shelf. It may seem insignificant, but if you attempt to tackle a large project with no goal or plan, you'll end up overwhelmed and unmotivated to finish. Starting small also increases your chances of experiencing a win, which will motivate you to continue on to other spaces and rooms in your home. Here are some other things to keep in mind when considering where you should start:


The amount of time you have

If you only have a few hours on hand or one day off to set aside for organizing, you're better off starting with small areas like cabinets and drawers. Try decluttering a junk drawer or the cabinets under your bathroom sinks. Depending on the amount of clutter, you'll easily be able to accomplish these smaller tasks. If you have a few days to set aside, then take a shot at tackling one or two large projects or doing one small project each day.


The amount of clutter you have

Speaking of clutter, how much you have matters! When I'm quoting project estimates to clients, it's not just the size of the space or room that determines how long it will take and how much it will cost, it's also how much clutter is packed in that one space. So be mindful not only of the size of the space, but how much clutter you'll need to sort through and declutter in the time you have.


Your tolerance level

Know thyself! My organizing sessions are 6 hours because that's my daily threshold. As much as I love organizing and find it to be a relaxing and peaceful activity for me, after 6 hours I'm ready to do something else. So consider what your tolerance level may be, set aside time based on that, and choose a space appropriate for that timing.


Moving right along!


2. Struggling to Declutter


This one is HUGE! Decluttering is one of the skills I've made it my mission to teach my children, because if we're honest, most of us weren't really taught how to do it. And if it's not a natural skill of yours, you may need some guidance. If you need help with this one, grab my resource on decluttering. It explains what it is, why it's important, and how to properly do it. Decluttering is Step 3 of my organizing process. You can find help on the other steps on my resource page.


Decluttering can be a major barrier because we tend to feel a sense of security and safety with the stuff we own. This can be particularly true if you know what it's like to not have much. Your possessions may have a way of defining who you are or how far you've come. But remember: our possessions are just that, materials things that we possess. They should not be the primary tool we use to measure our success nor should they be security blankets for safety and comfort. It's time to replace holding onto items for security for letting go with gratitude.


Hang in there, we're at the halfway point!


3. Emotional attachment to items


This one goes hand in hand with the previous barrier. Having emotional attachments to possessions can make it difficult to let them go even when they are no longer serving you. Maybe you've tried organizing before, but found yourself quickly back in the same cluttered environment because you struggled to let some things go.


These attachments may have come about because of the items belonging to a passed loved one or it representing a special event or time in your life. Know that you have the option to detach and release. Get yourself unstuck from this barrier by choosing a few items that you will keep and consider taking pictures of other items so that you can preserve the sentiment without needing to keep each physical item.


4. Anxiety about the organizing process


There's a reason most of my client's prefer to not be present or take part in the process when I'm organizing spaces in their home. The process of organizing does create more of a mess before you begin to see the progress and that can scare some people. This is why it's important to know what your step-by-step organizing plan is so that you don't become too overwhelmed or discouraged when what you see around you doesn't yet look like what you're anticipating the final outcome will be.


Anxiety is a double-edged sword. There's the excited anxiety that get's us motivated and pumped to do something or go somewhere. And then there's the dreadful anxiety that's just well...dreadful! Know that if you're on this DIY organizing journey, there may be some anxiety involved with all that really comes with organizing.


Organizing isn't just something you do, it's an entire lifestyle. I think that's part of why people get so anxious and overwhelmed when they do start. They want to make this huge change in their space and lives, but they have that moment of realization where they understand that this change is not simple and it requires maintenance. There's a process and systems involved so it can be a bit more technical than we initial think it up to be.


5. Feeling that you have insufficient storage


Finally, you may be stuck because you feel that you don't have the storage space you need. I promise you, there's hope! First, you'll want to make sure you've properly decluttered and only have that which you love, need, will use, and have space for. You'll be surprised the difference purging makes! Then, do a good walkthrough of your home being on the lookout of all the hidden and unused space. There's lot of options for maximizing the storage you have in your home. Don't let your idea of lack of space get you down. Get creative and press onward!


There are some situations in which lack of storage may truly be the real issue at hand rather than an overabundance of items. In this case, I'd recommend looking into getting additional storage built into the space. That might be a custom closet system or adding decorative shelving that can serve a dual purpose.




You made it! Thanks for reading! I hope you found this to be helpful, eye-opening information to make you more aware of what can cause a halt in your process. Hopefully now that you've been informed, you feel better prepared to put in the work.


Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments which barriers you can relate with or if there are others that you've experienced.


If DIY isn't quite your thing or you read this article and immediately experienced even more anxiety, 😂 no worries. There are professionals who are skilled and more than happy to help! If you're ready to start this organizing journey and you'd like to consider me to be your accountability partner or personal do it for you pro organizer, schedule a call with me today.