Reduce interruptions before you start organizing

By Lori Firsdon -

Some of you wake up with good intentions to organize your home. However, by the end of the day you feel dismayed because you could not follow through on those good intentions.

In many cases, it’s interruptions that keep you from accomplishing your organizing goals. The key is to reduce as many interruptions as possible before you start.


If you want to succeed, especially if you’ve taken off work, don’t tell anyone you’re home for the day. If people know you’re available, they are more likely to interrupt you.

Tell your family members who will be home, the set hours you plan to organize. Request they not interrupt you during that time.

If you have young children, ask your spouse, grandma or a friend to care for them during your organizing time. Your family will benefit from your home being more organized. Plus, organizing can also give your relationship a boost. This is a big incentive for a spouse to find something fun to do with the kids.

Peter Bregman’s quote, “The best way to avoid interruptions is to turn them off,” is spot on. Turn off your phone and shut down your computer before you get started. You need quiet time to make decisions regarding your possessions and to process the emotions that often surface.

Sometimes you actually look for reasons to leave the room you’re organizing because you feel overwhelmed, stressed and want to flee. If the mail comes, you run out and get it. When you find something, such as a spoon that belongs in the kitchen, you leave immediately instead of waiting to see if you’ll find other things that also need to go into the kitchen.

Once, while helping a client get organized, we ran out of garbage bags. She went to the kitchen to get them and didn’t return. When I entered the kitchen, she asked, “Would you like some coffee?” I replied, “No thank you.” She then asked, “Would you like some banana nut bread? I can make some.”

I had to laugh at her offer. She was searching for ways to avoid going back into the room because when she tried organizing it on her own, she didn’t get very far and gave up.

To eliminate some distractions, assemble supplies before you begin. Collect boxes, grocery bags and laundry baskets to use for sorting items. Bring large bags to collect trash and to use for items, such as clothing, you intend to donate. Gather newspaper or packing paper to wrap fragile items to donate.

Don’t multi-task while organizing. As tempting as it may be to throw in a load of laundry, save that chore for another time.

Keep your energy up and headaches at bay by starting off with a stash of snacks and a water bottle. Have a planned lunch break and eat food you prepared ahead of time.

If you have to leave the room, be mindful about returning. Recognize when you are procrastinating and making excuses for not returning to your organizing project.

When you’re done for the day, you can turn your phone back on, enjoy your family once again and make some banana nut bread.