One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How long will it take to get organized?”. There is no one answer because the amount of time it takes to get organized is based on so many things. I personally offer my professional organizing services in blocks of time of 3 hours or more, but 3 hours is usually just the tip of the iceberg…
Factors to Consider When Determining How Long it Will Take to Get Organized
How long you’ve felt disorganized or overwhelmed by clutter
If you’ve become disorganized because of a life transition such as recent move, a new baby, or a brief illness, it will take less time to get back to your baseline of organization. If you’ve felt disorganized for years, decades, or even your whole life, it will take much longer to achieve the organization level that you desire.
Your personal definition of organized and your individual goals
The feeling of “organized” is subjective. Some of my clients want everything neatly color-coded, labeled, and placed in matching containers. Others will honestly tell me that their vision is just to be able to see the kitchen table surface, or the floor again. Some goals will take longer than others to reach.
How many physical items there are to sort through
A 10’ x 10’ guest room with some clutter won’t take nearly as long to sort through and organize, compared to a 5,000 square foot home with a garage, basement and attic filled with belongings. The size of your space, and the number of items in that space, definitely matter when talking about how long it will take.
The speed at which you make decisions
As a professional organizer, I guide and assist you in the decision-making process. However, the items we’re sorting through belong to you, and you must make some choices as to which items are most important or can be donated, sold, or discarded. Your decision-making speed impacts how long it will take you to get organized.
Any mental health challenges that are involved
Some mental health challenges such as Hoarding Disorder, OCD and ADHD can make it more difficult to get and stay organized.
Other people in your home or office, your relationship with them, and their level of disorganization
If you have family members or co-workers who are not bothered by disorganization, are not on board with your goal of getting organized, or add to disorganization in your space, these people can all influence the time it will take to get organized.
Your personal time constraints, such as if you’re busy working or taking care of your family and do not have much time to set aside to get organized. A professional organizer can help streamline the process, but you’ll still need to set aside time for getting organized.
Distractions such as family members, children, pets, visitors, phone calls and text messages can all take you off track while getting organized. This is why I suggest limiting distractions during scheduled organizing sessions.
If you have someone to hold you accountable (such as a professional organizer, family member or friend), you will be more likely to set aside the time to work on your personal organizing goals.
Personal Motivation – your WHY
Everyone has a different reason motivating them to get organized. Perhaps you want to be able to invite friends over for dinner without feeling embarrassed, maybe a you want to be a good role model for your children and teach them how to live an organized life, or you just want less stress in your own life. All of these have been motives that some of my clients have had for getting organized. As you’re working through the organizing project, always think back to your “why”. The more motivated you are, the more quickly you’ll work through the process.
Frequency of your scheduled organizing sessions
It takes multiple organizing sessions to fully declutter, organize and set up systems to maintain an organized home or office. The frequency of these scheduled sessions is important to keep momentum going. If you schedule weekly, biweekly, or even monthly sessions, you’re much more likely to achieve your goals, not backslide much, and take less time overall, as compared to scheduling sessions once every 6 months.
Your ability to maintain an organized space
Your willingness to put things away regularly, to avoid over-shopping after decluttering, and to maintain an organized space in between sessions, can also impact the amount of time it will take to get organized.
If you are interested in working with me either in-person or through virtual organizing sessions, I spend time during your complimentary phone consultation or video chat learning more about you and your individual situation. It is then that we can discuss your timeline, goals, and the amount of time you’re willing to invest in getting and staying organized.
Usually, after the first session or two, I may be able to give you a ballpark idea of the number of hours it may take to reach your goals, but again, that really depends on the factors listed above. In any case, it is best to schedule recurring organizing sessions, keeping up momentum, and seeing progress each time, until you reach the point that you feel you’re organized.