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As seen in the Dayton Daily News on July 29, 2017.

Many years ago, when I worked in the corporate world, I had a coworker who showed up late to work most mornings. She charged in the front door with her purse swinging at her side, papers haphazardly stuffed in her briefcase and her make-up only halfway completed.

She confessed to me one day that her home was in complete disarray, which was why she rarely made it to work on time. She said she was overwhelmed.  She became paralyzed whenever she tried cleaning up because she didn’t know where to start.

I shared this simple advice with her, “You have to start with a goal for why you want to get organized. Then work on those areas that will help you reach that goal.” She decided her first goal was to get to work on time.

We then came up with a list of the areas in her house to organize, which would help her get ready faster in the morning.

Nightstand: She cleared everything off the top of her nightstand so she could clearly see her alarm clock. (Which in these times may hold a charging cell phone) I had her put a pad of paper and a pen next to her bed so she could start her to-do list for her day.

Bathroom: I instructed her to get a small box and put in only the make-up she applies for work. No freebie sample products or old makeup she hasn’t worn in years were to be included in the box. She also filled a bin with the hair products needed for work days. Her toiletries and medications were rounded up and placed in a basket near her sink.

Closet: In her closet, she cleared a portion of the hanging bar to hold two weeks’ worth of work clothing. Below the clothes were her shoes that coordinated with her outfits. She made a small clearing on top of her dresser for complimenting jewelry, which she put in a shoe box lid.

Pantry: She created a small section for just breakfast items.

Kitchen counter:  A basket was set up to hold her car keys and sunglasses. Nearby sat her briefcase, purse and any items she needed to take to the office.

She was successful because she stayed focused on her goal of getting out the door quickly. She didn’t try to organize entire spaces, such as her closet or the pantry, just small spaces of each. The goal was to organize just enough of the spaces then move to the next. Later, she can tackle more of the closet, etc.

My coworker began showing up for work on time. When she walked in the office, she was calm and looked professional. I noticed coworkers started treating her with respect. She was given more responsibilities at work and eventually a promotion.

She was ready to tackle more in her home, so we came up with more goals; preparing nutritional meals, finding papers fast and keeping up with the laundry. Each time, we brainstormed the areas to organize to make these goals possible.

If you’re struggling with disorganization, figure out the areas of your home that will help you reach your goal and get started. One small space at a time.