Guest Guru: bneato – Maintenance and Accountability

Maintenance and Accountability

By Beth Zeigler, of

In my line of work, I often compare getting organized to losing weight. Once you lose the weight and reach your fitness goals, you have to maintain and often rely on a little bit of accountability to stay at your desired size. It’s the same story with organizing. Getting organized means your brand new mail system has to be maintained (opening mail daily, shredding regularly and not letting junk mail in the house). Otherwise, your neat files will turn into piles. And while it sounds like a whole lot of work, it is doable and made easy if you set up some expectations and rules beforehand.

Baby steps;

Your home did not get disorganized overnight (even though sometimes it might feel that way). So it’s important to recognize that it takes time to whip our home into shape overnight (even though reality shows make it seem like a breeze). Eventually, after a lot of hard work, your space will be organized–and you’ll want to maintain the zones that you spent time laboring over. This is where baby steps come in. Instead of thinking about organizing the whole house at once, focus on the junk drawer, the entryway table or the medicine cabinet. A smaller space is easy to maintain and once you get the hang of keeping that spot orderly, move onto another disorganized spot in the house. Small accomplishments add up and motivate us to move forward.

Build in accountability;

While “penciling in” a future date for organizing works for some, I find that we’ll use every excuse in the book not to keep our appointment. This is where friends and the web come into play. When I tell a friend or colleague about a project I’m working on, I’ll ask that they check back in with me and see how my work is progressing. I also love to Tweet or include a Facebook status of exciting or challenging things that I’m adding to my to-do list. These are simple and effortless ways to instantly build in accountability with your peers and / or followers.

Hire a professional;

Sometimes, it’s necessary to consult with an experienced pro. Attend a workshop on organizing or schedule a session with a professional organizer as a form of accountability. For example, I know how challenging it is for folks to get (and keep) their paperwork organized, so I created Organizing Boot Camp to get folks on track. If you can make the organizing process fun and your systems simple and easy to maintain, you’re setting yourself (and your space) up for success.

Author Beth Zeigler

Beth Zeigler is a Professional Organizer and a regular contributor to Apartment Therapy, Los Angeles. Her blog may be found at Blog