We moved into our first home about a month after Ava was born, my husband and I had moved into my parents’ house right before Thanksgiving. We were due on December 14 and although our lease was up at the end of December, I didn’t not want to deal with all the moving after Christmas and the baby being born. Looking back at the situation, it was less than ideal, but that’s just the way it worked out and luckily I have an amazing husband who handled all the moving and set-up so I could literally just walk in with Ava and start living. There was one area of the house that he could not handle completely and that was my closet. I’m embarrassed to say that I just recently unpacked all my clothes that were sitting in those humongous Ziplock storage bags. It took me an entire year to finally unpack. My husband would come into my closet while I got ready and say, “Seriously? If you’re not gonna organize this I’ll do it for you.” He, of course, was unpacked within the first month (granted he has much less than I do, but still).
With a new baby and being a new mom, many tasks that wouldn’t be a big deal became suddenly unbearable. The last thing I wanted to do was get my closet organized, it was going to take forever and sorry, I have a baby, I ain’t got time for that. But it was really starting to be embarrassing, you literally couldn’t see half the floor of my closet because I was still partially living out of those massive Ziplocks and throwing clothes everywhere when looking through them. When we bought our house it wasn’t even finished yet. We literally walked through the shell of it, there weren’t even walls up yet or floors put down. But when we went upstairs and the guy told us that one of the rooms off the master was a walk-in closet I was SOLD. As the end of 2014 neared, I realized that it was just not okay for me to put this off any longer. I’ve dreamed of having a space like this all to myself and I’m taking it for granted and not making it what I’ve always wanted. But, how do I get there?
Funnily enough, before I started this whole SAHM thing, they paid me to write goals and help people achieve them. I’m an occupational therapist. My patients’ main goals were to get home and live as independently as possible. I helped them create goals and a plan to get them there. Yet, I’ve never really used these principles on myself. Getting our house in shape and my closet organized were chores, not goals. But that’s because I wasn’t breaking things down, I was just looking too hard at the big picture and it felt like it would take forever. So if you’re a mom, new or a veteran, and have trouble getting bigger projects done like me, here are my tips for success inspired by my OT side.
1. Make your goals meaningful and measurable.
If it’s not meaningful, why bother? I want to be able to access all items in my closet efficiently and effectively so I’m not spending and hour trying to find a top that never resurfaced until I made it a short-term goal (more on this later) to sort and empty all those Ziplocks. Especially now that my ‘me time’ is so limited, I don’t want to waste an hour looking for anything. Also, don’t make your goals too broad, you want to know without a doubt that you achieved it, so make sure it’s clear.
My long-term goal is this: All clothing, accessories, and makeup will be hung or stored from designated areas by May 1. I didn’t just say: My closet will be organized by May 1. Make it definitive so there’s no doubt you reached it.
2. Give yourself a reasonable deadline.
I am a certified procrastinator. If I don’t give myself a deadline, I’m never getting started. I’ll do the ‘it can wait until tomorrow’ for weeks. And don’t go crazy with your timeframe, know your capabilities. I know that I still need to get storage, more hangers, etc. to get this job done and I know it’s not going to happen in a month.
3. Break the goal down into manageable pieces, or short-term goals.
What steps are going to get you there? My first short-term-goal was to sort through all the Ziplocks and anything already hanging or in drawers and decide what to keep and what to toss within one week. I like weekly goals because it gives me just the right amount of time to complete them. I tend to think about my goals in week time frames, but do what works for you. Or have 1-2 week goals, just get it done. It took me a day to get that done even though I gave myself a week. I just needed to give myself a deadline or it wasn’t going to happen.
4. Re-evaluate and revise regularly.
When people aren’t meeting their goals they tend to get discouraged and give up too easily. Goals aren’t set in stone. Think about why it wasn’t met and why. Did you have a lot of other things scheduled that week and not have the time? Revise the goal to extend your timeframe or make what needs to get done a little smaller. Then try again. As an OT, I would write weekly progress notes and monthly re-evaluations to keep my patients on track. Do the same for yourself.
5. Seriously, write it down.
I’m going to get my flu shot this week (better late than never). I’ve had it in the back of my mind since Ava had her first one at her 9 month check-up. I finally wrote it down on my ‘to-do’ list last week. You see where I’m going with this right? Out of sight is truly out of mind, it was just another thing that got lost in the shuffle. So make a real note of it, not just a mental one. I’m a visual person anyway, so seeing what I need to do is helpful to me. Plus, you can check off your goals as you complete them which is always such a satisfying feeling.
When my closet organization goal is complete (May 1st is my birthday, what better gift to give myself than that?), I’ll take some pictures and share what I did. Until then, wish me luck!
How do you get ‘the bigger things’ done? Any tips to share?