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3 Ways To Organize When Feeling Overwhelmed

ways to organize

Whether you have a personality that naturally loves organization or one that tends toward disorganization, you probably recognize that life works better when everything is in its place.

But, life doesn’t always allow that, does it? What happens when things are chaotic and out of your control? When you want to organize but just can’t because you’re overwhelmed by the chaos? Or when you recognize that, even as one who is usually okay with disorganization, you are getting to a point where you can’t handle it anymore?

Ways to Organize and Get Back on Top

Whether life has derailed your ability to stay organized or your tendency to disorganization has gotten out of hand, there are still simple ways to organize right here and now that will help out of the hole you’re in and get back on top of overall organization. Here are a few tips. 

Ways to Organize When Overwhelmed: Prioritize

What is the most disabling chaos in your life right now? Tackle that one thing and only that one thing. Focus and work on it until it’s done. If you are intentional, you can probably get back on top of it in a few days, even while keeping up with the rest of life. Then, practice regular, quick tidying habits throughout the day to stay on top of that one area. 

Determine to tackle one area each week. This gives you a defined amount of time to spend on it and allows you to take a cleaning break for a few days if you’re done with this job before the week is up. 

Yes, all of the rest of the disorganization will still be there. And if you focus on the big picture, you might continue to feel overwhelmed. But one of the best ways to organize in this moment is to tighten your focus away from the big picture and into one thing at a time. Then the next, then the next. You won’t get everything done in one fell swoop. So, prioritize what you can get done.

Ways to Organize When Overwhelmed: Start Small 

What if the priority you’re focusing on this week covers a huge area?  I hate to tell you, but if you’ve prioritized too broadly, you’ll only get more overwhelmed. So, as you prioritize, focus in even further. Find one small area or task to work on.

Keep a basket or storage bin on hand at all times. If you find something that belongs to another task or area, resist the temptation to take care of it immediately. Instead, drop it in the basket. You can either come back to it when you’re working in the relevant area or you can handle the things in the basket (probably relatively small compared to the rest of the jobs!) as a separate task after you’re done with the entirety of your focus. 

Also, take breaks between sections, allowing yourself to enjoy your progress. It doesn’t have to be done in one stretch, and you need to be able to recognize just how much you’ve accomplished!

If you can’t really focus in on one small area, then focus in by setting a time limit. Instead of setting aside a large block of time with breaks, keep going with normal life and set aside small 10-15 minute stretches throughout the day to tackle a task, fill a basket, or complete a single chore. Do one of these stretches in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. You’ll be amazed by how much this small focus helps you conquer each day!

Ways to Organize When Overwhelmed: Enlist Help

It’s likely that you’re not the only one bothered by the chaos. This is especially true if you are not a naturally organized person but other family members are.

If you can’t decide what to tackle first, ask for input. Either work together to tackle the job or, if need be, while you focus on one area, have other family members focus on other areas.

Remember that you probably didn’t create the chaos all on your own. So, enlist other family members to help eliminate the chaos they helped create. This is also a great opportunity to teach children of all ages ways to organize and re-establish order. 

Are you naturally organized or disorganized? Do you know how the rest of your personality fits with that inclination? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to find out! 

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.