During the course of the 2nd Annual Get Organized Community Challenge® more than 16,500 women worked not just on their closets and cupboards, but also on their attitudes toward organizing, clutter and chaos. After all, it's one thing to have a major closet purging, but quite another to really think about why you can't part with those clothes you haven't worn in 14 years. A one-time purge lasts about a month. An examination of your attachment to stuff is the beginning of a journey that can last a lifetime.
Below are a handful of the many revelations and supportive moments that happened in the Get Organized message board during the official challenge. May they be an inspiration to you the next time you feel bogged down by stuff.
"I was so afraid of failure, that I didn't even sign the agreement at the beginning of the challenge. But I have stuck with it anyway, and I am inspired by the small changes to make larger ones. (Yesterday, I kept opening the door to my bathroom closet - just to look!)"
"I got jumpstarted on this challenge and cleaning my closets by finally buying my new bedroom suite. That's a kind of big reward to incorporate, but I'm finding little rewards are cropping up too. Like claiming a shelf on my desk for framed family photos, instead of piles of stuff. The good and beautiful replaces the clutter...and the clutter goes where it belongs."
-- iVillager ancarett
"This challenge has changed my perspective. Instead of 'I should', it is now, 'I want to clean the sock drawer'. I'm doing this for me. I'm still so pleased with my medicine chest and I did that last week. I am moving forward, slowly, but forward. Baby steps, like a baby I may fall down, but I get back up and try it again. It may not show in my house yet, but it does show in my mind and in my heart."
-- iVillager piquant1
"Take baby steps. I notice when I thought of tackling a big thing I felt overwhelmed. Just do what you can when you can and little by little you will want to do more and more and more and before you know if you will be organized."
"The journaling exercises were a big A-HA. I have not followed the challenge to the letter, but rather as a guide. My closets are not yet done and I know the reason why -- which allows me the freedom to cut myself some slack. I learned why I do the things I do and it is helping me. I've been learning more about the emotional side of issues like this and have found that many times a stressful situation sparks an undesirable reaction in us. When the stressful situation goes away or changes the bad habits usually remain and now we do them for a different reason."
-- iVillager toylady31994
"Try not to look at the entire house at once. Of course you'll get overwhelmed if you look at the entire house as one big area to clean. Maybe you can commit yourself to doing one drawer or cabinet or shelf a day. In one of my earlier attempts to get organized I decided to tackle my junk drawer in the kitchen. I pulled out the whole drawer and went through it one evening while I was watching TV. You'll be amazed how quickly one drawer or cabinet can go."
-- iVillager fire_bug
"This challenge isn't about a race to see if we can be completely organized in five weeks. It's about process and progress. For us here, we drop and run, drop and run, constantly saying 'I'll put that away later.' It was a pattern. I'm nowhere near where I want to be in this challenge. I had sick kids for the first 3-1/2 weeks of this challenge. My environment here at home is neater, not perfect -- no closets done, or bathrooms tackled. But now we're putting some stuff away instead of just leaving it until later, when we have time. My point? You have to decide what you want. 'If change is what you want, something has to change.' Our habits I'd say are the first to tackle. Now I make piles for things going to another room, that helps me out. (Seems everyone leaves their stuff in the kitchen, the hallway, the foyer...!) You might try this clean up as you go even if you can't get to the deep stuff."
"For me, it's all about facing fears, particularly fear of my own incompetence. Tonight I had all of my books out of the bookcase (eight long shelves) where I'd stacked them after moving into this place. And I thought, 'Oh, help, I'll never get this done.' But I did. I love the results, but I love even more the way I feel about myself when I succeed."
-- iVillager lucybelinda
"I think the idea of getting organized is to get a handle on our lives and enjoy some peace. I know that I smile when I see a few square feet I have managed to clean out or open a drawer and see what is in it. I am anticipating the day when all is at the maintenance level and I can sit down and read or knit with no guilt. To me, that will be all the pleasure I can handle."
-- iVillager marielizab
"If you haven't started organizing your closet, oh well. You have read these posts and thought about why you do the things you do and do they need to change. That's where the journey starts and it's a journey that lasts forever. Every person here has a different kind of life. I read the posts from young mothers trying to work cleaning a closet in between work and babies and husbands and my mind boggles at how you guys do it. I think if you just envision the way you want to live and just try to do one little positive thing towards that way, eventually you will get there. I truly believe this challenge has been a big help to point us in the right direction."
-- iVillager mamoo88074
To get and share organzing advice and camaraderie, visit the Getting Organized Support Group message board.