Tapper Richards Interiors via Facebook
Tapper Richards Interiors via Facebook

Jennifer Richards is a Fairhaven native and local small business owner of Tapper Richards Interiors, specializing in Interior Design and Home Organizing. A functional, well-planned space spruced up with just enough decor and design can help the time spent in one's space be much more enjoyable. She can be reached at jennifer@tapperrichards.com and recent work can be seen on Instagram @tapper_richards_interiors. Virtual and remote design services available!

While you're self-isolating during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, now might seem like the perfect time to tackle an organizing project, but for this seasoned organizer, I can tell you that the overall mood of the world right now is making even the smallest task feel overwhelming.

I believe that embarking on a quest to organize your whole house right now might be a little ambitious and can even cause undue stress, but I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. I also believe that getting organized right now is one of the most worthwhile things you can do, but you MUST keep it simple. Here’s how.

Tapper Richards Interiors via Facebook
Tapper Richards Interiors via Facebook

Get motivated. I submit the prime reason for organizing in the first place - It just feels good. In the process, you might find something you’ve lost, you might even find money or gift cards. Spending time handling items you already own, gives you the sense of abundance (sometimes over-abundance), and security. Realize, you have everything you need, right now. You will achieve something, you will build momentum.

Organizing is home improvement and decorating in its most basic form. At the core of making any space more beautiful is how it functions.

To get started, you don't need anything fancy! No bins, no files, no label maker. Just trash bags and maybe a few boxes or old gift bags to facilitate the sorting process.

Go to the focused space, and stay put! Do not put things away as you find them. No “Floaty Dance” as I call it. If you come across something that belongs somewhere else, put it into a category that is for “Store Elsewhere.”

Take baby steps. This is an imperfect process, a journey of discovery. You don’t know what you might find. Just pick up one thing at a time and sort it into categories. Define each object with a verb; a defined action related to that item.

  • Donate
  • Trash
  • Recycle
  • Return
  • Store Elsewhere
  • Revisit / Unsure
  • Ask – maybe the item belongs to someone else in your house.

Set a timer. Work in 20-minute increments. We want to avoid overwhelm as much as possible. Getting organized in any capacity is a bit like running a marathon; you might have to train your way into it.

Negative Self-Talk is not allowed. Often, when I’m with a client or even organizing in my own space, I get about 10 minutes into the project, and I wonder why I haven’t done this sooner, how did I let it get so bad, why did I think I’d need this item again, etc. This is a rabbit hole to avoid. Organizing one’s home is a cycle. Stuff is always expiring.  Something you saved once before, might have since become obsolete. Forgive yourself and move on. Pick up the next thing and one decision at a time, you’ll get through it. 

In the end, you’ll have a series of Actionable Categories. Distribute your piles accordingly and tackle the next space. Good luck!

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