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"I Only Have To Do This Once" the perfect decluttering mantra for when to going gets messy

Things get messy before they get organized

In organizing and decluttering (as in life) the going usually gets worse before it gets better. 

It may not be a very motivating statement - but in organizing and decluttering, it's a very true statement.

Especially if you're doing truly doing life changing decluttering, which is the kind of decluttering that I focus on.

In my work, I focus not just on changing my client's spaces, but also their lives. Don't get me wrong, we organize, we declutter, we toss, but we don't put things in neat little boxes - because things put in neat little boxes don't stay in neat little boxes. So together we look at how they use, and interact with, and live in their space. That way, we can come up with an organizational system that actually works.

Organizational systems that work don't come prepackaged

Organizational systems that work come about when you put in the work to find out what you need. How do you use your space? What do you need from your space? What possessions bring you joy? Which objects do you own that you don't love?

They're not quick, or simple, or easy to set up, but ultimately they have the potential to change your whole life.

And even better than that, once you have an organizational system that works for you, it's a snap to maintain. You don't have to worry about putting something back in the wrong place. Or finding somewhere to put something. It just works for you.

So, while it might take longer to find your system, and discard or replace non-joyous possessions, ultimately it takes less time away from your life because you only have to do it once.

You only have to do it once.

"I only have to do this once."
"I only have to do this once."
"I only have to do this once."

That thought makes the whole process far more palatable.

Ways you could use this mantra.

You could...

  • tape it to the fridge.
  • put it on a post-it note stuck in your planner or on your computer.
  • set it as a reminder on your phone.
  • write it on the bathroom mirror.
  • hang it to the door of your closet.
  • have your organizational cheerleader remind you of it.


The mess may get messy, and the task of organizing may seem impossible, and the cookie cutter solutions might seem awfully appealing.

But if you do it right. If you don't stop halfway through. If you lean into the (temporary) mess.

You only have to do this once.

Good luck!

If you're looking for more organizational and decluttering help, click here for another organizational article: How to get the support you need while you declutter.