Apartment Therapy | 7 Secrets To Getting Anything Done Around The House | May 25, 2014

Apartment Therapy May 25 2014 Lori Dennis Celebrity Interior Designer

Apartment Therapy May 25 2014 Lori Dennis Celebrity Interior Designer

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Staff | May 25, 2014

Great at starting projects (or thinking about things you’d like to do) but not so great at finishing and following through? From DIY projects to organizing the closet to decluttering, these are seven secrets to getting anything done around the house — one (or all) might help you finally finish (or start) that home project or task.

1. Identify exactly what it is
This might sound a little too simple, but when you’ve got so many things swirling around in your head — from work stuff to family stuff to trying to remember to pick up almond milk on the way home — it can help to quite clearly identify what it is you actually want to get done. Don’t have a sort of vague “make the closet look nicer” idea; tell yourself you want to organize your closet, completely making sure everything has its own place. It’s the same with setting intentions; get specific.

2. Break it down into its absolute smallest parts
Don’t just write “organize pantry” on your to-do-list and expect to get that done. You’ve got to narrow it down into all the tiny actions that are required to complete the task. And I mean tiny. From buying the necessary organization tools, to throwing away old or expired items to dividing the space to adding labels, give each task its own line on a to-do-list. Then, put it in the order that it has to be done, making a special note for things that have to happen before you can begin (like gathering tools or supplies). This will make sure that you don’t keep putting off your project because you forget you’ve got to grab some supplies before you can actually start it.

3. Prioritize and do less
After you break a project or task down to its absolute smallest parts, now’s a great time to really consider what actually needs to be done, and to choose the priorities. Decide what needs to be done and start on the vital tasks, first. But also consider not doing as much stuff. Do you really need to polish all your shoes before you organize them? It’s admirable to want to try, but not at the risk of not doing any of it because you get burnt out.

4. Post it
I’m a big fan of large white boards scribbled with goals on it. It’s hard to run from the truth when it’s staring you in the face. This can be especially nice if the thing you want to do has a lot of tasks that need to be completed to finish it. It can just be on a sheet of paper, but the point is to get it out of your head and in front of your eyes so your brain can wrap itself around the project at hand.

5. Set a real day and time for it
Don’t just set a goal and then not set a deadline — it may continue to stay undone for awhile. Find a day and time you can dedicate to tackling the project. And then keep the appointment as if it were a work appointment (or perhaps, like it were a spa appointment). And the best time to actually schedule getting started? Right now! (Starting ASAP prevents procrastination.)

6. Chip away at it regularly
If this isn’t the sort of project that can be tackled in one afternoon or weekend, make sure it gets done (and doesn’t end up in half-way finished land) by chipping away at it regularly. Set a weekly appointment to work on it, tiny task-by-tiny-task, until it’s finally completed. Use an app or an alarm on your phone to keep you on track.

7. Talk yourself into — and through — it
Don’t doubt the power of persuasion — especially when it comes from you! Talk yourself into the project by visualizing how great it will feel to finish. Talk yourself through it by countering all your excuses about giving up like you would if it were a friend saying these things aloud. Be your own annoyingly optimistic cheerleader.

Leading Los Angeles Interior Designer and television celebrity, Lori Dennis, is featured in Apartment Therapy’s story about the best walk in closets.  The wardrobe shared has unique elements like wallpaper on the ceiling and white lacquer organization systems for drawers and closet storage and shoe storage