Rarely do I work with clients who don’t have unfinished projects eating up space in their homes and offices. The question I’m often asked is, “If I have so many unfinished projects, does that mean I’m disorganized?” The simple answer is no. What makes a person “disorganized” in this situation is losing track of how many projects were started, or not being able to manage all of them. What can complicate this further is that the projects are often spread out all over the place, rather than in one area.
An important step to getting projects organized is to make sure it is logical for you to complete all of them. For each project, you should ask yourself: If this project is really worth doing, why haven’t I completed it by now? If you come up with a reasonable explanation, then you most likely will want to hold on to materials for the project. If you have lost interest in it (or you won’t realistically have time to work on it in the near or distant future), you should consider letting that one go. Once you part with projects that merely take up physical space in your home, you will be able to let go of any guilt about not finishing them. Unused materials can always be donated or given away to people who will put them to use.
Now that you are left with projects you intend to complete, you can store them in a way that they are easily accessible. Find an area such as a cupboard or closet that has plenty of vertical space in which containers or storage boxes can be stacked neatly inside. My preferred system is storing projects in a set of streamlined containers or boxes like these. This will likely involve setting up or reorganizing a storage area to accommodate your collection of projects. If you use clear storage bins, you can visually identify each project and assess how much more needs to be done to complete it.
Once your projects are contained, you can sort them in many different ways. One method is to organize them in rows based on their category. They can be divided into categories such as: crafts, hobbies, repairs, scrapbooks or photos, etc. Another approach is to place them in order of priority. The ones that are most important (or perhaps the ones that are almost completed) can be placed toward the front. Those that are less of a priority can be stored in the back.
If you want to take your organization to the next level, you can create a to-do list for all of the unfinished projects. Order them from the first one you plan to work on all the way to the last. Also, give yourself start dates or deadlines for each project so they don’t get forgotten about and lost for decades. However you organize your unfinished project area, having easy access to them and a plan to finish them will definitely make help you accept the fact that they are works in progress (rather than abandoned projects).
Unfinished projects can be a great burden if you view them as disorganized clutter. Once you store them in a streamlined way and you create a plan to rotate them out as you complete them, you will feel more organized and have peace of mind.