4. Break it down.
Identify smaller tasks within the larger project that you can accomplish in a few hours. For instance, putting DVDs back in their cases could be one task, while organizing them could be the next day's. Trying to finish everything in one sitting can leave you feeling defeated―so can working for several hours and quitting without completing a job.
5. Enlist a friend.
"Whether you're shedding or organizing, it's physically demanding," says Morgenstern. "You have to bend, reach and move. Then there's the mental labor, evaluating what to keep, figuring out where things will fit." A helper can lend a hand with the heavy lifting and also will be more objective in the sorting process. Plus, the time will fly by―and the task will be more enjoyable―if you can share memories with a friend.
6. Plan for maintenance.
It's important to get into the habit of putting your possessions back in their new homes. Decide in advance whether you're going to tidy up before you leave the room or before you go to bed at night. "I like to think of it as setting things up for their next use," Morgenstern says. "The next time I'm looking for my stapler, it will feel so good to find it where it belongs. It's like a little gift to yourself, and it's very motivating." Whenever you're tempted to leave a mess until the next day, remind yourself of all the time and effort you spent getting the room in shape.