It took me a long time to get not only myself but our home organized, and now that it is, it’s undoubtedly easier to find anything without wasting time digging through piles of paperwork or the abyss of the hall closet. I can assure you, that now that we’ve simplified and organized, there will be no going back to being disorganized.
I wasn’t always a neat person, it took a lot of conscious effort and practice to get organized and funny enough, staying organized has actually been the tough part but trust me when I tell you, it’s well worth it!
Before, my work life was organized and my desk was always tidy, but my personal space was lacking any form of order and the piles in my closet or the many “catch-all” areas proved it. My closet was overflowing with clothes I never wore and at one time, we even had a extra guest bedroom in the basement we filled with stuff, even though we had a dedicated storage room already. When we had friends or family over, I would shove those piles into cupboards or closets I know no one would look into and tell myself I’d organize it all later. Well, later never actually happened until one day…
We were seriously outgrowing our little starter home and my husband and I were both aware that at some point in the near future, we would need to move to have more space for our three kids. The thought of showing and selling our house was finally the kick in the pants I needed to declutter and organize, so I scheduled a trash removal company to come to our house in two weeks and haul away all our junk. In those two weeks we got rid of the junk, the paper piles, clothes, furniture, items we had in storage and long forgotten about and the extra we didn’t need but somehow had accumulated. We went through each and every room, closet and drawer in the house to master purge and when that trash removal company came to haul our junk away, it was full to the top but our house was clutter free and on its way to being organized and life simplified.
Once I organized our home, I was also on a mission to organize my life better too! Here’s how you can get yourself and your home organized:
ELIMINATE THE UNNECESSARY
If you want to get organized, the first place to start is to eliminate the unnecessary. Having too many possessions will only contribute to your disorganization – I guarantee you will never be fully organized with too much stuff – but it also makes you more stressed and less happy in your life and takes away from the love you should have for your home!
Set a deadline for yourself – one week, two weeks, even the end of the month – to completely declutter your entire house. Go room to room, tackle every closet, every drawer, every pile and rid yourself of excess! Unless you absolutely need it, use it regularly or deeply love it, it has to go.
You will never get organized if you have too much stuff!
DECLUTTER REGULARLY & DETACH SENTIMENTAL VALUE
Organized people will regularly declutter piles and items that they don’t need. After the summer, take a moment to go through your summer clothes and look at what items you’ll save for next year and which to give away. Do this for each season, but make sure you’re also going through closets, drawers and storage.
One of the main reasons that people accumulate material objects is because they feel attached to them regardless if they actually love the item. You may be holding onto a piece of artwork because it was in your parent’s house but you would never hang it in your own because it’s not your style. What purpose does hanging onto artwork if you don’t love it, serve? Do you feel guilty because someone bought you an expensive pursue but you don’t like it, but don’t dare part with it because the price tag?
Stop holding onto things that you don’t LOVE. Like the Kon Mari method states, thank the items that have served a purpose in your life and then let them go. Only hold onto things that bring you joy.
They say to build a habit, it takes two weeks of consistently + repeatedly doing something in order for the new habit to stick. This is where building a routine is crucial to your organization success, because this step in the hardest and most important.
Organized people create a routine to their days, nights and weekends. Whether they wake up 30 minutes before their families, read the newspaper every morning or workout at the same time after work, routine provides stability and organization to each day.
Nothing is more effective at helping me organize and keep our family in working order, than by using lists and calendars for our home, work and my own personal goals. Lists can go one step further if you have trouble remembering people’s names and titles, birthdates and other important information you don’t want to forget. Sometimes the little details can be the most important ones and you don’t want to forget them!
Having a to-do list is a great tool for staying organized and keeping tasks straight, but being able to set deadlines for projects and tasks helps you actually follow through and complete the task. Being able to check items off your to-do list creates a nice feeling of accomplishment.
DON’T PUT THINGS OFF
Organized people don’t save things for later. They don’t put things off. They act quickly when something needs to be done.
When you walk in the house with a bag full of groceries, do you put the items away or let them go bad sitting on the counter all day? You put them away, right away.
This rule can apply to your personal and professional life. When you get home from taking the kids to the pool or from a workout at the gym, don’t just drop the swim or gym bag on the ground. Take a moment to throw wet towels or dirty gym clothes in the washing machine and store the bags where they go.
In your professional life, organized and highly productive individuals will always tackle the big project first. What is the biggest, hardest or most pressing item that’s on your to-do list? It’s time to stop procrastinating and eat that frog. I guarantee that the sense of accomplishment (and probably relief) you get from finishing this one item will be much larger than all of the small items combined.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
CLEAN AS YOU GO
Instead of waiting for the mess to accumulate or the dishes to flow over the sink, clean as you go and stay ahead of the mountain of work. Organized people have systems in place – also part of their routine – to stay ahead of piles of work like laundry and dishes so that there is always a method to tackling the mess and chaos.
Need a cleaning schedule to get you organized? This one is great!
What about super simple tips on how to have an organized house?
There are those parents who meet you at the park with their kids carrying pre-made lunches, sunscreen, hats, sandbox toys, changes of clothes and a huge picnic blanket while you’re lucky you were able to fully dress your kids, throw the stroller in the car and meet them on time. You don’t have snacks or sunscreen or even water!
Preparation, whether in your personal or professional life is the key to being organized and successful. The night before a big presentation or fun day with your family, make the time to prepare so the next day runs smoothly and as you hope.
Filing systems are the best way to control your email and the papers in your house.
For example, when papers of any kind come in our house, we have four small clear labeled bins in a cabinet that I sort and file. I empty out the bins once a quarter and mass file into large filing cabinets we have in our basement. The bins are labeled; Kid’s Artwork, Taxes, House to File and Financial Documents.
I also have a filing system for my work and personal emails where I create appropriately labeled folders and sub-folders to file away important emails. I may create files per client, per job, house, dogs, kids, vacation, finances, personal, etc.
No one person can do everything, and organized people (and good leaders) especially know this, which is why they’re more likely to ask for help and delegate tasks. Organized people are great at organizing tasks and people, just like they organize their home and personal lives. They delegate an appropriate number of tasks based on the skill level of the person they’re delegating to, and afterwards show their appreciation for those that help them out.
THEY KNOW WHEN & HOW TO MULTITASK
Highly organized and productive people know the difference between bad multitasking (i.e., being distracted) and good multitasking and save the distracted for later.
If you’re going to work more efficiently, you have to stop the juggling act. You cannot and will not use your mental energy wisely if your brain is trying to handle several acts at once. Stanford University conducted research that concluded – multitasking is far less productive than doing a single thing at one time. They found that when you’re inundated with multiple streams of electronic information you cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as an individual who is set on completely one task at a time.
Can you safely drive your car while talking on the phone, listening to the radio and passing food to your kids in the backseat? Absolutely not.
What else do you do that helps you stay organized? Any tips you can share?
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