Ten tips for getting and staying organized

If you struggle to stay organized, you may find the tips below useful to get you on your way to an organized life!

1. Start small

If you aren’t used to staying organized, or if you feel your life or home are out of control, start with small steps. Focus on one room, closet, or activity at a time. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get everything done in one day. Set a target for yourself that fits in with your schedule, allowing small steps to lead towards achieving your goal.

2. Make it a habit

The best way to stay organized is to make it part of what you do every day. Spend just a few minutes each day on little things: do a load of laundry while you cook dinner, clean the dishes before you go to bed, pick up your living space each night, put clothes back in their place or in the laundry bin, take your trash with you when you leave your car, put junk mail into the recycling bin when you bring the mail in each day, put your morning newspaper in the recycling bin after you’ve read it, or take the trash out when you leave the house. These actions can take anywhere from 30 seconds to just a few minutes, and you will notice the difference in the way you feel (more organized) and the way your home looks.

3. Deal with it now

Dealing with laundry, mud tracked in on the floor, mail, dishes, paying bills, cleaning, and taking out the trash are not necessarily fun activities, but we all have to do them at some point. Rather than leave a task for later, deal with it now! Typically it will take you only a few minutes to do whatever it is you’d rather not – then you can go about your day without carrying that little nagging feeling every time you see the stack of bills or grass that needs mowing. It’s not always fun to deal with things when they arise, but putting it off until later won’t be fun either.

4. Get rid of clutter

Clutter can make you feel like you are unorganized. It only takes a few moments to look around a room or your desk to see the things you don’t use or appreciate often enough to keep out. You may need to go through a stack of papers, create an organized stack of mail, remove extra pillows from the couch, or put things away in a drawer or filing cabinet. The kitchen counter is often cluttered with oils, pans, soap dispensers, utensils, mixers, etc. You’d be amazed at how nice your kitchen can feel when you move most of this stuff to a cupboard or drawer. A work desk can feel so much better and more organized by simply moving papers and reports to inbox trays or filing cabinets, clearing the desk space to actually use as a work space.

5. Create a place for everything

It will be much easier to stay organized if you create a space and place for everything. You will then be able to put things away easily and it will take less time. If you find you don’t have enough space, maybe you can go through what you have and get rid of what you don’t need or use. Or maybe you need a few more boxes or bins to store things efficiently. Once you use something, you can then put it back where it goes soon after.

6. Creative storage solutions

Marketing ads try to convince us that we need high end organizing systems, trays, bins, boxes with colorful lids to store our stuff. While some may prefer these options, and storage doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. What about using old jars to store nails, tacks, pens, or any other small items? If you like making things, why not get some wood to create shelves in the closet or garage? Shoe boxes are typically thrown out (or hopefully recycled) and they actually make great storage for papers, toiletries, or even old receipts.

7. Weekly reminders

Our lives are getting increasingly complicated, making even the smallest activity or chore hard to remember. Try setting weekly reminders of the things you typically forget. The act of writing the reminder down may actually help you remember without you even needing the list. There are a variety of ways to do this, from paper lists to putting a white board on the kitchen wall, or creating reminders in your calendar or personal organizer. One nice idea is to keep a list of grocery items needed on the frig – every time you run out of something such as milk, you simply write the item on the paper and take the paper with you when you head to the store.

8. Organize highly trafficked areas of the home

Every home has its areas of high traffic or use; stairways, hallways, and entryways all fit the bill. When we enter our homes we usually have things in our hands, such as keys, a purse or wallet, bags of stuff, books, mail, etc. We then tend to designate an area where we drop these things (kitchen tables, countertops, or any nearby shelf). These areas of frequent use tend to be the dumping ground and are often unorganized. Keeping them clean and creating a place to put things such as keys can help your home feel less cluttered. You can use hooks for jackets, purses, and keys, and trays or baskets for mail.

9. Keep a personal organizer

Keeping too many details in your head can make you feel like you are always forgetting something. A personal organizer will allow you to keep track of important dates (like birthdays), appointments, sports schedules, phone numbers, and more. If you get into the habit of checking your calendar each day, you will be reminded of important information and feel confident you aren’t forgetting something. As mentioned previously, you can keep lists here as well.

10. Organize personal bills and documents

Bills, mail, receipts and personal documents are hard to keep track of and can end up sitting in stacks around the house or in your office. It is a good idea to spend the time once to create an organizing system that will work for you to organize this paperwork. Once you do, it will be easy to file, sort and deal with mail, bills, and other documents each week in much less time.


2 Responses to “Ten tips for getting and staying organized”

  1. lonnie says:

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