This article was last updated on March 14, 2022
When it comes to getting organized, some of us just aren’t great at it. We put men on the moon, we created artificial body parts, we’re making sustainable solutions for our planet – we just can’t put things in their place.
Cultivating organizational skills takes more than picking up a room, though. Organization comes through a process of learning healthy habits. So, what are some habits that you can use to kick start your path to an organized life? Here’s 10 essentials:
10 Incredibly Smart Ideas to Get Your Life Organized
1. Write It Down
Ever have the coolest idea in the world and promise yourself that you’ll remember it later? You never do – ever. If you could view a list of all the ideas and reminders you’ve forgotten over the course of your life, you’d probably facepalm yourself over and over. The suffering doesn’t have to continue. Write it down.
It doesn’t matter where or how, but good old pen and paper never fails. Buy yourself a notebook, a planner or some sticky notes. If you’re tech-savvy and try to avoid paper entirely, use your built-in memo app or an app made for situations like this, such as Evernote.
2. Lists Are Your Friend
They’re not just good for writing down milk, butter and eggs. Lists can be used to help you figure out what you actually need. That way, you can avoid enticing bargains at the grocery store and focus on what you actually came for.
3. Do It Now
It may feel better to put off a task in the moment, but you’ll regret it later. You’ll be sitting at your desk screaming internally because you have to complete a 10-page essay by tomorrow morning. Before you know it, throwing one piece of dirty clothing on the floor creates a Mt. Everest of laundry.
Reduce the demands and stress of task by just doing them immediately. If something needs to be put away, find a place for it. You may not have to start that essay today, but at least hack away at it before the deadline.
4. Keep Only the Essentials
When you have a lot of clutter in your life, simple tasks become unnerving. Picking an outfit becomes a cumbersome, time-consuming task. Looking for that power tool is like searching for the needle in the haystack. Some people even go as far as to buy a storage unit or a larger house. That’s just unnecessary work and money-spending!
There’s a simple fix for this, and it’s to keep only what you absolutely need. If you haven’t used something in the last year, it’s time to let it go. Know where to send off your unused possessions, whether it’s online – sites such as Craigslist or eBay – or in person, such as thrift store donation centers.
5. Make It a Team Effort
If you have siblings, a spouse or kids, you can create a list of responsibilities for each person. They may not enjoy it, but you’re the boss, and everyone must contribute to a clean and happy home. Maybe you can throw in a little incentive, such as candy for the kids or a cozy evening with your loved one.
6. Stick to a Schedule
If you’re organized, time is precious to you. Every second counts, and there shouldn’t be a minute to waste – unless you actually want time to lounge around. Organization equals productivity. So how can you keep an actively scheduled life?
Lay out a calendar where you can make schedules for your days and weeks. You’d be surprised at home much easier something like planning your commute time can make your life. Make sure you mark clear deadlines where assignments are due or bills must be paid. Along with this planning, sprinkle some personal goals into the mix. Be sure you stick to them.
Speaking of calendars, don’t forget about this next tip …
7. Use One Calendar
One. Use one and only one! Using multiple calendars only creates clutter, which is what you’ve been fighting all along. You don’t need the extra shuffling between calendars to try and find the date you’re looking for.
It’s easy to create new memos by hand, on your phone or on your computer. However, when it comes to planning, whatever platform is most comfortable to you is the one you should use.
8. Make Time for Cleaning
Even the most organized people will make messes eventually. A counter will fill up with papers, a hamper will fill up with clothes, a side table will hold too many books.
In order to remain highly organized, it’s essential that you make time to clean. Do you have a few hours to relax at home after work? Do you realize you have some down time on the weekends? Use this free time to reorganize and save yourself the stress.
9. Have a Place for Everything
Many jobs that involve a heavy eye for detail involve heavy organization as well. Chefs keep their food, utensils, pots and pans in their place so they can pay attention to the food. Mechanics have drawers for all their wrenches and a place for their important tools. You can follow in their footsteps by having a place for all of your things.
Make a home for your belongings by grouping them together. Then, create storage spaces for them, whether it’s a bin, shelf, drawer or cabinet. Never label something miscellaneous. That’s basically like summoning a personal black hole – when you throw things into it, they never come out.
10. Donate One Thing Before Buying Another
It will double your happiness – you’ll get rid of something you don’t need and replace it with something you want. If you make transactions like this, your space won’t get cluttered up as quickly.
Once you put these tips into practice, staying organized will feel like second nature. How neat.
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