I definitely have a thing for organization. I’ll spend a few hours on Pinterest ogling pictures of perfectly organized closets and beautiful planners. Don’t let me fool you though, my home is not perfectly organized and my days are often a jumble of a confusing mess. I’m human and things pile up. But I do my best to stay as organized as I can, and not just because it’s satisfying to have things streamlined.
It makes life easier and less stressful.
When my environment in tidy, I feel like I can relax in it. When my day is planned, I feel like I can tackle it. When my tasks are all organized, I feel like I can actually accomplish them. Organization goes beyond stacks of plastic containers, it’s about keeping things tidy and neat so that you have the mental and physical space to enjoy life.
Staying organized is really not that difficult once you develop some good habits and start planning. Here’s how:
- Reduce the clutter. The more stuff you have, the harder it can be to keep track of everything and stay organized. Reducing unnecessary clutter and the amount of stuff that you have will leave you with much more space to store things as well as make it easier to keep things organized. This tip also goes to organizing your day. Try to avoid jam-packing your day with to-do’s, events, and tasks. Having the time to set a slower pace will help to organize your time because you won’t be feeling rushed and confused.
- Group items together in a way that makes sense to you. There are a million ways to groups items, ideas, events, etc. But no matter what you are organizing, it will only be successful if it makes sense to you. There are ways that I organize things that make little sense to my husband, and vice versa. So when you have something that needs some streamlining, first figure out what fits you and your life best. Perhaps that’s putting all of your books in one spot. Or maybe you find you’d like to organize your books by type; putting reference books in an office, art books with your art supplies, and reading books in the bedroom.
- Streamline. If you are organizing a particular place, having similar containers can make it so much easier to keep things tidy. Similar containers are visually appealing and help to keep your brain from overloading at seeing what appears to be clutter. Streamlining also applies to other areas of organization. Choose one planner or binder or method and stick to it. Jumping around to too many organization methods will just be too confusing and leave you feeling disorganized.
- Plan ahead. Knowing a general idea of what to expect helps tremendously in tidying up your life. Plan ahead on things like meals, clothing options, activities, and even chores. You may not stick to the plan perfectly, but it’s incredibly helpful to use a plan to get an idea of things that need to get done and things you would like to get done. With things all laid out for you, you’ll be feeling organized in no time.
- Choose visual planners. For us, this means a bullet journal, a calendar, and a whiteboard on the fridge for a list of meals. A bullet journal is a fantastic choice for organization because it can be so personalized and organize pretty much your entire life. I highly recommend googling “bullet journal” for examples and how-to’s. But choose planners and calendars that work for you and your life. For my husband, it’s the calendar on his phone (along with alarms and reminders). But having the visual or at least a way to remind you of what needs to be done is a sure step in staying organized.
- Create a daily or weekly rhythm. Having a general rhythm to weeks and/or days weaves predictability into your time. And when you have predictable days, it becomes second nature, leaving brain space for other things to keep track of. For example, perhaps every Tuesday you do yoga and Thursday you go for a run. This is part of a weekly rhythm. Or, if you are a mom, nap time/quiet time always falls after lunch. This is an example of a piece of daily rhythm.
- Leave yourself free time. Don’t expect things to go as planned. Leave yourself some extra time to get to an appointment on time. Or a few extra minutes to fully clean up after preparing a meal. This is super helpful in reducing mental clutter because it gives you the time to take a breath and catch up.
- Do things the night before. How many times have we all tossed and turned all night because of the massive to-do list the next day? Avoid this by getting ready as many things as you can the night before. Lay out your outfit, make lunches, put away clutter, wash the dishes, etc. You will sleep better and your busy day will be nice and smooth (hopefully!).
- Focus on one thing at a time. I am so guilty of not doing this. Sometimes I try to declutter a room while cooking dinner and loading the dishwasher all at the same time. This just leaves me feeling frazzled and everything seems to either get only halfway done or with half the effort. Focusing on one thing at a time helps to slow your pace, focus your mind, and ensure that you aren’t burning dinner for the sake of an organized toy box.
- Stay on top of it. This is the most important tip to staying organized. It’s easy to take a day or two to organize items and lists, but it takes effort and patience to keep it that way. But keeping up with things as they happen really only takes minutes and it saves you the stress and headache of dealing with it later. So take the few extra seconds to put something away properly when you are done using it. Or take a moment to sit and plan out a few days worth of meals before heading to the store. Trust me, it’s worth the effort.