Do you know what can give you the feeling of freedom immediately? Organization. That stack of papers you haven’t touched in a year? Are they helping or hindering you?
Studies have found that organization can reduce stress, increase happiness, and even help with better sleeping habits. I have tried many different ways of organizing over the years. You wouldn’t believe it if you knew me as a teenager – my clothes were often strewn across the room and my bathroom was a place where flat irons and hairdryers lived on the counter most of the time. Fortunately, I grew out of that phase and now rock-it-out in the organization department.
Because organizing makes people feel really good, I’m sharing a few hacks that I’ve come up with that are easy to do, especially when you do them consistently.
Embrace Your Calendar
Give yourself the gift of accountability by visibly recording what you need to do, where, and when on a calendar. This can be done digitally or on paper. Successful and eccentric entrepreneur, Jesse Itzler, often jokes about the giant paper calendar he takes with him wherever he goes. He’s found that seeing what he needs to do visually helps him stay on track.
Scheduling things like self-care, workouts at the gym, and meal-prep helps if you need a little extra motivation to get them done. By putting things on your calendar, you’re relieving your brain from having to remember what you need to do.
Your calendar can give you insight into your priorities as well. When you can visually see how you’re spending your time, you get a better picture of where you’re dedicating your time the most. For example, if spending time with family is a top priority, check out your calendar and see if the time you’ve scheduled lines up with that priority. If it doesn’t, shift your scheduling habits.
Make It Easy To Find What You Need
How much time do you spend looking for your keys in the morning? How about your phone? On average, Americans spend 6 minutes looking for their keys. An easy way to solve this is to establish common places for things you use frequently. Best case scenario is to have them where you can easily access them.
For many years I had a clunky filing cabinet and just seeing it stressed me out. I hid it in a closet! I would collect my papers and do a big filing day after a few weeks. A few years ago I created physical binders for paperwork. These binders are much easier to access. Each binder has a theme; there’s a binder for our cars, one for the house, etc. Over time, I’ve become very selective on what paperwork I hold onto. If I can access it online easily, I don’t keep it. Another option is to scan or snap photos of paperwork and save it to a Google Drive for easy access from anywhere. Check out this link for ratings on the best mobile scanners.
I store things like cotton balls, spare Q-tips, spare contacts, and first aid supplies in easily accessible baskets like these. I go through these baskets as they fill up to throw out things we haven’t used or that have expired.
The time I save by organizing this way is priceless. My husband and I know where to go to find what we need because where we store things is predictable and consistent. The time and mind space we save goes into things we enjoy much more – like traveling, enjoying our yard, and spending time with people we care about.
Clean As You Go
If you see dirt on your floor, do you leave it for the time you’re going to clean next or do you grab an easily accessible broom and clean it now? Sometimes, it has to wait because you’re exhausted and all you want to do is sit down and rest. However, the more frequently you’re able to clean as you go, the less time you’ll spend cleaning.
My least favorite place to clean is the bathroom. Because of this, I stock each bathroom with easily accessible cleaning supplies. I also use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for a simple and easy way to clean countertops, sinks, and showers.
If you have roommates, a spouse, or kids, staying organized works best when you can work together to keep things tidy. Having individual bins for random things that collect by the door or in the kitchen works well.
I’m grateful to have a husband who wants to be part of keeping our house organized. This is what has worked best for us: establishing places for things and communicating about where they are, having a consistent schedule for laundry, and sharing chores – when he cooks, I do the dishes and vice versa.
Keep Your Word With Yourself
The more you’re able to keep your word with yourself by following through on what you commit to, the better you’ll feel. Keeping your word with yourself helps boost confidence and self-esteem. When you take the initiative to adapt better habits for staying organized and then don’t follow-through, you’ll most likely end up back where you started – in chaos and clutter.
To help with this, decide what the result is that will keep you on track. Is it an incentive? For example, if you keep with organizational habits for one month, you’ll get together with friends. Or maybe it’s enjoying your favorite outdoor spot where you live. Giving yourself something to look forward to will help you recognize the progress you’re making.
If you’d like to add back some freedom, mind space, and time in your life, pick up these few simple organizational habits and run with them. You may find doing them gives you new ideas that will work even better for you and the lifestyle you’re creating.