Getting organized and staying organized can feel like an uphill battle. We all live busy and often chaotic lives that move a million miles an hour in a million different ways. It’s not easy to keep your home — and your life — organized sometimes…but it can be.
Try these 10 simple habits and get more organized the simple way.
1. Finish A Task Before Moving On
This one might be a difficult task for the creatives out there, but it’s one of the most important habits that can keep your organized. Jumping from task to task leaves you and your home scattered and organized. Jumping from task to task or project to project will leave you stressed out and your home looking like a tornado just hit it. Instead of moving on to the next best thing, try finishing each task before moving on to the next. Make a mess while baking? Clean it up now. Desk cluttered from your daily work? Organize it now, not later.
2. Maintain a Detailed Calendar or Planner
Get used to putting all those little dates, important and unimportant, in a detailed calendar or planner. Mark in plans throughout the day, as well as a making a note of the things you accomplish throughout the day. You’d be surprised how helpful it can be, and how well it can help you compartmentalize the hundreds of must-do items that occur throughout the day.
If you’ve got a busy family, consider using and sharing a digital calendar that can be shared with the other family members. Assign each family member their own color, and you will create a quickly accessible, easily viewable schedule that streamlines your family’s activities and helps you keep up with one another.
3. Sleep…It’s Important
This probably isn’t something that you would see on many organizing lists, but it’s one of the most important habits that can help you stay organized. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you aren’t going to have the energy, stamina or desire to keep up your organizing routines. Try going to sleep just a minutes earlier each night. Those few extra minutes of sleep will help you to wake up feeling more energized and ready to tackle the day!
4. Remember the Golden Rule: One In, One Out
This is the golden rule of organization. If you bring something new into your house, make room for it by getting rid of something old. It doesn’t have to be the same kind of item (though do you really need 2 of that Brookstone foot massager?) but it should be something similar in nature or something that takes up a similar amount of space.
If you don’t practice this rule, you will quickly find yourself running out of storage space, or discover your garage filling up, once again, with all that bric-a-brac you never seem to use.
5. Wait Time is a Great Time!
All those minutes we spend waiting throughout the day are a great time to keep ourselves organized. I’m not just talking those hours in the doctor’s office. I’m talking the five minutes spent in front of the microwave or those few quiet moments just before the dryer goes off.
Take those few minutes to do something organizational. Pull out your phone and clear out your email box. Pull out that calendar and make a last minute check of your schedule for the days or week ahead. You’d be surprised what you either remember to do during these moments, or what you get done while you wait for that panini to heat up!
6. A Clean Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen
The best time to clean your kitchen is just before you go to bed at night. Make sure you get those dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher. Make sure all the random odds and ends that made their way onto the counter during dinner are put back in their rightful places. Keeping your kitchen clean will not only help you go to bed more settled and at ease, but waking up to a sparkling, shining kitchen is also a major motivator to stay organized!
7. Don’t Forget To Make The Bed
They say that common sense is the best sense and that goes doubly for making the bed. It might not seem like a habit that can help keep you organized, but it’s actually a great way to put you in an organizing mindset for the day. Making the bed will give you a positive start to the day and will also help keep your bedroom looking amazing (and who doesn’t love that?!).
8. Keep That Inbox At 0
No one really likes dealing with email, but that bright red little notification bubble and those endless alerts can really bog you down. Set up your own system of email management and stick to it. Collect emails immediately as they come in and and tag and archive emails in a way that works for you. If you struggle remembering to check your emails, designate a time each day to check in and clear out your inbox.
9. To-Do Lists Are To Die For
These can be digital or printable, but make sure you are keeping active and up-to-date to-do lists throughout the day. We might think we’re superheroes, but we’re not. Writing things down not only helps keep up organized, but it insures that we don’t forget those smaller things that might fall through the cracks normally.
10. Design Your Own Paperwork System
I don’t know about you, but paperwork has been (and probably always will be) one of my biggest organizational shortfalls. Just when I think I’ve remembered to put an important document where it goes, I discover it’s lost in some abyss of randomly assorted, and identical, paperwork volcano.
Every paperwork system will vary from person to person, but make sure you come up with a system that works for you. Invest in folders and something to store them in. Make individual folders for every category you and your family might use. Some great categories to start with are: insurance, emergency information, rent / mortgage, school information (if you have kids), etc.
If you want to get more organized, don’t struggle. Design your own paperwork system, create some to-do lists and invest in that planner. Check your email inbox and whatever you do, make sure to make your bed when you wake up each morning. Always finish your tasks before moving on to the next one, and if all else fails? Get lots of sleep. Things will start falling into place for you in no time at all.