You’re finally feeling organized. But, maybe you feel like it’s inevitable that you’ll slip back into a state of chaos and clutter. Or, maybe you haven’t met all your organization goals, but you don’t want to pile on the clutter while trying to tackle the big projects. How do those organized people do it? Here are 6 habits of organized people that anyone can follow, even when life gets crazy...
1. Have a Donation Bin in Your Home. You’re cooking in the kitchen, trying to find a certain gadget to whip up the perfect meal when you encounter an item that you never use anymore. Maybe it’s been replaced by a new model, or maybe it just doesn’t suite your needs anymore. Either way, it needs a new home. Or, you’re getting dressed when you realize your blouse really isn’t as flattering as you thought it was. It’s time to move on. So, where does it go? The donation box! Then, when the box gets full, call a tax-deductible, charitable organization to come pick it up. My go-to is the VVA. Then, document your donations using my handy calculator so you’re ready when tax time comes around.
2. Never Let It Touch the Ground. For clothing, the choices here are simple. If it’s dirty, it goes in the hamper. If it’s clean, it goes in your closet or dresser. Or, if it’s seasonal, like a pull-over or coat, it hangs. If it’s never put on the floor, it’ll never have to be picked up. If your clothing isn’t finding its proper place, perhaps your storage solutions aren’t accessible. Think about moving your hamper to the place you normally change, or adding hooks close to your entryway. And the same is true for other items, like unsorted mail. If you open and sort your mail immediately when you get it, you’ll save yourself from developing an overwhelming pile of paper. Having a place for coupons, bills, things to shred, etc. right on your landing pad helps to avoid the chaos of lingering paper clutter.
3. Have Consistent Routines. My husband and I were getting frustrated with our morning routine. We always ended up yelling at the children to get dressed while we made a mad dash to get to school and work on time. So, we reconvened and revamped our routine. Now, we lay out the kids’ clothing and prepare lunches the night before. Then, I wake up with the kids while my husband gets himself ready. Next, my husband feeds the kids breakfast while I get myself ready. And, finally, we all work together for that final push out the door. I can’t promise that there aren’t days that we still tell our kids to put on their shoes ten times (seriously, ten times), but our routine is working much better. The little things also need a routine. Maybe it’s that you put in a load of laundry when you first wake up, so it’s ready to switch to the drier before you leave for work. Or, you have one day a week that is your day to spend 15 minutes shredding and filing. Or, you have the kids tidy up their toys every evening right after dinner. Having routines is of utmost importance when trying to remain organized.
4. Keep To-Do Lists. Putting things on paper (whether real or electronic) helps you to plan ahead and prioritize. For most people, creating a to-do list gives them relief, because the task has now been transferred from the depths of their mind to paper, where it can be assigned a time and place. But, for others, seeing everything they have to do can feel overwhelming. If that’s you, think about prioritizing your to-do list. You can rate each task using one of four designations: urgent and important, just urgent, just important, or neither urgent nor important. Then, urgent and important tasks can take precedence.
5. … and a Calendar/Planner. Most people use a calendar for big events, like holidays, birthdays and vacations. But, using a weekly planner to designate tasks can be a helpful way to visualize your week and plan ahead. From your to-do list, assign each upcoming task a time slot on your weekly calendar, leaving some flexibility in case the tasks take you longer than expected. Make it a habit to visit your planner every Sunday, and communicate with your partner about any upcoming inconsistencies (like having to depart early for or stay late at work). Then, check-in frequently throughout your week to make sure you’re on track.
6. Take Your Shoes Off at the Door. Studies have shown that the bottom of your shoes contain more bacteria than a public toilet seat and can bring nasty chemicals into your home, like those contained in snow melt and fertilizers. But, in addition to keeping your home free of toxins and germs, having your shoes next to the door eliminates the need to look for where you left them when it’s time to leave. Place a decorative basket or shoe organizer close to the entrance to your house, so taking off your shoes becomes a habit. You can also keep a decorative basket with house slippers in it, so guests with un-manicured feet don’t feel self-conscious about having their bare toes out.
Want more techniques to stay organized? Stay tuned for next week’s blog, Six More Ways to Stay Organized. Need help conquering your clutter in the meantime? Contact me for your FREE consultation DeclutterBugCo@gmail.com