9 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Person
From Good Housekeeping, how self-reflection, changes in perspective and, yes, organizational strategies can help you become a more organized person at home and in life.
1. Know Your "Organization Style"
Beautiful rows of clear canisters in your pantry holding all of your dried goods and snacks sure look amazing -- but some organization methods are not for everyone. Organization is not one-size-fits-all. People try to copy the things they see in media, but if it doesn't work for you, you're wasting money and time struggling to set up that system," says Cassandra Aarssen, host of Hot Mess House on HGTV. The goal is to follow a type of organization style that is suited to your personality - "so that you can set up a system the way that your brain naturally organizes, so you're not wasting time or money."
2. Start With Your Bedroom
It's the first place you see when you open your eyes and the last thing you see when they close at bedtime. "Your bedroom should be a place of calm and order so you can start and end the day on a good note," says Aarssen. When looking to organize your bedroom space, the first step is to declutter, she says. But that doesn't mean removing everything from your closet and making "keep," "toss" and "donate" piles - and then being faced with the task of putting everything away again. Leave everything where it's at. Instead, you're on a mission to hunt for the items that can go and then removing them, therefore clearing out clutter and space.
3. Get It Out of Your Head
Clutter isn't just what we can see. Often, it's clutter that we think is holding us back. But it's the mental load that we're carrying, like how we struggle to remember what we need to do each day, week and month. So, when you need to remember something, write it on a notepad or jot it down in the Notes function in your phone. Need to remember to change the furnace filter? Write it down. Need to make an appoinmtent? Write it down. You got it, write it down. Every week, go through your list and determine what you'll tackle in the week ahead. This system takes about six weeks.
4. Make "Homes" for Your Stuff
You know the drill: You come home and throw your keys and cellphone on the counter. Sometimes, though, you throw them on the couch in the living room. And occasionally it's in the mudroom. One time, it was the refrigerator. Create "homes" for your stuff for where you naturally put it down. For example, if you're tossing things on your dresser when you get home, you'll want to purchase a "catch-all" tray. Not only does it look neater, but you'll save time when you don't have to run around your house looking for the things you need to get out the door.
5. Shorten Your To-Do List
Write your next day's to-do list the night before on an index card. Most people can do three to five things a day, but for some people even three will be stretching it. Your job in life is not to be so productive so that you can tackle longer and longer to-do lists. Your job is to do a couple key things each day and then live your life.
6. Try the 5-Minute Tidy Up
One of the best habits you can start is to set a timer for five minutes (go ahead: ask Alexa) to tidy up every day. Put clothes in your hamper, hang up that wayward shirt sitting on your bed, put that glass on the coffee table into the dishwasher. Cleaning daily is the secret to long-term success. Eventually, tidying up as you go will become a natural habit, leading to a more clutter-free life.
7. Follow Your Energy
Planning to spend the weekend cleaning out your garage is a fast way to tank your motivation and lead to procrastination. Choose a project that has a defined start and stop. For example, clean out that shelving unit in the garage. And, you get to choose whatever task you feel like. If the garage is too big of a monster to tackle but going upstairs to clean out your sock drawer sounds more palatable and doable, then follow that energy, complete that task and move on with your day.
8. Add Purpose to Your Space
During the pandemic, homes turned into places to live, work and school. And if you started WFH, you may have found yourself working all over your home. But it's also important for your belongings to have a set place because you can then make these areas purposeful. So, name that corner of your living room your home office - and then outfit it accordingly. Get a small desk for the space, have a charging cord always plugged in, buy a bin for papers. The mental mindset shift allows you to make the space function more efficiently and naturally store things better.
9. Have Your Non-Negotiables
Count doing the dishes and laundry as the two tasks that should appear on your everyday list of non-negotiables. Waiting too long to do the dishes leads to dried-on food that's ultimately more difficult and time-consuming to clean. Laundry also piles up, whether that's dirty or clean clothes waiting to be folded.