Really organized people are not born organized people. They must cultivate healthy habits, which then help them to stay organized. Here are ten essential habits they use to keep their lives in balance:
Write Things Down
Trying to remember things will not help you to stay organized. You should try writing things down. A pen and some paper is our way of remembering things externally, and it’s much more permanent. You will only further complicate your life by trying to keep track of important dates and reminders in your head. Make a habit of writing everything down as soon as it pops into your head: shopping lists for groceries, holiday gifts, home decor, and important dates like meetings and birthdays.
Make Schedules and Deadlines a Habit
Organized people don’t waste time. They recognize that keeping things organized goes hand-in-hand with staying productive. In addition, they make and keep schedules for the day and week. They make deadlines and set goals. And most importantly, they and stick to them! Similarly, they live a very uncluttered lifestyle. They also include “white space” in their schedule, so that if adjustments need to be made, it won’t throw off everything for the week. Think of it as “decluttering” your time.
The longer you wait to do something, the more difficult it will be to get it done. If you want your life to be less stressful and less demanding, then organize as soon as you can. Putting in the effort to get things done as soon as possible will lift the weight off your shoulders about doing it later.
Create Habits to Give Everything a Home
It’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a home. Keeping your life organized means keeping your things in their proper places. Organized people keep order by storing things properly and by labeling storage spaces. A big misconception is having things stored “all the places” where you might use them. This just creates more clutter. Give everything one place and only one place and always keep it there.
Find time each week to organize. Highly organized people make sure they find time every week, or more often, to organize their things. Stuff does not stay organized on its own; it needs to be reorganized continuously and consistently. I like to do quick passes through the house returning things to their rightful homes every night before bed. When I see an area that is getting out of control, I schedule an hour to straighten and reorganize it as soon as I can find the time before it gets any worse.
Keep Only What You Need
More stuff means more clutter. People who live organized lives only keep what they need and what they really want. Having fewer things also means that you enjoy those things more and feel better about using everything you own, rather than letting half of what you own collect dust.
Have you ever felt like you don’t have the space to keep all the stuff you own? Instead of renting a storage unit or buying a larger home, get rid of some things. I mean really, how many mugs can one family use. I know, they’re “memories” of trips, etc. You still probably use less than six of them. Sort through them, keep the ones you use the most as well as a couple for guests, and get rid of the rest.
Know Where to Discard Items
Do whatever you can to get rid of stuff. Less stuff means less clutter. Donate to thrift stores. Sell on Craigslist or eBay. Take a trip to the recycling center. Set up a garage sale.
Don’t just box them and then set them aside somewhere. They WILL find a way back into your home and life. Find a place to get rid of your things as soon as possible.
Habits to Stay Away from Bargains
You have removed the things you don’t need. DO NOT replace them when you see something on sale. One of the biggest habits to replace is bargain shopping without planning ahead. Instead, write down exactly what you need and buy only those items. Items on sale will only produce more clutter and you’ll soon be right back where you started from.
A really organized life is not overfilled with responsibilities, meetings, and deadlines. In fact, it has less because things that create stress have been slowly organized out. Check out our Simply Your Life eBook for ideas on how to delegate things that you don’t want or need to do. Look at your to-do list or make one. Go through the list and find one task that you can remove from your list or give to someone else. Now feel the stress of having to do it fall away. Keep going, it’s therapeutic.
Put in some effort. Remember, nothing will work unless you do. Once you have delegated responsibilities and made a schedule, then you can organize what you have to do and when you can do it. Staying organized is not all a breeze. It requires that you work hard when you’re working so that you can enjoy your clutter-free home life later.
People who apply these 10 habits on a regular basis are achieving great things. You can be one of them with just a little attention in these areas. Which habits are you going to work on incorporating into your life? Comment below or email me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.