Being organized is not only the state of your house but your state of mind. The benefits to becoming more organized in your life are significant: less stress, peace of mind, more confidence, items are in their place, time and money are saved, and more connection with friends and family. We've compiled a list of tips to help you become organized and remain organized in your home and in your life in general.
1) Define what being organized means to you
Everyone's idea of being organized is different. Don't just try to follow what you see on TV and in magazines. Define your version of organized. Is it to have a beautiful, minimal home, is it to have a more efficient working or living space, or is it to have a home that's easier for your family to maintain?
2) Just start
Don't overwhelm yourself by thinking about all the areas you want to organize and declutter. Just start somewhere – pick a spot that perhaps gives you the biggest headache or the area house guests usually see. If you're procrastinating starting because you think it will take way too long, schedule just 15 minutes for the task. This will help you start without a long time commitment. After those 15 minutes are up, you might find that you've gotten in the organizing groove and will work on the task for longer. It's all a matter of starting somewhere, even if it's bit by bit.
3) Use your trash can or recycling bin
Don't waste time organizing items you no longer need or never use. If it's unnecessary, get rid of it. Those old magazines you'd like to read “someday”? Recycle them. Receipts laying around that aren't deductible? Shred or throw them away.
4) Tackle the closet
Do you have lots of clothes in your closet but “nothing to wear”? That's a good sign that your closet needs culling. Make it a priority to only have clothes in your closet that you like and fit you now. Donate all the “maybe I'll fit into these later” clothes; scanning over those items every day isn't good for your confidence. If you carry some shame about wasted money when you have clothes that still have tags on them, acknowledge that the money has already been spent and give yourself permission to move on. The bottom line is if you haven't worn the item in a year, donate it.
5) Prep for the morning
Having a routine in the quiet evening hours to prepare for the next day creates a much less hectic morning. Lay out your clothes; prep your front door area with your keys, shoes, and bags for the day (gym, work, school); and gather ingredients for breakfast or lunch.
6) Make your bed and do your dishes
Having an unkempt bed and a pile of dishes not only sets the tone for the house but sets the tone for your day. Get into the habit of making your bed every morning and doing the dishes before you go to bed every night. These simple acts will make a world of difference to how you feel and how your house looks. Plus, doing your dishes every night takes way less time and energy than having to tackle a large pile all at once.
7) Don't "spend to save"
When purchasing items, be very conscious about what you bring into your home. One way to keep a house clear of clutter is not to fall prey to bargain shopping. Clearance sales, garage sales, and flea markets can have some great finds, but the key is to only shop for what's planned/needed. If you go without a list, you can end up buying a lot of things you don't need and undo all your decluttering work.
8) Put it away now
How often are you searching all over your house for an item? Getting into the habit of putting away an item directly after using it is key to keeping an organized home. Taking a moment to put it back in its specific place keeps your house tidy and items easily found later.
9) Learn to store food properly
Being organized is more than what's in your closets and cupboards; it's about habits that save you time, money, and stress. Food waste is both bad for the environment and bad for your wallet. Look up quick tips online for storing your food properly so they last longer, like keeping your berries in mason jars and wrapping your fresh herbs in damp paper towels. You'll find that your refrigerator will be consistently better stocked, and you're spending less time and money at the grocery store replacing rotten food.
10) Delegate and automate
Putting all the responsibility to organize and maintain a household solely on your own shoulders can be exhausting. An organized life is not stuffed full of tasks and responsibilities. Smart delegation is a form of decluttering your life. Try to relieve some of your stress by making a to-do list and finding one or two tasks that you can automate or give to someone else.