Organizing Tips that Really Work

Woman writing in a diary

Clutter is never any fun. It’s grating to look at and be surrounded by, saps emotional energy by negatively impacting mood, makes it impossible to find thins when you need them, makes you embarrassed to invite guests over, and is just generally go fun at all. We understand this, and we also know that in today’s busy, hectic modern world. It can seem daunting—even impossible—to not only set aside enough time out of the day to work on organization, but to also actually have the energy needed to get around to it. On that note, we would like to help. We’ve come up with a few organizational fixes that actually work. Everyone’s different, of course, so some of these will work better for some people than others, but then that’s why we made a whole list.

Take Fifteen Minutes a Day
Our first tip it to cut out tiny, bite-sized portions of your day to worry about organization and cleaning up. You should still clean up after yourself throughout the day so as not to make the problem worse, but more on that next.

One of the biggest barriers to picking up clutter and organizing is time, and thinking you never have enough of it. The mentality of “if I don’t have a solid several-hour chunk to do everything, why bother?” is the enemy here. Working on the clutter for a few minutes every day still helps, and still contributes towards an organized, clutter free space, bit by bit. If you clean up for fifteen minutes and keep going for an hour, great! If you can only manage the fifteen minutes, that’s fine too; you’ll get there.

Pick Up After Yourself
Of course, chipping away at a mess by making a small amount of progress every day only works if you don’t undo that progress regularly by not picking up after yourself. Get in the habit of reminding yourself that every time you do something that could make more clutter, make sure it doesn’t. After eating, take two minutes to wash your dishes and put everything away that you used. When you get home with a bunch of groceries, put them all away, not just the perishables. When you take off your clothes for a bath or shower, make sure the dirty clothes end up in the hamper. In short, keep the status quo maintained—however messy that may be—so that your little bits of progress actually mean something in the end.

Label Some Boxes
Here’s one thing you can try when sorting through piles of junk: make three boxes, one labeled “keep,” one “get rid of” and one “trash” (or just make two boxes and lug around your actual trash can with them.) As you’re sorting through things, don’t worry about finding a home for anything yet. For now, you have a simple task of choosing one of three categories. Anything in the “keep” box will be sorted through later when you actually have space to put things, and you can find homes for it all then. The “get rid of” box is for things you don’t need, but aren’t trash; these can be set aside to later be sold at a garage sale or donated to a thrift store. And the “trash” one is for, well, trash.

The best part about this is that you can work on sorting things in fifteen-minute intervals, and then just shove the three boxes aside to be used again tomorrow.

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