Organization isn’t a natural gift. It’s a practice.
And there are some habits that organized people practice all of the time – that’s how they stay organized! So, if you still struggle with clutter or aspire to be more organized, adapt these habits in your life and see how things change!
Habit #1: Putting everything in its place.
What’s taken, borrowed or used always gets placed back where it originally came from. It’s a rule to always bring back what you borrow. It makes life so much easier and it also teaches little ones to be responsible and considerate of others.
We all have many tiny loose items such as batteries, paperclips, push pins, and do-dads that need a place.
Clearly label baskets, bins, and containers in every location – playroom, office or pantry.
When containers are clearly marked then everyone living in the household immediately knows what goes where – making it more likely they’re actually put it back there. Bonus: Less time wasted looking for household items!
Habit #2: Delegating household chores.
Organization is a team effort. When everyone pitches in, life is a whole lot easier.
Begin by having a family meeting to create a chore list. This is a great way to get every family member on the same page.
Children can have their own set of chores that are age appropriate and adults can take care of the more difficult ones around the house.
Identify each person’s strengths, set goals and rewards. Remember ALL of the household tasks that need to get done, from lawn and auto maintenance (raking, weeding, trimming, oil changes, tire rotations) to housecleaning (meals, dishes, vacuuming, laundry).
If school projects and social tasks are a big part of your family life, then put them on the list too! It’s hard to get dishes done and laundry sorted if you’re trying to squeeze in science experiments and cupcake baking too.
Habit #3: Setting and reviewing goals.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to write down daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Think about it for a moment. What is the goal? While everyone is different, most of us want the same thing: time to do the fun stuff in life.
Identify what you’re passionate about and then set goals to create the time and space to pursue it. I recommend using the S.M.A.R.T. goal method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Choose a time to write these down and review frequently. You’ll soon see how you’re spending your time, what you’re accomplishing and where adjustments need to be made.
Habit #4: Planning and managing time.
The truly organized don’t procrastinate, they plan. It’s quite easy with today’s technology to spend 2-4 hours in the morning checking your FaceBook, email or browsing the internet. These are huge time wasters. Schedule your time to do what matters most.
My most organized clients create allotted times for specific tasks from the moment their day starts. Some will go as far as setting a timer to each task.
Start with this step: Touch an e-mail once. Meaning: open the email, read it, respond or file it away. That simple. Your inbox should never be full – that’s the rule.
Keep a calendar of events that sync with your iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Outlook. Keep active alerts to ping or ring as reminders throughout the day or week. It works! No more forgetting or missing appointments. Scheduling cleaning and de-clutter days are also helpful.
Habit #5: Learn to purge.
The key is to learn to separate and detach from possessions. If the items haven’t been touched or used in a year it gets donated.
Keeping track of the many things in the home can be a daunting task. However, when your house is well organized it becomes easier to know what’s being used and what isn’t.
A great way to de-clutter closets and keep it from overflowing with items you rarely use is to keep a large plastic bin clearly marked “donations” in each closet.
Train others in the home to identify what clothing is too small, is not fixable or is out of style. This also pertains to toys, video/computer games, and books.
Each quarter pull out the bin and go through it to make sure nothing else was accidently placed in there. Once it’s checked it can be taken to the nearest charity in town. You’ll get the tax write-off and family members learn another way to give to the less fortunate. You will all feel a sense of accomplishment from keeping a neat and tidy room and closet.
With these habits in place, becoming – and staying – organized is much easier. Tell us in the comments: How do you stay organized?
Jessica Bakken is the design and sales manager for California Closets in Raleigh, NC. She enjoys designing and transforming living spaces into more useful, organized and stress-free havens so that her clients achieve a more balanced way of life.