For many people becoming more organized is a common goal but one that seems overwhelming and therefore unattainable. But, like any other big project or life goal, it can be managed if you start small. Remember, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” If you can execute your goals perfectly, that’s no reason not to try to be good or good enough! When it come to being better organized even a little bit of progress yields great benefits. So, here are a few general tips for getting yourself and your life more organized.
1. Automate your bills. This might seem like an odd tip for becoming more organized but look around and see how much clutter paying bills creates in your life and on your desk. Paying bills also needlessly takes up time you could be spending doing something more enjoyable. So, before you do anything else automate your bills. Most utility companies have an easy program you can sign up for to have your bill paid through an automatic debit with your bank. Or if you’re not comfortable with that you can set up automatic bill paying through your bank’s website. Either way, you will still receive a notice that your bill has been paid and you will never have to worry about making a late payment or finding a stamp!
2. Develop a filing system for your household paper. Automating your bills won’t eliminate paper from your house. You will still receive paper statements (unless you choose to sign up for electronic statements which I recommend). If you do sign up for electronic statements from your utility companies you will eliminate a great deal of paperwork but probably not all of it. So, you need a simple filing system to handle incoming paperwork which would include everything you receive in the mail. The key is to have a place for each type of mail you receive and to get it into that place as soon as the mail comes in the door. If it’s junk mail, file it in the garbage! If it’s a bill statement file it in a folder for those bills. (If you followed step one you won’t have to keep it out in order to pay it). Have a place for personal correspondence, coupons you will use, magazines you will read, etc. try to avoid creating a pile for figuring out what to do with it later. That will end up being a clutter pile!
3. Designate a place for items you use everyday. This would include personal items such as a cell phone, wallet, watches, glasses. These items should all have a home; one place they belong when you are not using them. They should be faithfully returned to that home at the end of the day so you will be able to find them easily the next day. You probably also have other items that fall into this “everyday use” category such as kitchen items, utility room items, and bathroom items. The same rule should apply to these items. They all should have a home and be returned their promptly when you finish with them. If possible, try not to mix everyday items with items you only use once in a while. These two categories of items should have separate homes.
4. Make sure you can see everything you have. An item is no good to you if you can’t get it when you need it. This applies to everyday items but also to items you only use once in a while. The easiest way to make things accessible is to make them visible. I don’t mean you have to have everything out all of the time. But, wherever you store these items make sure you can see them. When you open a closet or cabinet or drawer, you should be able to easily see everything that is in that storage place. If you can’t see it, you can’t use it.
Once you accomplish these four things you have a road map for bigger organizational projects. If these four items seem overwhelming just start with item one and slowly work through them. As I said, there’s no reason to let your inability to be perfect diminish your ability to be good. You can do it!