I am not an organized person by nature. But I have found a couple tricks that help me stay more organized and ready for the day.
1. Make organization a rule. If you live with a significant other, like I do, or with kids or family or roommates, it can be difficult to get organized. Especially if you make a system and no one else is listening to it. But, in shared spaces like kitchens or bathrooms (or bedrooms), if you’ve cleaned it and organized it, then you’re allowed to make the rules. If all plastic bags go in a particular cabinet, or all appliances are put away and aren’t left on the counter, then you make sure that they know that. Passive aggressive notes are tempting (especially if you’re tired of saying it over and over again), but they don’t always work. Make it a rule that must be followed. Negotiate if it isn’t you children you’re talking to, but rather a roommate. Explain why your system works and explain why life will be easier if everyone follows this particular rule. And be willing to listen to someone else’s suggestions. But make sure to explain that if you are the only one putting the plastic bags where they go that it makes you feel unappreciated, and that it creates more work for everyone later on.
2. Throw away things that don’t belong. If you have any weird novelty gifts lying around, or broken pieces of electronics, or old manuals, or missing buttons, just throw them away. Granted, you could have places for all these things. You could have a whole button drawer and that would be fine, and in fact, great if you were a more crafty person. But most of you have a lot of random things lying around that are just taking up space, and that you move from surface to surface when you clean, wondering what you will do with them. Just throw them away. Throw socks with no mates away, or use them as rags. Throw those bits that look important but that aren’t attached to any electronics that you are currently using, away. You will feel great, and the next time that you clean, everything will have a place to go.
3. Buy a file cabinet. A lot of us have a bunch of random papers lying around. Birthday cards that we want to keep, bank statements, that piece of mail that looks important but that you don’t want to open. Invest in a file cabinet. Label everything. You can even have a folder for “random” or, if you’re like me and don’t want to waste good paper “scrap paper.” But also make sure to have folders for “health insurance” and “the lease.” Get them all in one place, and when you need them, you can pull them right out. Worth. The. Money. and the time spent organizing. And they’re not even that expensive.
4. Take 10 minutes. On those days when everything is absolutely a mess and you don’t know where to start, take 10 minutes to do as much cleaning as you can. Get everyone in on it. “Kids! Let’s see who can clean the most in 10 minutes!” They may not want to, but you’d be surprised how much you can get done in that short amount of time. That amount of time feels long because you’re doing what you don’t want to do, but once you’ve cleared off the coffee table and taken out the trash and swept the floor and you see that you still have four minutes left, you’ll see the benefit of this method. This also means you can stop and take a break after 10 min, and do another 10 min session later in the day. I do at least one every day in my bedroom (which has to be clean or I won’t sleep), and I’ve got it down to a science where it only takes 5 min, and so I go out to the living room and tidy up.
I hope these tips are helpful to you and may you have a more organized day.