8 Steps of Organization

The world around us can be a messy place. It can be hard to keep up with even the most simple of tasks when you are ridden with clutter. I like organization. I thrive off of it. It makes the day-to-day go by so much easier. It makes finding your keys trivial. It makes spending time with your loved ones a reality. Let me make your world a functional space. Organization, when broken down, is a bunch of small steps. It is achievable on so many levels from decluttering your home, to simplifying your life, to creating more free time.

I want to share with you some ways you too can be organized:

Get rid of anything you don’t use.
Throw out, give to a friend, or donate. This may sound simple, but getting rid of items is one of the hardest things many of us ever have to do. Letting go is difficult. Removing items from the home can range from throwing out trash and general decluttering of items that you just don’t want any more – to donating or passing on a sincere gift from a friend or family member. When sentimental items are held onto for the sake of not wanting to let go and not a true love of the item, it can become a burden. Take a picture of the item and let it go – you will be happier.

Put like items with like.
All of the like items should go together. In the closet, for example, hang all of the long sleeve shirts together, next, the short sleeve shirts, followed by the pants, etc. In the kitchen, put all of the cooking utensils together in a drawer or utensil holder, stack similar dishes together, put all of the spices together. Similar tools can be separated into bins and then all put in a cabinet so any tool is located in the same place. Make sure everything has its own place. It will make it easier to find and choose between like items when they are all in one location.

Find a home for everyday items.
Put your everyday items in the same place every day. Determine a location to put your keys, purse, wallet, cell phone, coat, and other items you come home with so that you can find them faster the next time you need them.

Get rid of any unnecessary incoming mail.
Throw out unnecessary paper right after it gets through your door. After you take off your coat and put the items away that you were carrying when you came home, don’t just lay the mail on the counter. Sort through it. Recycle the paper that you can recycle and throw out the items you can’t recycle.

Centralize your paper.
Put all of your papers into a filing system – filing cabinet, file boxes, and action file. Long term storage files can be stored away in file boxes. Moderately used and short-term papers can be filed into a filing cabinet. Every day or weekly needed paper can go into an easily accessible action file.

Write down your list of to-dos.
List your to-dos on the computer, on paper, dry erase board, or chalk board – any writing surface will do. Cross through the item when you complete a task. Your accomplishments will materialize. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tasks in any given day or week – you will only stress yourself out.

“One in, one out” rule.
For every one thing you bring in your home, one thing should leave through donating, giving away, recycling, or throwing away. Some examples are toys and clothes. When your child wants a new toy, ask them to choose something they don’t want any more – they will value their toys more. As for clothes, most of us generally wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time. So when you want a new piece of clothing, determine what you are going to get rid of and you will always have room in your closet. The “one in, one out” rule controls the clutter since with this method, items should not multiply in your home. You can apply this method to all items in your home and there should be little accumulation.

Create a reward system
In order to keep organizing at first, positive feedback is required. Write down a weekly reward. Some reward examples are:

  • focus on what you want to do with the newly organized space
  • go to a new restaurant
  • visit with a friend
  • browse a bookstore

Do whatever gets you motivated to get organized. Once you are on your way to being organized, it will be its own motivation and reward.