Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Get Organized for Life

Getting organized can be very difficult for most people. Appointments, grocery lists, dance classes, work, school, gym, visits, parties and of course cleaning the house, can all get piled up until you just don’t know how you are going to handle it all. Making a few adjustments in your attitude and your daily habits can have you staying organized for life.

1) First, you have to declutter. Choose an area and work on it until it is completely done. This could be something small, like a kitchen counter, or something more substantial, like a closet. There is no skipping this step. You will never get organized if you don’t get rid of the junk. If you tend to save things, you need to set limits for yourself. Don’t keep things longer than a set length of time. If you don’t use it within that time, say six months to a year, then get rid of it.

2) Inevitably, you will want to keep your child’s precious art, or the ticket stubs from your anniversary date. There will be things that come into the house that are special to you. Prepare for that eventuality by designating a “year box” for yourself. Keep it under the bed, in the garage, in a closet, or where ever it can go. Label the box with the year that it is, and keep your mementos there. Force yourself to be choosy and don’t keep things that won’t fit in the box.

3) Have a place for everything that comes into the house.
Do your keys have a place? Does your laptop have a special storage space? Do you have an inbox for mail? Simply having a designated spot for mail can cut down on a lot of clutter. When the mail comes in, stand by the trash or shredder and go through it. Take bills out of their envelopes and throw the envelope away. Put bills that need to be paid in your inbox. Throw away everything that you don’t need and go through the inbox monthly to clear out old or outdated information.

4) Force yourself to follow small rules. You can’t expect to change completely overnight, but you can sort of brainwash yourself into behaving. When you are about to put something down, say aloud what you are doing. “I am putting the mail on the kitchen counter.” By implementing this little strategy, you will be conscious of the fact that you are making your home disorganized. When you put something where it goes, say aloud, “I am putting the mail in the inbox. Good for me!” These silly little positive reinforcements will have your brain trained to do the right thing in no time.

5) Laundry is a huge problem for even organized people. Time yourself when you fold laundry. If you fold it right out of the dryer, it usually takes between five and ten minutes. If you are a competitive person, keep a dry erase board by the dryer. Compete for folding/hanging time with your spouse, kids or just with yourself. Get that positive reinforcement by using wood hangers, like shirt hangers, skirt hangers and dress hangers. Wooden hangers keep clothes spaced nicely and the organized look is a subtle reward for your brain. You will trick yourself into wanting to hang up clothes!

Controlling your small everyday habits will save you so much time that you won’t believe that you didn’t do it before. Make it fun or silly and you will have your habits under control for life.

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