Here are 10 easy steps to organized living.
- Organization is a skill.
It is not an inborn trait (No matter what my mother says!) Like any skill, it takes practice and work to master. But you can learn it and make it part of your daily life.
- Clutter is enemy number one.
Most of us have problems getting organized because we simply have too much stuff. It is shoved into closets, piled under the bed, stacked on the dryer, lying the great big heaps on the bedroom floor and looming on our desktops. Our clutter is the heart of the problem. Imagine if you lived on a desert island with only three possessions. It would be pretty hard to be disorganized, wouldn't it?
- You have to know what you want.
It's not about organizing your physical space, it's about organizing your mental, psychological, and spiritual space, too. If you don't know what your goals are, getting organized isn't going to help you achieve them -- but it's an excellent first step to making enough space in your life to figure out where you want to go.
- Organization is part housework.
Sadly, getting organized is not a project that you can do once and forget about forever, just like you can't do the laundry once. Life goes on, and those little organizational tasks will keep creeping up on you. The good news is that you can create a simple system so that being organized becomes a habit.
- ...and part decision-making.
Should I toss that purple t-shirt? Where should I store the scissors? What do I do about the unwanted gift I got from my great aunt Doris? Decision-making is what makes organizing different that housework, and this is why you can't hire a housekeeper. You can, however, hire someone to help you get started, and once you get good at making a decision, getting organized and staying organized becomes simple.
- Perfectionism is an obstacle to organized living.
We just don't have enough time in the day to make sure that everything in our lives is perfect. Perfectionism gets in the way of our priorities by causing us to focus on insignificant details instead of the big picture. Repeat after me! Some things worth doing are not worth doing well!! Organization is about focusing on the big picture and making room for the important parts of our lives.
- It's important to have the right tools and the right skills.
It's just too darn hard to do a job right when you're not properly equipped. Ditch those squeaky file drawers, rusty scissors and dried out ball-point pens. Think about the job you need to do and make sure you've got the basic tools to do the job right. This means that you'll have sharp knives in the kitchen, a working stapler in the office, and that you'll have finally learned how to use the electric drill in the garage.
- Simplicity is part of the solution.
Organization and simplicity share a piece of the same spectrum. Simplifying our lives is the notion that it makes sense for us to pare down the activities and stuff that we cram into our lives, and focus instead on just those parts of life that truly matter to us, whether that means our kids, our partners, and wonderful career, volunteer work in Kenya or a hobby making model airplanes. Another part of the spectrum is the idea that...
- Frugality is a worthy goal.
Organization is economical. When you are organized, you don't have to buy duplicates, you don't lose, break, or ruin quite so many belongings, you have the time and the inclination to repair things when they do break, ravel, and come unglued, and you don't feel the need to drown your disorganized sorrows with an evening at the mall. You can buy in bulk and on sale, and you don't need to eat out as often (because you end up with a little time to cook). Frugality doesn't have much to do with how much money you have, only with your attitude toward that cash.
- Organization is good for the environment.
For many of the same reasons organization is frugal, it's environmentally friendly, too. The organized person is a bit more likely to practice reducing, reusing, and recycling, that is, "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without."