That moment when you re-enter your home from a day out defines how organized your home will be and how organized it will remain (or not). That is the defining moment.
From groceries and mail to a briefcase or your children’s school and sports gear, chances are you are carrying things into your home each time you come back from a day of errands, work, or a trip.
So, what do you do at that moment? Do you put things down, or do you put things away?
There is a big difference between putting things down and putting things away. If you needed to put everything away in your home right now, could you?
The answer depends on whether everything in your house has a specific place to belong. Ideally, everything in your home should have a single, designated, permanent space where that item or item category lives. By recognizing and following this principle, your daily life may turn easier and more efficient.
When items have a permanent, specific storage place, you find everything easily. It also facilitates putting things away since items have a known space where they should go.
But if in your house anything can go anywhere, then everything will go everywhere. So, day after day, this way of going about your environment won’t yield positive results.
When you “put things down for later” instead of taking the time to put things away, several things happen:
- “Later” never seems to arrive (it is not an actual date on the calendar!). Every day’s residue accumulates all over the house day after day.
- Your home becomes cluttered because clutter invites more clutter. It’s a vicious cycle.
- You can’t find what you need when you need it because nothing is in a logical or proper place.
- Looking for things, you waste lots of time. Also, you spend money buying replacements for items you have but can’t find.
Then one random Saturday morning, when the sun is shining, and you feel great, you decide to clean up your place. You spend hours sorting through the clutter and finally put things away.
When finished, your home is manageable again, but you’ve spent the whole day cleaning up instead of being outside, enjoying the possibilities that await you.
You are tired, sore, and frustrated. Yet, ironically, you conclude that being organized is a drag – something that intrudes on your life, preventing you from living your life.
As a result, you put off “organizing” or “cleaning up” again for as long as possible. The senseless circle of events repeats itself.
What if you took a moment or two to put everything away (as in “where everything should permanently go’) instead of “putting things down until later” every time you come home? Your home would remain organized.
If your home remains organized, there is no need to spend an entire day organizing later. Yes, it takes a few minutes every day, and it might take some time to make the practice a habit, but it indeed pays off in significant ways.
Besides, spending a few minutes every day to keep our environment organized is more manageable and less time-consuming than spending hours cleaning up or trying to find what we need.
The next time you enter through that door carrying all that “stuff,” think about it – It is a defining moment.
Organizing Is A Lifestyle
Many say they need to become more organized, especially each January. Some will even call an Organizer. However, those unwilling to adopt new habits will always struggle with clutter. No matter how easy or difficult that initial push to get the home in top shape might be. That is just a start. Without maintenance, that initial organization is just a waste of time and money. Organizing is not a project; it is a lifestyle. So, here are 11 key habits of an organized lifestyle. These will make a big difference in your home and how you live.
1. Make The Bed Every Morning
Making your bed makes the room feel in order and makes you feel accomplishment from the time you get up. In addition, this action helps you face the date with a can-do attitude.
2. Keep A Donation Bag In Each Closet
Having a bag for things you no longer need or want allows you to make those decisions when you think about them. You will have a designated place for these items and won’t need to remember to gather them later. When the bag is full, schedule a donation run. The moment you put on a piece of clothing that you feel is no longer suitable or is ripped or screams dated, instead of hanging the clothing back (or God forbid, throw it on the bed or a chair), you will place that item in the bag.
3. Create A Home For Everything In Your House
You will decide where things should go based on their use pattern in the home. The important thing is to assign one specific place to each category of items, preferably. If using an item requires storing it in more than one space, formally set those spaces up. Also, labeling storage areas allows everyone to know where to put things back. Finally, remember that If anything can go anywhere, everything will go everywhere.
4. Put Things Back In Their Place
To maintain an organized home, everyone must put things back where they belong every time. Hence the importance of labeling spaces until everyone knows the proper place of things. “I will put this here for the moment” does not work. It never has. It never will.
The words “free,” “save,” and “discount” act like a drug on the brain. Please don’t fall for it. Before you buy, ask yourself if you need the item and have the space to store it. If not, please walk away. The less you own, the more living area you enjoy in your own home, and the less you have to take care of.
When bringing home bags or boxes, remove the contents and strip those items of outer packing as much as possible. That is making the stuff truly yours. It also makes the item(s) ready to be organized within your home. This process is a critical step we follow when organizing a space. You want to have everything as visible and ready to be used as possible. Removing all unnecessary packaging also saves lots of space and makes all items of the same kind look the same. The more homogeneous your collection, the more functional the system is and the prettier your areas look.
Entertained garbage makes up for most of the clutter in every household. If you commit to removing the packaging of what you bring home, then go the distance and trash the garbage instead of allowing all the extra packing to linger around your home until who knows when.
8. Process Mail Efficiently
Keep a recycle bin, a shredder, and a tray or sorter to process the mail. Preferably have your filing cabinet where you process the mail. Most of the mail you receive is junk. Throw it away before it can clutter your home. Also, be a knowledgeable shredder; only those documents with account numbers, social security numbers, medical information, or bank offers need to be shredded. Having a shredder right where you sort the mail allows you to take care of this immediately. Too often, I find boxes full of documents that need shredding cluttering my clients’ lives. Over concerns about safety compounds the problem. When we do not know what we should destroy, we accumulate more paper over time. Also, it is critical to have a mail sorting and filing system that works for you. This way, you process bills on time, and things needing filing won’t float around the home. Every piece of paper to keep needs a file.
9. Plan Ahead
Take a few minutes to prepare for the next day at the end of each day. Evaluate your “to do” list and set out everything you need to go through your planned errands the next day.
10. Practice Strategic Scheduling
Scheduling is logistics 101. College business programs include courses on administration and logistics, with algorithms to determine the optimal sequence of events to complete a project or the most efficient routes to get around. Of course, you don’t need to go to such an extent, but you can gain significant efficiency and add more time to each day with some planning ahead.
11. Clean Out Bags Daily
Whether it is your handbag, weekender, kids’ sports bags, or suitcases, emptying the contents of all bags allows you to assess what needs replacement, needs to be washed, trashed, or placed somewhere else. This practice is particularly beneficial in helping you plan for the following day or week. If you are a paper kind of person and love to write little reminders and notes to yourself throughout the day, emptying your bag consistently helps you remember that idea you wanted to pursue. Those reminders might be the start of more significant plans in the scope of your life.
Consistency Is Key
These 11 steps might not seem like much, but when combined and executed consistently, they will show a big difference in your life.
The holiday season is usually the time of the year when we give and receive the most gifts. It can become overwhelming, not only in the buying process but also in receiving gifts. But this practice is not limited to the holidays, as we well know.
Among the top reasons people find it hard to get organized is their guilt about letting go of items that they receive and for which they have no use, purpose, appeal, or storage space.
Although those guilty feelings are frequent conversations between Organizer and the client, it would be fair to look into the other side of this dynamic – the gift giver. Have you ever thought about what you give when you offer a gift?
More Than A Gift
When you give someone a gift, you might do it with the best intentions, out of a perceived obligation, or maybe without a specific reason: you give someone something you like.
Regardless of the reason, you give that person responsibilities that might be more than what the person wants or can handle. Has this ever crossed your mind?
So, what do you give when you give a gift? When you give a gift, you are passing the responsibility of another possession; one they did not necessarily choose for themselves. They will have the burden of finding this item space in their home, storing it, cleaning it, and maintaining it.
What About Unwanted Gifts?
An unwanted gift exerts negative pressure subconsciously on the gift receiver. The mind recognizes the item’s presence and why such an item is stored somewhere.
If someone receives a gift from a person they dislike or the item brings sad memories, that gift brings compounded negative energy.
No Strings Attached
Offering a gift should be without strings or obligation from the recipient. Whether it is to display, use, store, regift, donate, recycle, or trash the item, the outcome of the present should not become a reflection of the relationship between the giver and the receiver.
When you feel slighted if you don’t see the beautiful crystal vase that you gave to your niece in her home, or if you’re hanging on to the pink fuzzy throw blanket from your sister because you don’t want to hurt her feelings, then the gift is no longer a gift, but an emotional burden.
Appreciate The Act of Giving Instead
Both parties should recognize that the gift recipient appreciates the gesture and the gift giver. But the best gift we can offer one another is the freedom from becoming a hostage to an unwanted gift.
It is only human to feel hurt when others do not fully appreciate our gifts. But if we genuinely care for the person receiving our gift, the last thing we should want is to burden that person with an additional problem or guilty feelings that will haunt them.
Let’s be mindful of the gift-giving process and less sensitive about the gift’s destiny. Then, when we finally understand this concept, let the gift recipient know how we feel about the whole process.