Tips for Getting Organized

Tips for Getting Organized

Getting organized can be a bit tricky. Sometimes it feels like as soon as you concentrate on getting one area of life organized, the other areas that seemed to be doing well fall apart again. That said, there is nothing like the feeling of walking through the house and seeing that everything is in order. Even if it only lasts a short time.

Staying organized means that your life inevitably runs smoother. You not only save time, but you save energy spent trying to find something you lost, remember an appointment you wrote on a post-it that mysteriously vanished, or just sifting through the pile of chaos. If we could all visualize a typical day, and think about how much time and energy is devoted to:

  • Where did I put my… ?
  • What time was I supposed to… ?
  • I’ve got to find something else to wear because…
  • I have to call XX company because I can’t find the letter they sent about…
  • I have to reschedule my meeting because I double-booked myself…

The list could go on. For the majority of us, we’re so busy, that a good part of our day is wasted trying to stay on top of everything. It’s one step above all-out damage control.

Organizing isn’t just for closets; although, that’s always a good place to start. Hence the expression:

“A place for everything, and everything in its place”

Here’s my list of important life areas that could always be improved by getting organized.

  1. Physical storage areas in your house: yep, like the closet I just spoke of. It’s never fun to spend 15 minutes in the morning when you’re running late for work trying to find that other shoe that you KNOW is somewhere in the closet.
    - Try working on one thing at a time. Maybe give your undivided attention to only one storage area per weekend. You’ll be more likely to come away with a fantastically organized space by Monday, instead of two closets, a garage and a shed all in various stages of chaos. 😉
  2. Time organization: this might be the most important for me. If you don’t have a good handle on where and when you’re needed, things get forgotten, meetings start late, and you spend the entire day feeling like you’re running to catch up. That’s not a fun way to spend the day!
    - Some ways to accomplish this? Start using your phone calendar, if you have one. Set reminders for everything (even when to take your vitamins if you have to!). If you are consistent about using the calendar, than you’ll spend your time thinking about the actual task at hand (or enjoying your down time) instead of worrying about what is coming up.
    - Consider a to-do list. I write one up every night. I’m a little type A, I admit, but it truly helps me in the morning and throughout the rest of the day to have it there to look at. I often get so busy that some of the little things that I want to get done get lost in the shuffle. If I have a list, it keeps me on-task and more efficient (meaning my reward at the end of the day is actual down-time).
    - Block out time for the things that you consider must-haves, and then stick to it. Need to exercise every day? Block out a time every day in your calendar that you are NOT available to anyone else or for anyone else. Make that your time, and don’t deviate from it. It becomes this consistent space in time that belongs to you, and you can count on it every day.
  3. Financials: getting your money in order is a must in today’s economy. Keeping this part of your life organized will save you time and money.
    - If you’re really out of whack and flying by the seat of your pants (e.g. you’re the kind of person that tends to have to check your account balance on your phone while in line at the grocery store), consider dedicating a night to getting everything organized. It will take some time, but it’s worth it.
    - For instance, balance your incoming cash with what you have out going each month. Then, set up auto-payments for each of your bills to come out a day after a pay day. Your creditors will allow you to change and move your due date so that you can be sure the funds will always be there. Once that’s in place, then paying bills is one less thing you have to worry about.
    - Look into a money management software. I’ve tried Mint, which will keep track of all your creditors, back accounts, savings, etc., and it will also sync with your debit card so you can always see how your spending your money each month. There are many options, I would highly recommend considering this as an option.

There are plenty of areas we all wish were perfectly organized all the time. I consider myself to be above-average at organizing, but below-average in keeping things that way. But, I continually experience the benefits of staying on top of things and so I will taking time once in a while to get something back to a state of order will never be wasted time for me.

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