I wasn’t raised to be an very clean and organized person, and while I have always spent time setting goals, planning out my life, and managing finances, clutter has never bothered me.
I have always lived life in a quasi-organized way, claiming that there is a method to my madness, of leaving half finished notes and reminders strewn across the room, but then spend 10 minutes trying to find my keys each time I leave the house.
Sometime about 8 months ago, my girlfriend mentioned that if I picked a place to always hang my keys (like say a key ring…genius right?), that I would not have to spend time looking for them every day. Well after I laughed at the preposterous idea (I am VERY stubborn at times), at some point it dawned on me how BRILLIANT this idea of hers was.
I don’t know why I resisted this idea of organization so much, I guess I thought a genius was supposed to be messy, but I was wasting so much time, all my organization was a reflection of was my stubbornness.
Well no more, because I have sent the last month or two working on organization, and with a few simple tricks, I have managed to declutter my life, decrease my stress levels, and increase my ability to get things done in an efficient way.
Want to learn what I have been doing? Read on.
Chaos will happen anyway, manage your preparedness.
Chaos happens in life, it is inevitable, and sometimes its like the harder we try to manage and control everything, the further it gets out of our control. The solution is not simply to allow chaos to overrun us, but instead to create structures that allow us to navigate it successfully.
Life is like an ocean in a storm, you are out there in a boat, and your survival is going to be dependent upon how sturdy the boat you are in is made. You can’t control the size of the waves life gives you, but you can ensure you have the rights tools to beat the adversity in your way.
Being organized allows you focus your energy on what really matters while you delegate, remove, or plan for the things that do.
Most of us have to-do lists scribbled somewhere, but what happens to all of our lists and plans? Most of them collect dust in a junk drawer while the desire to accomplish our goals gnaws away at us and leaves us feeling guilty and unaccomplished
Designate places for everything.
Clutter happens when things are out of place, and the more things we have, the more places things can hide.
Great example: I could never find my keys when it was time to go. My keys could be anywhere: the top of the microwave, my desk, the closet, upstairs in the bedroom, in the laundry room, or even on top of the refrigerator out of site (yes I actually did this once or twice).
How much time I spent in my life searching for keys is beyond my knowledge, but I finally fixed the issue with one simple change: I hammered a nail into the wall and now when I come home, I hang my keys up first thing when I walk in the door.
It was so simple that it was right in front of my face for years, but just giving my keys a home they always stay eliminates me having to remember where I left them- if only I would have listened to my girlfriend months ago.
Having a good organizational system in your life works the exact same way for all aspects of your life.
When things have a set place, you don’t have to search for them and you always know where they are. Instead of remembering a million different objects and where each one could be, you just need to remember the one place that they are.
Papers, notes, goals, bills, old photographs, tax returns: they all have their place, if you can just figure out where that place is, you will simplify so much of your life in an instant, but you have to stick with the system or you will gradually return into chaos.
Imagine a huge earthquake struck near your home right now. Would you know where everything you needed to take with you to a shelter is? Or would you be at a loss for where to look to find the things you need?
Create a system, and embrace the chaos of life.
Get rid of what you don’t need, and categorize everything else.
How many things do you have sitting around right now that you never use?
The pair of pants you haven’t worn for 3 years, the button you meant to have sown to your jacket that popped off, the list of calls you need to make for work that you never got around to: they all cloud up your life and prevent you from making clear and happy decisions. Just getting rid of all the things you truly don’t need will help you feel liberated and feel like you have space to breathe again.
Just the the very act of removing clutter and junk is energizing and enough to make you feel better and refreshed, but what about all the things you need but aren’t using, or all those things you know you need to do, but haven’t done yet?
Grab a calendar and start assigning all those projects you have never gotten around to.
Trust me, if you have been meaning to get that gym membership so you can start working out and you haven’t done it yet, you probably never will, unless you set a deadline date and do it.
No more excuses, when it goes on the calendar it gets done that day, it is a LAW. Treat your calendar as sacred ground, you write down the things you need to do, and pending a natural disaster, you get them done.
As for all the things you “might need” or the things that you need someday but not right now, find a way to store them so that they will be there and ready when you need them.
Just got your w-2 but you won’t be filing your taxes for another 2 months? Write a date on the calendar that you will do your taxes, and files your taxes somewhere in a file that you will be able to find again. It doesn’t need to be complicated, just a folder or a special drawer for things you will need in the future is all you need. Suddenly the feeling of guilt from not doing your taxes vanishes and you are free to focus on other things until the date to file your taxes arrives.
Clutter is not some sign of brilliance, although it does take a lot of mid power to manage a huge ball of madness, the real sign of brilliance is someone who understand the importance of freeing their mind to focus on the important tasks in their day and spend less time looking for things, putting off projects, and feeling guilty about procrastinating.
Get rid of what you don’t need, store what you need for the future, assign everything a place, and assign your tasks on a calendar that tell you what you need to do each day.
These simple tasks take some time to implement, but they pay off exponentially over time, I mean, I have saved at least 4 hours searching for keys over the last 2 months (ok that might be an over exaggeration), but I know you will save time and energy as well.
Do you already have a system in place, what things and tips have helped you become more organized? Please feel free to leave a comment below and pass on your knowledge to others for their own journey. And please join us on facebook or give this article a share if you liked it!