My Best Organizational Secrets Revealed
Do you have closets that are crammed full of things you haven’t used in years or a basement full of boxes stuffed with random things? I promise you’re not alone. Most people dream of living in an organized space, but few of us are able to achieve it. If you’ve chosen to read this article, I would wager that you’re one of the many Americans who needs to get organized. What follows are my best kept secrets to help you achieve organizational bliss.
Most people look for the most convenient spot to drop their stuff, such as the kitchen island, and that becomes the collective dumping ground for the household. Multiply this habit by months or years and you’ll feel like you’ve dug yourself into a bottomless pit of despair. That’s about to change, though, because today you’re going to take the first step in digging yourself out. So pick a room, any room, and that’s where we will start!
Step 1: Location, Location, Location
Start by grabbing a paper and pencil to log an inventory of everything in the room. Your inventory list might look like it came from an aisle of a thrift store, but that’s okay. Now sit down with your list and organize it into categories. I find it easiest to color code my list by using a different colored highlighter for each grouping. Just remember that you’re going to group things together based on the way you use them. Just for fun, let’s say your favorite way to decompress after a long day is to do crossword puzzles in the bath. That could translate into a grouping that includes, bath bombs, crossword puzzle books, pencils, erasers and maybe a lighter for your favorite scented candle. Obviously this is a somewhat unusual collection of items, as these things don’t naturally make sense together for most people. However, if a person frequently uses them together, then all of it should go together in the same location. While it may feel odd at first, I find that one of the best ways to organize your life is to plan around your own usage patterns.
Step 2: Container Creativity
Now that you have all your stuff grouped, it’s time to find a storage place in your home for each grouping. Remember, everything needs a home; that way you know exactly where to put it when you’re done with it. You might decide to buy a few handy storage bins. Or maybe you need to get some drawer dividers or little baskets to keep your items in their proper group. As an affordable alternative, consider using empty shoe boxes to store things in a closet. They stack up nicely and can easily be labeled with a relevant title. Remember that it’s okay to decide that an item or an entire grouping really belongs in a different room. And don’t forget that donating items you don’t use anymore is a great way to pare down an overcrowded space.
Step 3: Tidy-Time Alarm
Once you have a room organized, it’s critical that you honor the plan and all the hard work you put into your organizational system. It’s very easy to fall back into your old routines of dropping things anywhere that’s convenient. After all the time you put into getting your space organized, you surely don’t want to go back to your old ways. So when you’re done using an item, put it back in its proper bin, shelf or basket. I recommend adding a daily alarm on your cell phone for an evening tidy-time. Use this reoccurring daily alarm to designate a 15 minute pick-up period. Then if you lost your way during the day, you can take a few minutes at night to get things back in their proper place. If you have kids, get them involved in your evening tidy-time ritual too. It’s a great way to teach them responsibility for their things and build organization skills that will serve them throughout their life!
Have your own organizational tips? I'd love to hear them! Please share your best organizational strategies in the comments below.
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