Is your home a total mess? Are your clothes all over the floor? Does the kitchen keep piling up with dirty dishes? Do you feel overwhelmed and sad about the lack of control you have over your life? Maybe you have tried several times to get everything under control, but after a few days or weeks, things start to fall apart; if you want to learn how to become and stay organized, this article is for you.
I don't think people are born organized, some probably are keener to be organized due to particular personality traits, but we all can learn and perfect our organization skills.
I want to go into full detail about the organization and some simple ways to maintain it over time healthily and realistically that you will be able to apply to every area of your life, giving you more extra time and mental peace.
Let's be honest for a second, organizing is not fun, and even if you find it enjoyable, there are so many other things you could do with your time that is more fulfilling, like taking online courses or creating new income sources.
If you want to be tidier but are scared to try Marie Kondo's method, then you should start here and follow these simple rules for those who want a more straightforward fix.
But before we jump into the tips, let's shed some light on some common questions about the organization.
What is the difference between organization and order?
Although similar, both definitions complement each other but mean different things; let's see the difference between them.
Order is simply the way things are placed, but it doesn't refer to objects alone; it can be people or even time events.
On the other hand, the organization is a system or logical criteria applied to achieve specific goals or objectives. Hence, an organization in the context we are seeing is a system that will help us be tidier, cleaner, productive, and time-efficient.
Even though we define what organization is, you must remember that it is not just about finding the right system or just cleaning and organizing; it's about finding a plan that will let you maintain your organization over time.
Is organizing difficult?
I wouldn't say it isn't easy, but the energy and time-consuming. I know it sounds terrible, but we have to keep it real here.
Especially at the beginning, you will find it draining to organize everything, but things will get better as you move forward.
Imagine if you didn't keep up with your home's cleaning. Eventually, everything would become harder to clean, or if you didn't correctly fold or hang your clothes, they would fall each time you open the closet doors.
The more you procrastinate, the more chaos will happen, and it becomes a vicious circle, with terrible consequences to your mental and physical health and your relationships.
Why should you become more organized?
Now that we understand what the organization is and how important it is to maintain let's see some of the issues you might face if you don't start getting your stuff together.
Affects your focus level
Have you ever tried to work on a crowded desk? You may have noticed how hard it is to maintain focus in that scenario. Several studies show our brain is only capable of focusing when there are no additional visual distractions around.
Increases your depression levels
Disorganization works both ways; it can trigger your depression, or being depressed can lead to becoming less organized; either way, finding the courage to organize will help shift your mindset and move from a stuck state.
Increases stress levels
People with many unfinished projects, or a lot of stuff everywhere, are more prone to fatigue and stress.
You might develop more unhealthy habits
Humans are creatures of habit, and like we can keep good habits, we can also do bad ones; the big issue with disorganization is that it can become a habit and drag more problems along the way.
If you manage to organize your kitchen and pantry, eventually, you will start organizing your dining room and living room.
Higher risk of wasting money
Let me give you an example; let's say a disorganized person goes shopping for socks, but as soon as he arrives home, notice that he had four pairs of socks that a pile of clean unfolded clothes.
Or a person goes to the supermarket to buy some pantry supplies, and when she arrives home, realizes she had everything but out of sight, and the one thing she forgot to put on her list, is actually missing.
The big issue with disorganization is that it is challenging to keep track of what we have because we have no clue where everything is.
Thus, it is common to see in disorganized homes duplicates of everything, especially in the kitchen and home office.
When your surroundings are chaotic, you become chaotic.
The organization gives a sense of control, maybe it's not always full control, but this good feeling can help us achieve more ambitious goals, as we can focus our attention and energy on them.
Are you looking to make a significant change, here are some benefits of becoming more organized to motivate you further.
What are the benefits of organization?
People who make a habit of making their beds as soon as they wake up will achieve more goals throughout the day; it feels as if making the bed is a small task that will set your mind on the right track; besides, there is nothing more rewarding than sleeping on a made bed.
It helps you stay healthy
Organizing consumes energy because we have to move around to place everything where it belongs and clean. This activity is ideal for shedding a bit of calories, especially if your work requires you to sit for many hours each day.
Helps to achieve goals
Just like working out, when you have a set schedule, a routine to follow, and a tracking system of the progress made, a person is more likely to be constant and succeed in the end.
Promotes healthier habits
Think about it; a clean kitchen will inspire you to cook, while a dirty and cluttered one will scare you away and tempt you to order fast food; besides, keeping a neat kitchen reduces food waste and saves you money, a win-win situation.
Boosts your mood
Knowing where everything is when you need them will give you energy. We all have stressed at some point because we couldn't find a particular item, but if you switch to be more organized, it will be less likely to happen.
Why is it difficult to be organized?
There can be plenty of reasons why you can have a hard time organizing, but deep down, they are all excuses to keep you in a disorganized state.
These are some of the most common excuses.
You forget how good it feels to be organized
For some people, disorganization is so intertwined in their lives that they forgot what it is like to be more organized.
And in fact, some people are capable of navigating through the chaos and find everything. Still, there are plenty of layers to organization. On the one hand, some extreme organizers organize even the junk drawers; on the other side of the spectrum too messy people who have kitchen gadgets in the bathroom.
Between these opposite sides exist many shades; choose the one that feels more comfortable to you, organization doesn't have to be extreme. Still, it would help if you had some degree of organization to make your life a bit easier.
You have more than what you need
This is one of the most significant issues most households have multiples of multiple things, open your kitchen drawers; how many spatulas or can openers are there? How many shoes do you own? And what about all those personal hygiene products you never use?
Humans tend to hoard, but if we let hoarding take over, you will not only waste money but time and energy to organize, clean, and keep track of everything, which results in unnecessary extra stress.
You feel lazy
After you get home from a long and tiring day of work, you see the dirty dishes, dirty clothes, and general chaos; the last thing you want to do is start organizing, saying to yourself, "I'll do it on the weekend." Still, the weekend arrives, and all you want to do is relax, so nothing happens.
And sadly, the history of procrastination repeats each day and week, more chaos accumulates, and you become less likely to fix the mess.
5 Step quick organization method
This is a simple guide to declutter your home; use this five-step guide as a way to achieve small goals and work towards a fully organized home; you don't (and probably can't) do it all in one day.
Set a 15 minutes timer and focus your attention on one area; it can be a room or something as small as a dresser or your desk.
Once the timer ends, you should have finished something to focus your next 15 minutes of focus on something else, but as you progress, you have to commit to maintaining the organization in the areas you went through.
The first step is by far the hardest, but trust me, as soon as you begin, you will feel good about yourself.
You should create three categories, use baskets or any container to place things in each one; these categories are: keep, discard, and unsure.
Besides the obvious things you might find yourself stuck with some objects between your hands, remember you only have 15 minutes to get it done, so to help make the process go quicker, ask yourself these questions:
Would I repurchase this?
Would I gift this to a loved one?
When was the last time I used this?
These simple questions should help you point to a clear answer; if you believe this item might be useful shortly, place it in the third category.
Don't place everything there; otherwise, it defeats the purpose we are trying to achieve here; be honest with yourself.
Often, we tend to hoard things for different reasons; they could help create our identity, are gifts from loved ones, or are just sad to see something go that cost you a lot of money.
But the material things mustn't define who we are, and when you realize this, you will start to cherish personal value from within.
If you are too sad to see something go, take some photos of said item, this way, you can go back to it whenever you want without the guilt of discarding it and taking less space in your home.
Group and rehome
A phrase I like is 'everything should have a within your home.'
Because it's so true, by giving each item a place where it can be, you will always be aware of everything you have, and it doesn't have to follow a set of rules; you should organize things in the way that best works for your lifestyle.
Remember we have 15 minutes, so don't try to be perfect when finding the right home for each item; you will perfect this later.
These two go hand in hand, and if you already emptied the drawer, why not take that extra step and clean it, this way you will achieve two things at once, use a microfiber cloth or any old shirt that can't be donated, make sure is cotton. It doesn't have any detail that may damage or scratch your surfaces.
You don't need any particular cleaning product either; use a homemade solution of white vinegar, water, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional) to create a cheap all-purpose cleaner.
Create a schedule
The timer should have gone off by now, so what should you do now that you manage to organize one spot in your home? Easy we have to create a schedule to keep organizing other areas/rooms.
Just grab a piece of paper or create a digital document; you have to define which days of the week and for how long you will organize. You can be as ambitious as you want, but the key is creating this schedule will keep you accountable for your progress.
You can create a schedule focusing your attention on a room and dividing it into smaller spots, for example, the kitchen.
Kitchen: spice racks, pantry, fridge, utensil drawers, cookware, etc.
This way, you will know what to do when it's time to declutter and won't waste time wondering what to do next.
For some areas like the kitchen, 15 minutes is too little; in that case, you can extend it to 30 minutes, don't go crazy, and exhaust yourself.
In the beginning, you should aim for at least two times a week, and as more progress is achieved, you can go for once a week.
Check every once in a while
You should always keep track of the areas that have been organized to reduce the chance of disorganization; without this, you will enter a never-ending cycle.
The more you keep track of your areas, the more natural it will feel; this way, you will get used to the organization and notice something is out of place quickly.
If the area you previously organized is messy again, don't fret; write it down and tackle it on your next organizing day; it might be more comfortable than the first time, as you have a clear idea of what you want and need in that space.
An excellent trick to keep motivated is to treat yourself after each goal, avoid anything unhealthy or unuseful; you can go out for dinner or buy your favorite coffee.
You can even treat yourself with material rewards, as long as they serve a purpose, like matching containers or new wooden hangers, something that will make your home look nicer but will be used.
These steps will not guarantee that you will become an organization expert but will make a noticeable change to your living space; you will feel good about yourself and will want to continue organizing and decluttering.
Remember all the benefits of being organized, so whenever you feel like not doing anything, it motivates you.
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