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Congratulations! You did it! You got your home and life decluttered and organized! Why aren’t you celebrating? Are you worried you won’t be able to keep it that way? Here are eleven simple habits to help you stay organized.
Getting organized wasn’t an easy process. Especially since you had other family members that were resistant to your efforts. It took a ton of blood, sweat, and tears to get through it, but you did it.
The decluttering process alone was enough to warrant a family counseling session. Then there was all the cleaning before you even got to the organizing part.
Once the cleaning was all done, you were finally able to move on to the organizing part.
Once that was done, your sense of accomplishment was short-lived, and the terror set in. Now you’re worried that you’ll be right back to square one in six months because that’s what always happens.
Let’s change that. Try these eleven simple habits to help you stay organized.
1. Use a Planner to Organize Your Day
Keep a planner or schedule of some kind so you can keep track of the major activities for each day. You don’t have to be a planner superhero and schedule every last minute of your day, just make note of important appointments so you’re not late or missing anything.
This can be as simple as a calendar on the wall, or as in-depth as a time-blocked day planner. If you’re really tech-savvy, you can use a digital calendar on your smartphone.
It also helps to keep track of your meal plan on the same calendar so you can plan appropriately according to the time you have available each day. You can immediately see which days will present a challenge at mealtime.
Do what works best for you, but do try to use a planner or schedule of some kind. You should check your planner as part of your evening routine so you’re prepared for the next day and not rushing around in the morning.
2. Write ‘To Do’ Lists
I know, it’s so mundane, but keeping a ‘to do’ list will help you keep everything under control. It’ll help you prioritize and accomplish the important tasks instead of focusing on the less important ones.
Keep a running list of all of the things that need to get done eventually, but pick the three most important ones to add to your calendar each day. You can also categorize your list if that helps you keep it all under control.
I keep a running To-Do list and prioritize by highlighting with colored markers. My favorite part of a To-Do list is marking off the completed items! I’ll even add an item to the list after its’ done, just to mark it off!!! If you do it, you should get credit right?!
3. Deal with Paperwork Immediately
Nothing makes an area look cluttered and messy faster than a random bunch of paperwork. It only takes one gnarly stack of paperwork to make a space look like a total wreck.
Take care of your paperwork the minute it enters the house. Put bills in a space designated for “Need to Pay”. Recycle junk mail, and shred personal information and statements that you no longer need.
Try Creating a Command Center to help you tame and maintain your household paperwork.
4. Make Your Bed
Make your bed as soon as you get up every morning. Seriously, it truly makes a difference. Making the bed every morning starts your day off with an accomplishment, and it makes the room look clean.
If the room looks clean, you’re more likely to keep it that way. That freshly made bed provides a visual cue that reminds you to keep other things picked up.
If you don’t make the bed, your dirty clothes lying on the floor fit right in. Next thing you know, there’s a huge pile of laundry on the floor and you’re annoyed with the mess.
But Tanya, I hate making the bed and it’s such a waste of time because I’m just going to mess it up again tonight! I get it, but it really doesn’t have to be such a big deal.
If you really hate making the bed that much, simplify it. Extra pillows and throws make the bed look cozy, but they’re a pain when it’s time to make the bed. Get rid of them and just keep what you actually need and use.
My bed has two pillows, one sheet set, and one comforter. I fluff the pillows, pull the sheets tight, and pull the comforter up. Voila – bed made in less than five minutes.
5. Designate a Place for Everything
Give every item a home of its own. Think of where and how you normally use the item and where you’d look if you were trying to find it. Try to identify the logical place to store it.
Having a specific place for everything makes it easier to find, and hopefully easier for everybody to put away.
If you really can’t find a specific place for an item to call home, it’s time to reconsider how important it is to have that item. If you’re having that much trouble finding a specific home for an item, chances are you don’t really use or need it.
6. Organize by Point of Use
Store things that you use often as close to their point of use as possible. It’ll be easier to find what you need when you need it and easier to put it away as soon as you’re done with it.
For example, think about seasonings. If you store your seasonings in the pantry on the other side of the kitchen, you’ll have to carry them back and forth every time you use them. You’ll be more likely to just leave them sitting on the counter when you’re finished.
If you store them in the cupboard right next to your stove, you’re more likely to put them away where they belong as you finish using each one.
Dishes and silverware are also good examples. They’re best located somewhere near the dishwasher and sink. As each person finishes eating, they can quickly rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher It’s also more convenient to put them all away once they’re clean.
7. Clean as You Go
Clean as you go will be a total game-changer for keeping your home organized.
No matter what the task is, clean up as you go. When you finish with something, immediately put it away if possible.
Take cooking dinner for example, while the meal is cooking, you can take care of any dishes that were used for the preparation. By the time dinner is on the table, most of the cleanup will be done, and what’s left will only take a few minutes.
If you drop something on the floor, pick it up right away. If you clean your floors as they get dirty, it won’t take nearly as long to clean them on their designated days.
8. Do the Dishes
If you have a dishwasher, run it at night after dinner, then unload and put everything away in the morning.
Waking up to dirty dishes sitting in the sink is a quick way to a bad day. Not only does it create a mess in the sink, but they could also get stinky depending on how dirty they are.
Since there are only 2 of us in my household, we rinse our dishes and load the dishwasher right away, but we only run it every couple of days. Figure out what schedule works best for you.
9. Organize and Control Dump Zones
When you notice stuff piling up in the same places, enlist the offenders to help clean it up immediately and to help come up with ideas for permanent solutions.
Dump zones typically occur near entrances, in bedrooms, and next to favorite chairs.
10. Make a Tidying Walk Through
Make one complete walkthrough of the entire house before sitting down to relax for the night. Put away any items that are where they don’t belong.
Better yet, get the whole family involved. After a couple of weeks of reminding everybody, it should become a habit that’s part of everybody’s evening routine.
11. Practice Self-Care
Last but definitely not least, make sure you practice some self-care. Self-care is your chance to relax and refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
Read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, go for a run, meditate, whatever your preference is, you need to take care of yourself if you’re going to take care of everybody and everything else.
Most people long to be organized, but don’t like the process of organizing. It’s a difficult and ongoing process that doesn’t end just because you filled out your planner for the week, lined up the books on your shelf, and put your pasta in a pretty basket. It has to be maintained.
Use a planner to keep your days and meals organized and maintain a to-do list so important tasks aren’t forgotten. Make your bed as soon as you get up so you’re more likely to keep the room clean.
Designate a place for everything and try to keep that place as close to the point of use as possible. Deal with mail and paperwork immediately instead of letting it pile up into a huge mess.
Make your bed and clean as you go including dishes and dump zones. Make a final walk through your house to tidy up at the end of the evening, and most importantly practice self-care.
Adding these eleven simple habits to your daily routine will help you stay organized and sane.