Getting organized brings big productivity benefits. This week we consider some tips for getting our space and stuff organized.
Getting organized brings big productivity benefits
At the beginning of the year we often think about getting organized. It’s been on my mind in part because between surgery in December, a very busy year-end for my law practice, and then getting sick, I feel like things have gotten out of control–my home, my office, my routines. So these days I’ve felt the urge to get organized, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you about the benefits of–and some tips for–getting organized. (Note: This week we’re specifically looking at getting our space organized. In a later episode this month we’ll talk about getting our time and commitments organized.)
What does it mean to get organized?
Merriam-Webster online dictionary: “to arrange one’s things or one’s affairs so they can be dealt with effectively”
From one blog post on the Blue Key World website, “Genuine organization is taking control of disorder, getting a grip on the chaos and the mess and doing something about it. Arranging disorder into something coherent and logical is what it means to organize.”
From Cindy Rushton’s blog: “Being organized means that you are overcoming the hindrances that keep you from doing all you need to do.”
Clean and neat is not the same thing as organized. As Neena of the Almost Practical website has said, “Any good cleaning service can create a neat and tidy space. But what you need to do to “get organized” is to create a system that you will come to rely upon.”
What are the benefits of being organized?
- You save time–There is less time lost looking for things you can’t find and you can work more efficiently in organized space.
- Reduced stress–again, the stress of not being able to put your hands on something you need, but also well-organized space fosters a sense of calm because things are under control, especially if you’ve also decluttered.
- Your space feels more spacious and welcoming when it’s not cluttered with disorganized piles.
- You can be more productive, in the sense of accomplishing more of the things that matter to you (again because of less lost time and more focus due to reduced stress).
- You boost your confidence. From the previously mentioned Blue Key World blog post:
“On the inside, when it comes to your mental health, keeping an organized lifestyle gives you the motivation and momentum to continue being productive and put forward the effort to get the rest of your life in gear. Once you establish that structure to your life, you reduce the stress of feeling like you don’t have things under control, and this lets you become a more confident version of yourself.”
The writer of the Blue Key World post sums it up well:
“Reducing that feeling of being overwhelmed by the mess allows you to be more productive. An organized environment is a calmer environment and one that promotes the energy to take tasks head-on. You’ll be able to exercise your skills more efficiently with the clutter out of your space and out of your head. And with all that time you save by not having to scramble and find things, you’ll have more time to spend on things that are more important to you.”
A few quick tips for getting organized (specifically thinking about your space and stuff)
- Purge – the less you have, the less you have to organize, clean, store, and maintain
Purging before organizing will save you time and money (fewer bins, baskets, boxes, to buy, and fewer things to organize).
Have a plan for where you’ll take the things you purge
- Clothes to a thrift store or org that serves women
- Towels to an animal shelter
- Toys to Ronald McDonald house, church daycare, or shelter for abused women
To make it easy to purge in an ongoing way, I keep a box in the garage where we can put things to donate as we come across them. When the box is full, it goes into my car trunk or my husband’s truck to be dropped off at a donation site next time we go out.
- Use an approach that works for you and your schedule
- Kon Mari – a method developed by Marie Kondo and popularized in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her approach summarized is to gather every item in a specific category from everywhere in your home, then touch each item and ask yourself if it sparks joy.
- Modified Kon Mari – maybe gather all the items of a category in a single room
- Room by room–start either with the room that’s giving you the most trouble OR a room that you can do quickly for a quick win.
- Time-blocked organizing — block out time on your calendar to work on this project-maybe an hour on Saturday or 30 minutes each day? When the time comes, set a timer and work on an area you’ve pre-identified.
A quick tip: during your organizing sessions, be prepared with supplies
- Trash bag for things to dispose of
- Box for donation items
- Box or basket (even a laundry basket will do) for things that belong somewhere else. This avoids the distraction of leaving the room to put something away; just toss in the laundry basket and then save a few minutes at the end of your session to quickly carry the basket around to put things in the room, closet, or space they belong in.
- As you organize a space, sort things by categories
This allows you to see how many of each item or type of item you have (maybe can let go of a few) and then you can store them together. Examples:
- Kitchen tools
- Skincare, hair care, cosmetics
- Books (type/subject matter/genre)
- Store things close to where you use them to make your activities more efficient.
- Coffee mugs and pods near the coffee maker
- Baking tools gathered in an area near the oven
- Pens, stamps, envelopes together with bills
- Cleaning supplies near the areas you want to clean. (For example, I keep bathroom cleansers, a sponge, and microfiber cloths in each bathroom to make it quick and easy to clean
- Establish a place for everything and cultivate the habit of regularly putting things back where they belong. This is key to maintaining the organization system once you’ve put it in place.
- Get help
If you feel overwhelmed or have a hard time getting motivated to start (or continue), get some help. Hire a professional organizer if your budget allows, or work out an arrangement with a friend to help you. Search YouTube for organization videos for a little inspiration and some good ideas.
What do you think?
What are your favorite tips for getting your space and stuff organized? Post your suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me.
Resources and Link
- A Point of Light blog
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
- What Does It Mean to Be Organized?
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “ORGANIZED”?
- What Does Being Organized Really Mean?
- What does it mean to be organized?
- TPW083-The Art of Decluttering
- TPW277-10 Things to Declutter
- TPW291-Favorite Tips from Professional Organizers
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