As we spend more time at home (here in Toronto, we just went into a minimum 28-day lockdown), many of us are anticipating using the time to get, and stay, more organized.
Sounds simple enough – more time at home, more time to organize, right?
As much as we want to get organized, there are many obstacles that can get in our way, including time, energy, a clear starting point, and motivation.
However, there are six organizing techniques to help manage these challenges. Try some of them out and notice how they affect your organizing progress:
1. Put Things Away As You Go
This may seem so obvious, but many times we don’t put things back after we use them. In order to carry through on this “simple” task, we must be willing and motivated to make a change in our habits and actions, which take time, effort and focus. Living with other people’s stuff makes this even harder. By picking up items that are not in their proper home, and putting them back, is a small first step to organizing success.
With small success comes greater confidence, which leads to success with bigger projects.
2. Daily Timed Tidying Up (adapted from Time Management Success)
This technique encourages you to do a little bit of organizing every day using a timer. Set your timer for a certain amount of time (I suggest 10 min to start) and in this time, focus on tidying up/organizing one small category of items (ie: all canned goods in your pantry, all pens on your desk, etc.).
The key is to use the technique regularly to build the habit and, in turn, make consistent progress.
3. In With One, Out With One
To effectively manage your physical and mental clutter, you want to eliminate the old when bringing something new. This means donating your old coat when you buy a new one, consolidating packaged goods into one box when you buy more, or deleting digital files when they’re unnecessary.
The key is to do this consistently to decrease clutter, and be better prepared to organize effectively.
4. Touchdown Station
Usually, where we enter and leave our house is a busy zone! One of the best ways to manage this area is to create a drop off/pick-up “Touchdown Station” area where essential items (keys, sunglasses, lip balm, keys, etc.) are kept.
Whether you choose to use a basket, box, shelf, tray or other, putting your important items in one place makes coming and going more streamlined.
The key is to make your Touchdown Station functional and easy to use!
5. Limit Your List (adapted from Mark Forster)
If your to-do list continues to get longer, try this technique to help you focus on accomplishing key tasks, rather than making longer lists! After a certain number of tasks (10 is often a good number), draw a line after those items.
As more items come up, add them below the line, but do not do them until the items above are complete. Anything above the line that is not completed can be recycled to your next list of 10.
The goal is to prevent your to-do list from getting so long that important organizing tasks go unfinished.
6. Plan Organizing Time
Scheduling daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal organizing allows us to mentally prepare for what’s coming and use our time more efficiently. During your scheduled time, break your steps into small chunks. For example, if you want to organize a closet, start with items on the floor, then the hanging ones, followed by all shelf items.
When we don’t plan time to organize, we often haphazardly react by putting things away in temporary locations, which does not lead to lasting organizing success.
By incorporating these six techniques, you can organize more efficiently, accomplish more from your to-do list, and stay motivated to keep making great progress. Remember, taking small steps is key to forming new organizing and decluttering habits.
If you’d like personalized organizing support, I offer free 30-minute clarity calls or you can email me.