We all want to get more organized; have our lives a little more sorted. We dream of a state of structured bliss which will help us to think, plan and act more clearly.

For years I longed to be organized and to know where I could find things. I wished I knew where to put the things that I left lying around. My house was a mess, my head even worse.

Little by little I saw the light (literally). I removed the clutter and organized myself in such a way that my disorganization no longer hindered my success. Here are some of the ideas that I have found to work and that I still use in my day to day life.

1. Eliminate surplus

The less you have the less you need to organize. It’s as simple as that. Do an audit of all your possessions. Count how many towels you have, how many sheets, how many cups, bags, pairs of shoes. When you do you will be surprised at the results. Think about how many of each item you really need. When I started to reduce these objects in my house, it reduced the amount of work I needed to do. Less washing, less organizing, less stress.

2. Reduce the incoming

Stop buying unnecessary objects. Don’t shop as a past time; shop when you need something. Before you make any purchase ask yourself “do I really need it”? By reducing the amount of shopping you do you will keep your life more simple and save cash at the same time. When we see things in front of us we believe that we need them. The best solution is to avoid malls, shops and catalogs as much as possible.

3. Storage solutions

If you take my advice in point 1 and 2 you should have less stuff to organize and store. The more you remove from your life the less you need to organize. Plan the storage required. Don’t buy too much or you will end up filling it again.

4. Go paperless

I always thought this an unnecessary solution to organizing until I started using Evernote. I have started to move towards a paperless office. It takes some time to set up and get going but I believe it’s worth it in the end. Having everything stored electronically reduces the amount of filing cabinets needed to store documents and allows for speedy retrieval. It’s great for someone who is constantly on the go and needs to have documents at hand wherever they are. Lauren Rothlisberger from getmegeeky.com explains how she went paperless in her book A Mom’s Guide to Evernote.

5. Create positive habits

Create little routines for tidying and organizing. Fold clothes while the children are in the bath. Tidy your desk while you are on the phone. I know I’m not an advocate of multitasking but when you are doing tasks that don’t need mental attention it’s ok to do two at the same time. Make sure you call in the help of all those who live in your house and help them create positive habits too. Everyone should help to clean the kitchen after a meal. All toys should be tidied away before bedtime.

6. Use a Task List

You need to have somewhere to write it all down. A place to put reminders, notes and to-dos. There are many good apps on the market. Check out Mike Vardy’s list of 50 Productivity apps for iPhone or the list of cross-platform productivity tools and chose one that suits your way of working.

7. Plan it

A calendar is also an essential piece of kit. It never ceases to amaze me how few people use a calendar to plan their weekly tasks. Many who do use a calendar, only use it to plan appointments and meetings, never to schedule time with themselves to complete a certain task. Don’t forget what gets scheduled gets done!

8. Use Checklists

Checklists are great time savers. If you create a checklist once you will never have to repeat the work again. Create checklists for holidays, for business trips, for weekly chores or back to school tasks. Get your kids to use checklists, saves repetitive reminders to brush teeth, tidy toys etc. Checklists can be created in Evernote or on your PC in any app and print one out each time you need to check things off.

9. The Mind Download

This is one of the most useful exercises that I do regularly to help me feel more focused and productive. I dump everything from my mind onto paper and organize it into my system. This helps to ensure nothing gets forgotten and frees up mental space for more creative things.

Implement one of these tips today and you will take one step closer to being awesomely organized.

(Photo credit: Interior fashionable room via Shutterstock)

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