Getting organized is tough. I should know after two years of moving around in grad school. A lot of the time, I would get home from class at around eight or nine o’clock at night. Not having eaten anything since lunch, I usually elected to just toss my things (notebooks for class, papers to be graded, and handouts from talks that I’d been to) all over my living room and call it a day.
I’m sure many of you are in similar situations. Sure, getting organized is nice and your parents always made you clean your room, but who has time for that now? Well here’s the truth: you don’t have enough time to get organized because you aren’t organized!
Health and Organization
As it seems to be with everything that’s difficult, living an organized lifestyle can improve your health. Psychologists are saying that being organized can have a ton of health benefits. Basically, it’s like this: organizing your life creates less stress and a less-stressed mind is a healthy mind. When we organize, we reduce stress by identifying the areas of our lives that are out of balance, we increase our productivity, and we gain more control over our lives, rather than just feeling like we’re along for the ride.
If that’s not enough, there’s some evidence that just getting organized itself has therapeutic qualities.
That’s the why, but, as they say, knowing is only half the battle. Here are some great tips on how to get organized.
1. Organize Responsibly
Although not quite an organization tip in its own right, this is still hugely important. Too often, it’s tempting to just throw every loose item in the trash and call it a day. Do not do this! Your junk can still do some good for someone else. If you’re not quite sure what to do with your clutter, here’s a great guide on how to declutter and do good.
Not only does decluttering responsibly help others, it also helps you. By dividing up your organization projects into specific domains (e.g. today’s an old clothing day, today’s a recyclable paper day…) you can start to manage your workload like an organizing pro!
2. Plan a Major Offensive on Your Clutter
While you’re no General Eisenhower and your home is likely not a beach in France, you can still benefit from planning a major attack. If you’re like me, then your clutter isn’t likely to budge without a serious decluttering effort. One great way to do this is to join in on the annual spring cleaning fun, but really any time that you can sit down, seriously evaluate what needs to be done, make a plan to get organized, and execute it is great. And just like the Allied powers, you don’t have to do all of that at once.
3. Develop Tools to Stay Organized
Take comfort if you’re totally disorganized — it might not be entirely your fault. After all, it’s difficult to keep things straight when they naturally want to spread out into a completely mess. In order to get organized and really stay organized, you need infrastructure in place to support your endeavor.
Don’t worry, though. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Something as simple as a set of bins can set you straight. If you want to feel like a pro, try investing in a set of small lockers. Set a particular task or domain to a region of lockers and then get more specific for individual ones. For example, I teach music lessons and that involves me going back and forth between a lot of sheet music. I could set up a locker for early student method books, one for Classical era pieces, for Romantic sonatas, and so on. If you’re poor like me, then don’t worry. You can get old lockers at a discount if you’re thrifty.
4. Get Rid of Big Items
We’ve all got them — heavy pieces of junk that we can’t seem to get rid of. For some of us, it’s an old fridge that stopped working last summer, a collection of old televisions from the ‘90s, or a cheap department store dresser that has since turned into a heap of particle board plans. For my parents, it was a second washer and dryer set that just sort of… existed in the laundry room for about a decade.
Whatever’s holding you down, don’t be afraid to get some help to get it taken care of. Not every decluttering project is one that you have to tackle all by yourself.
These are some of my tips for following the science and getting healthy through organization. Let me know how your decluttering projects go!
Featured photo credit: freestock.org via unsplash.com