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How to Organize Your Home

How to Organize Your Home
Organized Home

Organizing your home can be a daunting task when the piles are overflowing, the laundry is scattered, and the office is flooded in papers. Fortunately, there are systems and tools that you can use to organize every room in your house. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Everything has a home.

To keep your life organized and sane, you must assign a home for all of the objects in your house. Have a specific place for your keys, pens, pencils, incoming papers, and mail.

You can do this with a variety of organizing tools, including drawer organizers, shoe racks, magazine racks, filing cabinets, drawers, and shelving units.

You should never just toss stuff in a drawer. Instead, make sure that everything has a proper holding spot. Whenever an item has been removed from its assigned home, make sure that it is immediately returned to its homes when no longer in use.

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Everyone needs a filing system.

A filing cabinet is one of the best organizing tools. They help keep all of your important paperwork organized. File away all of your manuals, your tax information, finance information, school report cards, family documents, etc.

Of course, if you want your filing system to be of any use, you must also label all of your folders based on the items they hold.

Pick up as you go.

One of the keys to keeping an organized home is to pick up as you go. Don’t let the piles of toys, dishes, and paperwork take over. Instead, clean up everything as you go along.

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Do a quick wipe up of the shower each day. Pick up a few things as you’re walking through the house. Spend 15 minutes each day organizing your office. You’ll be surprised at what a huge difference these daily habits can make.

Organize your drawers.

Drawers can become a home of havoc. Although everything might look nice and tidy on the outside, a peek behind the closet or inside the drawers often reveals the truth.

Fortunately, there are simple steps to organizing your drawers.

The first thing you must do is to empty everything out of the drawer. The best way to clean something out is to start with a clean slate. Next, remove all of the unneeded junk from the pile and throw it in the trash. This alone is a big accomplishment.

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Simply clearing out the junk will make things look a lot tidier.

Once you have finished removing all of the junk, go through the remaining items and sort them into 3 piles: stuff you want to keep, stuff you’d like to give away, and stuff that needs to be put somewhere else. One of the best ways to organize these piles is to use large boxes or bags and label them “Keep“, “Move“, “Trash“, and “Donate“.

Now put everything that you want to keep back in the drawer. You should now have a much smaller pile. To keep everything nice and organized, I would recommend getting a drawer organizer. A drawer organizer can be especially useful for organizing office items such as pens, paper, tape, scissors, staples, and paper clips.

This general procedure can be used in almost any part of the house: empty everything out, toss out all junk, create 3-4 piles, and only put back the essentials. Use this 4-step method to clear out the closet, organize your bookshelf, and transform your garage.

Purge

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One of my favorite organizing tips is to dump it! Anything that you haven’t used in the past year probably needs to be thrown away. Throw out those clothes that you never wear. Get rid of the shoes that are 10 years outdated. Give away the books you’ll never read. Do you have kitchen appliances gathering dust? Give it away to Goodwill and gain some valuable counter space. Getting rid of your junk will greatly help organize your home and give you more space.

Keeping your home organized is an ongoing process. However, with the proper systems in place, your home will soon be the talk of the town.

So, what are your best organizing tips? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at The Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 Essential GTD Resources, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need a Braindump, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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