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How To Organize your Life and Stay Organized

Step 1: Decide What Area You Want to Organize First

The best way to organize your home is to pick a trouble area and work on that area only. Make sure that you have enough time to finish that area 100% before going to bed, as leaving the area partially done can cause you to procrastinate the next day. If you don’t think you can tackle it in one day by yourself either enlist family/friends or hire an organizer. Organizers have creative ideas and the dedication to get you in tip top shape on time.

Step 2: Be Realistic and Learn to Let Go

Take everything (yes, everything) out and categorize them according to what they are so you can visually see how much you have of one thing. You need to be brutally honest with yourself at this point. Do you need 14 pairs of jeans when you work in a corporate office 5 days out of the week? With only 4 burners on your stove do you need 8 pots and 10 frying pans? Being realistic helps put things into perspective. Also, if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, most likely you won’t. Keeping things because of the “what if I need it” mentality is why there’s clutter.

Step 3: Everything Has Its Place

Remove items that have no business in that area. Don’t keep screwdrivers in a kitchen drawer, don’t put paperwork on a shelf in your clothes closet, don’t keep your vacuum in the pantry…you get the point. The idea of organizing is to be able to finally find items quickly and creating less stress.

Step 4: “Does It Bring Joy?” Doesn’t Work All the Time

Honestly most things will not bring you joy, but you may need them. The joy question may work for trinkets or clothes, not so much for a drill or broom, but you NEED them. You don’t need 5 brooms and 3 drills and that’s the place you need to come from. Realism. Also, how do you determine if it’s truly joy or sentimentality? I think most things need to be approached in a realistic manner of “do I use or have I used this?” and “does this add or detract from my peace?” Most people desire organization because their lives have been robbed of peace from the amount of stuff they have or spending valuable time trying to find something.

Step 5: Apply the 80/20 Rule

You may not want to admit it, but the majority of clothes you have probably go unworn. It's said that the average American only wears 10 to 20 percent of their clothes. To cut down on the fluff, remove items you haven't worn in a year. Drop off the excess at the charity of your choice. There are many charities that have noble causes whether clothing the homeless or providing services to domestic violence victims, to teen centers that get kids off the street and into healthy surroundings. Think of the feeling to give to a cause you believe in. Your unused clothes could help someone else instead of hanging in the closet gathering dust.

Step 6: Develop Healthy Habits

When you are done organizing, you need to create healthy habits in order for the area not to get back to its original state. For each new item you buy, donate one item from the same space. This will keep your items from growing out of control. You will also need to question EVERY purchase you make. A rule of thumb would be to walk away for 24-hours to think about the necessity of the purchase if there is a major cost. If it is something small, ask yourself if you are purchasing it from a place of emotion or logic. Most of our purchases are done from emotion and are thrown in a corner unused causing clutter. The “I may use it someday” is not a reason to spend your hard earned money or use your precious time maintaining it.

Step 7: Be Diligent

Dedicate time every day to tidying your organized space. When you change, immediately put dirty clothes in the hamper outside your closet or hang up the clothes you’ll wear again in the closet, put your shoes in their space before doing anything else. Put jewelry in its place. Always change in/by your closet so this ritual is easier. Clean while you cook instead of at the end when you’re full of food and tired. Develop a routine. Spending this small amount of time will ensure you never have to go through a major de-clutter again.

Step 8: Treat Yourself / Spend Time with Those you Love

Get a massage, take the family out to dinner, read a book you’ve been meaning to start. Most often the most important things in life are not the material things we have. They are the memories we make with those we love. Once you stop buying stuff from emotion you might find you have more money to experience life and come home to a stress-free home.

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