How to See Fast Results When Organizing

Organizing your home, office, or car can be daunting.  Even when you get going, it can be hard to see the results you want any time soon.  Get visible and oh-so-satisfying results for your efforts with these easy tips:

Create instant gratification.

Choose a mess that’s driving you absolutely nuts.  Perhaps you go crazy when you sit down to work at your paper-strewn desk, or you pull your hair out whenever you dig through the mess in your purse.  If you tackle a disorganized area with which you do battle frequently, you’ll have the sheer pleasure of interacting with a newly-organized space next time.

Don’t wander.

Pick a spot to organize and stick to it.  Stay in the disorganized location until you’ve completed your task.  Only then should you grab the pile of stuff that belongs in the kitchen instead of the family room to put it away.  Otherwise, you may wind up distracted by kitchen chaos (or the fridge) and lose your momentum in organizing the family room.

Don’t take a trip down memory lane.

Has this happened to you?  You’re cleaning out your junk drawer and wind up sifting through individual receipts in a pile you find there.  You’re tidying up your bedroom but lose hours when you sit down to read the years of magazines and greeting cards you find stashed under your bed.

A big obstacle to organizing is the potential to get sucked into a black hole of time wasting.

Don’t turn your task of organizing your space into organizing only a subset of the items in that space.

Here’s how that plays out:  When you run into that receipt pile in your junk drawer, see whether it’s something you can deal with quickly.  (Maybe they’re all business receipts you need to file or useless receipts you can chuck.)  If you realize that organizing the receipts is a chore unto itself, make it a separate project . . . for another day.

File the receipts away for now — not in the junk drawer — and schedule receipt organization for a future time in your planner.  Then get back to your drawer organization project.

Categorize and label.

Since you’re not wandering the house relocating individual items one at a time, you’ll need to create some temporary organization in the area you’re de-cluttering.

Create clearly-categorized piles.  To make those piles easily transportable, consider using bins for each pile.

Some categories you might use are Trash, Recycle, Donate, Relocate to Living Room, Read Later, File, Clean, Fold, Pay/Sign, and more.  Categorize the stuff you plan to return to the space you’re organizing as well: Top Shelf, Bottom Shelf, Drawer, Closet Rod, etc.

Be sure to label your piles so that you don’t lose track of what’s where.  Once you’ve organized your space, start relocating the piles accordingly.

Use Post-It notes liberally.

Post-It notes are fantastic for labeling your piles of stuff in the midst of your organizing session.  They’re also superb for saving time on individual items.

If you go to the bother of picking up a bill, looking it over, noting the due date, and putting it into your pile of bills to pay, why would you spend time repeating that process when you go through your bill pile later?  Don’t force yourself to reassess items.

Stick a Post-It directly onto the bill that says “Pediatrician bill: Pay online by May 31st and file.”  If you want to up your game, add to each Post-It note an estimate of the time it will take to deal with that item.

It’ll be easy later to pick up your bill-paying pile and quickly rifle through to tally the total time you’ll need to contend with it.  Then you can block off the appropriate number of minutes in your schedule to decimate that pile.

Now enjoy your organized space!


This post was republished by BlogHer on July 5, 2016.

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