Spend a few minutes on any organized blog ( or watching any of the hundreds of organizing channels on Youtube) and it’s not hard to start FOMO-ing. We all love living in working in neat, organized spaces, but sometimes the organizing skill comes a little harder earned. Discover the 10 habits of highly organized people that can help you get organized too!
1. Write Down EVERYTHING
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: write things down. We deal with so many decisions and facts throughout the day, that there’s simply not room for it all. Don’t risk losing things between the cracks. Get a personal planner or small diary / journal and use it to write down everything: schedules, to-do lists, projects, ideas. EVERYTHING. Ask any organizing genius and this will be the first thing they tell you to do. You’re not a superhero, so don’t try to be!
As always, I recommend any of the planners from the DailyGreatness Journals line. Not only are they a great way to keep up with all your “Must-Do’s”, but they also include mindfulness exercises, fitness plans, business plans and a whole entire array of other specialized concentrations. They’ll help you stay on track and will also help keep you focused and motivated.
The 2 Week Experiment: For one week, take 5 minutes each night trying to recall the events of your day and everything you did and accomplished. Do this at the end of the day and record it in a journal.
On the second week, use your journal as a planner and record everything throughout the day, as if you were a mega-successful CEO. At the close of 2 weeks, compare the 2 logs. Were you more successful when you were keeping a written record?
2. Learn to Love Schedules and Deadlines
What does every highly organized person have in common with the others? They don’t waste time. They have discovered that being organized and staying organized is directly correlated to staying productive. But how can they stay so on top of things? By setting schedules, deadlines and goals…and sticking to them!
If you’re living a more cluttered lifestyle, you simply aren’t taking full advantage of your time and opportunities, and most importantly, you aren’t giving yourself the time or the space to set deadlines and achieve your goals.
The Bucket List Experiment: Write down a list of all the things you want to accomplish in your life. Then, beside those things, write down the things you need to achieve those things. Start making a plan. What are the short term goals you can achieve for your dreams? What are the long term goals?
3. Leave Procrastination at the Door
The longer you leave an issue or problem, the more difficult it becomes to resolve. Dump the procrastination monster and try being more proactive. When a task or difficulty presents itself, deal with it immediately (if at all possible) and don’t move on until it is fully resolved.
It Only Takes One Experiment: Think of one thing that you need to accomplish. Write it down, then write down what you need to do to complete that task. Is it something you can do right now?
4. A Place for Every Thing and a Thing for Every Place
Give everything in your home an assigned living space. It doesn’t matter if that living place is that one linen closet in the hallway, just beneath the board games, or in the attic or garage. From the biggest item in your home to the smallest, give everything a home and make sure that the item returns there immediately after use.
If you use the item frequently, give it an easy-to-access spot, while more infrequently used items can be stored in harder-to-reach areas without causing too much inconvenience.
Reorganizing Experiment: As an experiment, choose one place in your home that you can re-organize. If there are scattered items, then group them together. Once you’ve sorted everything, find or make a “home” for similar items, label the “homes,” and put them in the proper places. For example, a cup holder for your pens and pencils should go in an easily accessible place, but the rarely used craft materials can be stored out of sight.
5. Regular Declutter
We are creatures of habit and no habit dies harder than filling our homes with things, things, things. Make sure you declutter regularly (at least 1x per year). A great time to declutter is the transition from Winter into Spring. As the warm weather swoops in, get rid of clothes and household items that you haven’t worn or used in 6 months or more.
Of course, the most organized people perform regular declutter sessions once a week or more. Things don’t stay organized on their own, it takes hard work and commitment to keep your home looking spotless and organized.
Try It Experiment: For one week, schedule a 15 minute declutter session at least 3x. At the end of the week, stop and assess. How does your home look? How do you feel?
6. Do You Really Need That?
More stuff means more clutter. People who live organized lives only keep what they need and what they really really want. Having fewer things also means that you enjoy those things more and feel better about using everything you own, rather than letting half of what you own collect dust.
Have you ever felt like you don’t have the space to keep all the stuff you own? Instead of renting a storage unit or buying a larger home, get rid of some things.
Donation Station Experiment: write down the number of things you think you actually need. Then, write a list of all the things that you own. If the number of things you actually own exceeds your ideal need list, then it’s time to organize. Donate or recycle things you no longer need, or sell them on sites like eBay for extra cash.
7. Have A Declutter Plan of Attack
Half of the battle when it comes to ridding yourself of excess clutter is having a plan to dispose of it. Know where to discard your unused and unwanted items. That could mean knowing where your local charity donation center is. You can also sell unused items through sites like Craigslist or eBay to make a little extra cash for the year ahead!
Get Out The Experiment: choose one space in your house to purge. Go through shelves, drawers, and boxes. Everything you find that you don’t need, set aside. Make a pile of things to maybe keep, which you can go through later, and a pile of things to discard now. Then find a way to kick those things out the door immediately.
8. Walk Away From the Bargain Bin
Usually, there’s not much that we actually need. Most purchases are inspired from a simple desire versus an actual necessity. That’s not to say you can’t still spend money. Feel free to shop for bargains, but before you even head for that outlet store, make sure you make a list of the things you actually need. Buy only those things and don’t let yourself deviate from the list.
The Shopping Experiment: Go to a shopping mall with no money. Just look at all the things on sale that you wish you could buy if you had brought your wallet or purse. If you find nothing, then good for you. If you made a list, then keep that list somewhere and look at it a month from now. If you still want it, then it’s safe to buy.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
Organized people are people that aren’t afraid to delegate the tasks they don’t have time for or just can’t manage. Whether you live with a roommate or two, or have a budding family under tow, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks you need help getting done. If you really want to lead an organized life, you can’t let yourself get overwhelmed by tasks, schedules and to-dos.
Delegation Experiment: Look at your to-do list or make one. Go through the list and find one task that you can remove from your list or give to someone else. Now feel the stress of having to do it fall away.
10. Work Hard, Stay Committed
Most organized people put in a little effort. Actually, most organized people put in a lot of effort when necessary. Once you have delegated responsibilities and made a schedule, then you can organize what you have to do and when you can do it. Staying organized is not all a breeze. It requires that you work hard with recognition that when you work harder, you can enjoy your clutter-free home life later.
The 10% Experiment: Work 10% harder once when you feel like giving up today.