Organizing is one of those activities you want to happen but probably don’t want to take the time to do. Who wants to clean up when you can binge-watch your favorite television series instead?
However, you probably realize deep down that taking the time to get organized can benefit you in the long run. It’s good for your mental health, reduces stress, and inspires you to start other good habits. Here are seven ideas you can use to control the chaos.
Your most important items should be duplicated whenever possible. This rule holds especially true for critical documents. Scan your paper files, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, insurance records, land and car titles, tax forms, and other vital information. Keep them in a secure folder on your hard drive or, better yet, take advantage of cloud computing to access them remotely.
Your photos are priceless, so consider backing them up, too. Older photographs that aren’t digital can be scanned and saved so that even if a disaster takes out the originals, you will still have copies.
You should also make duplicates of your car and house keys and store them securely in case you lose the other set.
Straighten Up the High-Traffic Areas
Your house probably has one or two areas that constantly need attention. The entryway, kitchen table and bathroom counter are likely culprits. Take a few minutes each day to tidy up these areas. Seeing them neat and clean can inspire you to keep organizing other places in your home.
De-Clutter Every Day
While hitting the high-traffic areas, set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and scan the rest of the house. Hang up coats, pick up the TV remotes and straighten the rugs. You can make a dent in the clutter even in a short time.
Use the One-In, One-Out Rule
You’re at the store and find a coat marked down to a clearance price. You love it and know you’ll wear it. You also know you have three other coats at home. Ask yourself: Do you really need another one? If the answer is yes, donate one you already have. In this way, you maintain the number of clothes in your closet. If you don’t want to give up one of your coats, you might not need the new one.
If you apply this one-in, one-out rule to all your belongings — clothes, accessories, kitchen gadgets and other things that tend to multiply — you can prevent yourself from adding more items to maintain.
Check the Expiration Dates
If your medicine cabinet is hard to close, maybe it’s time to go through it. You may be able to make more room by eliminating expired medication. Go through the same process in your kitchen pantry, cabinets, freezer and refrigerator. Throwing out expired items keeps your family safe and organized at the same time.
Make a List for the Weekend
Some tasks are just too big to handle when you come home from work. Keep the big ones for the weekend when you’re well-rested and have more time. You can take care of one drawer or set of shelves, but don’t try to tackle the entire garage in one Monday evening. As a bonus, you may be able to get help from others on the weekend.
Ask for Help
If you really can’t stand the thought of organizing or deep cleaning, reach out. Find a friend or family member to assist you. If you’re lucky, you know someone who enjoys organizing.
A partner holds you accountable and motivates you to keep going, even when you’re ready to give up. It also makes the time pass quicker if you enjoy each other’s company.
Getting organized is a challenge — but maybe it’s not as challenging as living in clutter. The time you spend managing and maintaining your home can pay off with peace of mind and better mental health down the road.