Learning how to stay organized may feel like a futile effort. You streamline your systems, set goals, and stick to a plan for a couple days or weeks if you're lucky – but falling off the wagon seems inevitable. Nothing is more disheartening than slowly watching your beautifully organized kitchen slowly turn to chaos, or your neat and orderly living room become one giant catch-all.
Is it even possible to stay organized for the long haul?
I’m here to tell you that you can do it! Yes, you!
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There are two things you need before you learn how to stay organized: some time and some self discipline. Now don't worry, staying organized doesn't have to take hours of tedious and meticulous work every day. The key is forming healthy habits, you know, those things you do every time without thinking. My two kids are toddlers, so most days I still have to remind them to brush their teeth, but by putting in the time and reminders now, they will have the habit of brushing their teeth every morning fully formed by the time they're old enough to do it themselves. The same is true for you! It'll take some reminders and some effort at first, but eventually the habits you build will be as second nature as brushing your teeth!
I’ll let you in on a little secret – habits are the first key to getting organized once and for all. If you want to dive deeper into getting your new habits and systems to stick, be sure to check out my e-course Get Organized Once and For All by clicking here.
If you’re already a Get Organized Once and For All student, or if you’re just looking for a place to start when it comes to getting organized, here are six habits you can implement today to help you stay organized!
How to Stay Organized Habit #1: There’s A Home for Everything
Start with simply finding a place for the things you own. That sounds pretty easy, right? But you may be surprised by the number of “floating” items in your space! Look around. The places that you see clutter are more than likely filled with items that don't have a home. When you have to question where something is supposed to go you're more likely to toss it on the counter to “deal with later.” Give those floating items a home and make sure they go back to it every time – it's like they say, “a place for everything and everything in its place!”
How to Stay Organized Habit #2: There’s Almost No Clutter
Wondering how to stay organized? Live a clutter-free life. When there’s less clutter, there’s less to organize!
Start by setting up a designated clutter catcher – just a box or bin that you can toss items you want to declutter into. Let your family know that if there’s anything they ever want to donate they can just toss it in the clutter catcher. This makes decluttering easy, which is key! If I try on a dress that doesn’t fit but don’t have a spot set aside for things to donate, I’m liable to hang it right back up because that’s easier. I also recommend scheduling regular decluttering sessions with yourself. That’s right. Mark it in your calendar! Make an appointment with yourself to declutter, and see how many things you can get rid of in just an hour’s time.
How to Stay Organized Habit #3: Tidy Up Throughout the Day
I’ve been guilty of letting various messes stay strewn about the house all week because cleaning up can “wait until the weekend.” But you’re learning “how to stay organized” not “how to do damage control on your house every weekend.” And, truth be told, nobody likes spending the majority of the weekend trying to get the house back to its normal state of mostly-messy. Instead, establish multiple reset points in your day to clean up messes and keep things picked up. By tidying up throughout the day you’ll actually get to enjoy living in your clean and organized space, and you’ll be amazed at how much head-space that clears up as well!
How to Stay Organized Habit #4: The Two Minute Rule
If a task would take less than two minutes to complete, do that task immediately.
It’s a simple rule, but so incredibly powerful! If you only implement this one habit you’ll see a drastic change in your home organization. More often than not two-minute tasks are put off because they’re “not a big deal.” But all those tasks can add up quick! To save your sanity (and to keep your space organized) do those short tasks as soon as you see that they need to be done.
How to Stay Organized Habit #5: Establish Clear Systems
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Establishing systems and routines is a surefire way to keep your home running smoothly.
Not sure where to start? Try setting a time every day that you go through your paper items, or schedule a monthly finance check in to make sure all your bills are taken care of. The key to these systems is consistency. It may take a bit of trial and error, because not every system will work for everyone, but once you find what works for you, stick with it!
How to Stay Organized Habit #6: Put Things Away When You’re Done
You may be asking yourself how to stay organized when there’s just so much to do. It seems like there’s not enough time in the day. I cannot stress this enough – small steps are how you stay organized.
Putting things away as soon as you’re done will keep you from falling prey to the trap of “doing it later.” Maybe something comes up and you can’t do it later, or maybe you just get distracted. Whenever possible it’s best to go ahead and clean things up as soon as you’re finished.
Building an organized life is something that takes time, practice, and a little patience. As you develop these habits, be gracious with yourself. You may fall off the wagon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hop right back on. Figuring out how to stay organized is a lifestyle change – and one within your reach!