Do you feel overwhelmed by lack of organization and don’t know where to start? In this ultimate guide to getting organized and reducing stress forever, you will find helpful tools to guide you in getting organized keeping the stress levels low plus a few surprises!
Understand one thing, there is no right or wrong way to tackle organizing tasks, you just need to start. You can read 100 guides and how-to posts, get 50 different checklists but if you don’t start, those things will not help you! So what should be your main goal? Your main pledge?
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“Good order is the foundation of all things.”-Edmund Burke
Now that the days are longer and warmer, why not get your family involved in sorting out each room. Even as young as 3yo kids can take part, small tasks will keep them happy and involved. Make a deal to share the profits of anything you sell!
Let’s talk decluttering
There is no point trying to get organized if you are surrounded by a cluttered environment. If that is your case, keep reading, I have something for you.
“When home feels out of control, no matter what the reason, unsettledness and anxiety can seep in, and then the chaos becomes internal as well as external.”-Myquillyn Smith
Where to start with decluttering?
Start from the top – you have to start somewhere and the top is as good a place as any other!
In general, all guides tell you to start from the top so that dust and rubbish fall down and you do the floor last. Before you get going read the post below and follow it, that is your starting point and your how-to guide.
Related Posts: How To Master Spring Clean Preparation
The difference between decluttering and organizing
You can see above, the difference is quite simple when decluttering, the objective is to remove excess. When organizing, the focus is on creating order, finding a system. Understanding that difference helps to direct the focus to the right activity.
No one goes to battle without a plan!
Now, this post is not about how to declutter, it is about getting organized and reducing the stress that a cluttered or unorganized environment creates.
Do the exercise below, it will help you decide where to focus your efforts. You can print worksheet here.
- Identify what is your main cause of stress.
- Write what three things you can do to improve your situation regarding point 1. Really think about it, if you can’t do anything about, just write nothing and move to the next.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each cause of stress.
Learning to let go
“The most powerful weapon against stress is our hability to choose one thought over another. Train your mind to see the good in this day.”-marcandangel
Learning to let go is hard! For some people is a lot harder… Together with self-confidence and selectiveness, letting go gets easier with age – maybe it’s just me looking for benefits of getting older!
What I can tell you from experience is, if you suffer from depression, anxiety or both, learning to let go is one of the best tools you can have in your every-day tool kit.
Why am I saying this? Well if you have identified all the factors that are stressing you out and you can’t do anything about them (they are all outside your control), then the only thing you can do is to let go.
In general, I tend to be quite pragmatic – I know it’s all easier said than done but believe me you can control what and how you think, you just need to practice. Learn this exercise and do it each time until it becomes intuitive.
Start small and create healthy tiny habits
“Repetition of the same thought or pysical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.”– Norman Vincent Peale
We are all creatures of habit – habits make us feel comfortable and safe. You create a habit by doing the same thing many times until you don’t have to think about it, you do it instinctively. This removes the unknown and creates a feeling of security, you are in control.
How you can use this knowledge to help you?
- Create routines
- Use systems
- Be consistent
When you follow-through and are consistent you create habits and keeping organized becomes part of your day-to-day.
Be Practical and Pragmatic
“Whatever the truth is, I don’t see how it will help me get food on the table.”– Suzanne Collins
This quote is a great example of practicality! You have identified what is getting you stressed, have identified if you need decluttering or organizing and have thought about what routines and systems you can incorporate in your day-to-day to help you in keeping on top of your organization.
What does this mean in practical terms?
- Get rid of what you don’t need
- Create a morning routine
- Have an evening routine & get one for the kids
- Set a system for housework and laundry
- Have an admin day
- Find efficiencies & delegate more
If you have not decluttered, do it now! Decluttering is a great factor of stress and most people put it off because they think it is hard and don’t know where to start.
If you did not read my guide above, you can read it here. It really does not matter much, where and how you start. You can start with a drawer, a cupboard or a full room. What matters is that you start somewhere and get rid of stuff you don’t need.
Create a morning routine
If you don’t have a morning routine, set one up. Why is this so important? Having a morning routine sets you up for the rest of the day. It sets your mood, your activity levels and your overall approach. It’s important to get it right. You don’t need to be very strict – this may cause more stress – make a note of 3 to 5 things you enjoy doing in the morning. Want an example? Read about my morning routine here.
Main points to consider:
- Get dressed & do your bed.
- Have a healthy breakfast.
- Take a few minutes to meditate or think of three things you are grateful for.
- Do 10 minutes of light/focused exercise.
- Put all the washing away and clear surfaces (if you did not do it the night before).
Related Posts: 7 Tried And Tested Life & Home Organising Hacks!
Have an evening routine & Get One For The Kids
An evening routine should take 10 to 15 minutes and will be very beneficial to you and your family. If you have kids, get the kids involved too. By involving the kids, you are teaching them to create healthy habits, you are making them responsible for their things and accountable too. These are all skills/values they will need in life.
So, when is the best time to implement this routine? Not just before you go to bed! If you are anything like me, first you dose off on the sofa and by the time you actually go to bed you are half asleep. Kids get less collaborative when they are sleepy too, so the trick is to get that routine done before dinner time.
Create Mini Routines – They Make life easier!
I have a mini routine when kids arrive from school, where they get their lunch boxes, rinse them and get them in the dishwasher. They also get all the school communication papers out, so I can read them and get their school bags ready for the following day.
Then just before dinner, they organize what goes into their lunch box and get that ready in the fridge. They clear clutter they have left behind both downstairs and in their rooms and they get their clothes ready for the next day.
What do I do? Not very little after that 🙂
I check on what they have done, tidy the kitchen surfaces and get the dishwasher to wash overnight. I take out what I’ll need to cook the following day and set the clothes I’ll be wearing if I need.
Set a system for housework and laundry
Wednesdays and Fridays are my housework days and Friday evening is my planning day. There is no right or wrong way to do this, I use Wednesday and Friday because those days work best for me. You don’t have to completely change what you are already doing, instead, use what you are doing as your starting point, that will make creating the routine much easier.
Unless your children are under 5, they should be cleaning their own rooms. If not completely, they should be helping you, so they see what and how you do it.
Divide your home into areas and tackle them individually, that makes it a lot easier!
Do the same for your laundry, wash whites one day and darks another day.
Use checklists to organize your housework and know what needs doing daily, monthly, every other month, bi-annually and annually. Set those tasks on your Google calendar or the calendar you use to get your other commitments.
Have an admin day
Twice a month, have an admin day. Or an admin afternoon or an admin evening… even one hour of focused admin will be a great help and will make you feel so much better! Disconnect all distractions before you start and go through all the papers piled up, check that your bills have been paid or pay them, archive any papers that need archiving and check your bank accounts. Complete any other admin tasks needed.
Pro Tips: Schedule this time in your calendar, if you schedule 1 hour every other week, soon you will only need 30 minutes. Go paperless, get electronic statements and get receipts directly in your inbox, this is a much more efficient way to store them.
Find efficiencies & delegate more
Creating efficiencies it’s very much related to the importance you give to each task you perform, for example cleaning the toilet every other day or every two days is very important for me. Having the kitchen tidy every day is the most important. Ironing is not important at all, so I very rarely iron. I wash items hang them neatly to dry and fold them away as soon as they are dry.
Look at it this way, the more you delegate, the less there is for you to do 🙂
I’m not saying that your family should be your slaves but if we all do our share, life becomes easier. We also have more appreciation for the work others put in for us and stop taking it for granted.
Sit down with the kids and design a routine that works for you. Add specific times to do things, give them a few options to chose from, they will be more envolved if they have taken part in creating that routine. I find that offering screen or device time as a reward works very well with my kids.
Get your partner on the game too. If you usually take the dishes from the table and rinse them, he can put them in the dishwasher!
So what is important to you? Where are you spending your time?
Make sure you are spending your time with things that are important and not wasting your time with distractions.
Maintaining an organized life & home
Keeping an uncluttered and organized home is all about order. Following through the routines you have set and starting again when you fail.
When you have systems in place it’s easier to know where to start. If you don’t follow through don’t put yourself down! Start again and make it better this time.
See below my all time favourites for getting organized!
Tell me all about what works for you! Do you have routines?
What do you struggle with the most in keeping organized? I love to hear from you, share your strategies below:-)
Keep well & safe!