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Life is busy and it can seem impossible to get some time to get caught up. And if you ever do seem to catch up, it doesn’t stay that way for long. Learning how to organize your life will save you so much in the long run.
- Clutter-free countertops
- Getting more done each day
- Getting rid of the piles of paper
- Making the most of your free time
- Knowing what you are making for dinner each night
It is possible to organize your life. Even if you tried and failed before. Even if the thought of organizing your whole life overwhelms you. You don’t need a natural talent for organizing to have an organized life.
Change Your Mindset
So I could put together a long list of everything you need to do to organize your life (and I will). But none of it will matter if you don’t change your mindset. You may think you’re ready to get organized but to really make progress with organizing your life you have to make sure your mind is in the right place.
You may think it’s as easy as saying you’re sick of the mess and disorganization. You’re probably thinking ‘Just give me the steps I need to take.” Well, I am. The first step is to really make sure you’re in the organizing mindset.
But what does that mean?
Hard Truths About Clutter and Disorganization
This is the tough love you need to hear. Coming to terms with these hard truths BEFORE you start decluttering and organizing will help get you into the mindset to organize your life and stick to it.
- You spent money on stuff you don’t use or didn’t use long and you likely won’t ever recoup the money you spent on it. This is a depressing thought and can cause you to feel a lot of guilt. And it definitely causes a lot of people to hang on to stuff they don’t want, need or like.
- You don’t need sentimental items to remind you of a loved one. The pain of losing someone special is heartwrenching. And the urge to feel connected to that person leads us to hang on to their stuff. And you absolutely should keep some things, just not boxes and boxes of stuff.
- You probably won’t need it in the future. A huge source of clutter is the thought that you might need it someday. All those “maybe someday” items can quickly add up into an overwhelming amount of stuff.
- Your house isn’t going to look like the ones in magazines. The homes featured in magazines are meticulously cleaned and staged for a photoshoot. But homes are meant to be lived in, which means spills happen, toys are played with, paper come into the house, and beds are slept in. Living in perfection just isn’t realistic.
- You will need to reduce the amount of stuff you own and not replace it. Decluttering is essential if you really want to organize your home and life. But decluttering every single inch of your house won’t mean anything if you just bring in a boatload of new stuff.
- You can learn to be organized. Organizing comes naturally to some people, others need to learn organization skills. I was always good at organizing stuff and could spend hours neatly arranging things into cute storage containers. But there is more to organizing than just putting everything into place and I had to learn other skills to really organize my life.
- You can organize your stuff and still be overwhelmed. Going along with #7, just organizing things will only get you so far.
- Disorganization hurts you. Maintaining all that stuff is stressful, can cause friction with other people in the house, make you withdraw from relationships because you are embarrassed by your disorganization. It’s even linked to depression and anxiety.
- Stuff doesn’t bring lasting happiness. Just think about kids with toys on Christmas morning vs. months later. The excitement fades pretty quickly.
What YOUR Why
There are plenty of reasons you should organize your life. But none of them matter if they don’t resonate with you. Here are some common reasons why decluttering and organizing is important and then instructions on how to take it to the next level by making it personal for you.
- Less stress – not panicking while searching for an important document, worrying about whether or not you paid a bill.
- Improved efficiency – always being able to find what you need when you need it, getting more done, having more free time.
- Improved health – besides reducing stress, which is a health benefit, having a clean, clutter-free home increases the odds that you’ll cook at home and having less stuff to collect dust.
- Confidence – being organized makes you feel more in control and a sense of accomplishment
- Improved relationships – not fighting with other family members about the condition of the house and more likely to invite friends over because you’re not embarrassed by the mess
- Make $ by getting rid of stuff. But be realistic you likely not sitting on a million dollar beanie baby.
Now personalize it your life. Don’t just say you want less stress or improved productivity. Write down how less stress or improved productivity will benefit your life (a better role model for your kids, time to work on a hobby, etc.).
So what’s YOUR why? Don’t just give the generic answer. Spend time to really understand how an organized life will benefit you. By personalizing your reason, you’re more likely to achieve your goal.
How Are Your Organizational Skills?
When I made a life change, it took time to adjust. I switched from a working a full-time corporate job with four kids to a stay-at-home mom with a side business. Oh, and we moved across the state during this transition so I was selling our house while my husband was already in temporary living in our new city. It was absolutely the change I wanted and needed but that doesn’t mean it was a smooth transition. Read more about me here.
On the surface, I was telling myself that I was doing the best I could and I had excuses on why things weren’t where I wanted them to be. We just moved and I needed to unpack. I was busy getting the kids adjusted to a new city, new schools, new friends, new teams, etc. And after we got settled, then we decided to finish our basement, which displaced a lot of stuff. And of course, the renovation took longer than expected. The list of excuses could go on. I was “busy” with other stuff.
But then one day I was thought, “ would I give these type of excuses to a boss?” I came from the corporate world that had yearly employee evaluations. If I treated my new roles as a job, how would I rate myself in my new role?
And this is where it all clicked for me. I needed to hold myself accountable the way I would be held accountable at a job. And this isn’t exclusively something for stay-at-home moms. I should have done this all along, even when I was working full time.
I gave myself a little evaluation on home and life organization and determined the areas where I needed improvement. I used the evaluation to motivate me to improve and guide me along the way.
My “organize your life” journey started when I was still working full-time. And I firmly believe if I implemented the life organization evaluation, I would have made a lot more progress in a lot less time.
Download the Organize Your Life Evaluation Checklist to get perspective on your current state and keep track of your progress. You’ll also receive the email series to guide you through each step of life organization.
I also knew immediately that I wouldn’t give a boss all those excuses. So I developed a “no excuses” mindset. It’s way easier said than done. But whenever I catch myself making excuses, I pause, remind myself that there are no excuses and reevaluate what I need to do.
Make a Game Plan
I hope you’ve realized the importance of really getting into organizing mindset before you actually start taking action. Now we are finally to how to organize your life.
- Organize your time – For a home organization project, I always say the first step is to start with decluttering. But for life organization you need to organize your time first, including prioritizing your time, stop procrastination, how to create the best schedules and routines for your life.
- Decluttering your home, starting with the area that will have in the biggest impact in your house. This is an important step, even if you think you’ve already decluttered.
- Prevent clutter and stay clutter free
- Organize, with an emphasis on areas that are more prone to disorganization
- Creating a realistic cleaning schedule that will work for you and your family
- Meal Planning or using a meal planning service
- Digital organization, including email and photo organization
- Get your finances in order
- Keeping your car clean and organized
- Being prepared for an emergency
- How to stay organized
Whew! That’s a lot of items to accomplish and some of them may sound overwhelming and impossible. But I promise that it is possible to organize your life. The key is to take one step at a time and go at a pace that works for your lifestyle.
Organize Your Life Series
It can be hard to know the best way to organize your life so I created a new series that will walk you through how to organize your life. I break down each step and provide detailed instructions to simplify the process. Plus, it includes other related topics like how to get your family on board, how to stay motivated, what to do when you suffer a setback and how to teach cleaning and organization skills to your kids.
So what are you waiting for? Get ready to organize your life. You won’t regret it.