Life is undoubtedly messy, therefore it is easy to understand why so many of us have such a difficult time staying organized in our homes, offices, and even our minds. Most people would agree that creating and keeping a neat living space is beneficial for our mental and physical state, but how can we keep our environments clean today, when they just seem to get dirty all over again tomorrow?
I believe that being neat and organized has to become more than just an environment but also a state of mind. Below are a few ideas on how you can manage to turn your messy space into a peaceful and organized one!
- Keep a notepad nearby – Many great things start out as a list, a big part of being disorganized comes from forgetting important ideas. If you can keep a journal or a planner with you, you can write down ideas and to do lists as they pop up in your head. Start small by making a list of cleaning goals for the next day/week/month, go through your goals one at a time, without thinking about the next. Maybe this week you want to tackle that extra storage room in your house that always seems to get ignored. Focus on one thing at a time, and reward yourself after a day of hard work! A list can also come in handy when you are out and about running errands, and can help prevent the need to make extra trips to the store, thus making you feel more organized and time efficient.
- Use color coding or labels – if you work in an office or are a student, you have more than enough papers floating around on your desk, backpack, or even your car. When we don’t properly organize important papers, mistakes can easily occur, sensitive information may get lost, leading to negative feelings about the self. When you sort your paperwork in folders or notebooks of a certain color, it becomes easier to retrieve information without confusion or a hassle. Organize certain subjects in a certain color folder, you can also color code them in terms of importance or time sensitivity. For example, the red folder having the most important paperwork, and the green folder being the paperwork with the nearest deadline.
- Clean up messes immediately if possible – My friend has an interesting rule when it comes to cleaning, she once told me “If there is a mess, and it takes less than five minutes to clean, I do it immediately.” This has always stuck with me, because after all most messes that start out as a five minute chore, quickly turn into a ten minute chore if not cleaned up immediately, and so on. So if you have a few minutes during your day, look for those quick messes you can get rid of on the spot. Maybe your bookshelf is getting out of control, or that stack of magazines is really piling up. Taking five minutes to organize your book shelf, for example, will feel productive and also rid yourself of an eye sore that has probably been bothering you for weeks.
- Get rid of clutter – Getting rid of things that no longer serve us, physical or emotional, is detrimental to our overall well-being. By de-cluttering in our physical realm, our mental state will also be positively influenced. Start by going through one room, or one area at a time, such as the closet for example. Look through your items and pick out the ones that do not bring you joy or have negative memories attached to them. Throughout our lives we accumulate so many material possessions, it is important to know when to part with the ones that no longer have a purpose in our lives. This can be a difficult process due to the attachments we create towards our possessions. It could be helpful to ask a trusted friend to help.
- Organize your clothes and shoes by season – Our closets have a finite amount of space. When closets are over stuffed, we start feeling overwhelmed and take longer to find the exact article of clothing we are looking for. When spring comes around, it could be useful to pack up all your winter clothing such as heavy jackets, snow pants, bulky sweaters, and put them away in a flat storage container that you can keep neatly under your bed for example. Similarly, when you feel the last bit of summer warmth disappear, you can pack up all those light clothing items such as sun dresses and shorts, and pack them away in a storage container, bringing out the winter stuff. Not only does this method free up a lot of space, but it also keeps your clothing in good condition for the next season!
Love & Light,