How To Get Organized and Stay Organized

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Do you want a life and mind free of clutter? Here’s how to get organized and stay organized for good.

It’s time we all admit that we need help organizing our lives. Just think about how easy it’ll be to find stuff you need and avoid last minute hassles.

25 Ways to Get Organized

Here are tips that’ll show you how to organize your life at home, at work, and everything in between. It’s going to be a chore to do all this, but staying organized makes life easier in the long run.

1. How to Organize Your Life with A Notebook

Write everything down, and don’t rely on your memory. We can all agree most of us have a tough time remembering things. If you want to remember things, put them in writing or a digital notebook like Evernote. You can even make this a part of your morning routine.

Sit down every morning, and jot down what you need to do. You can use a notebook for meal planning and meal prep, to keep track of a recurring task, and to write out a grocery list, shopping list, or task list.

Keeping your to-do lists, daily and monthly tasks, grocery lists, and other information written somewhere allows you to look back at it anytime, even when you’ve hit your head and forgotten your own name.

When learning how to organize your life with a notebook, start with the basics. Find a notebook that works best for what you want to do. There are bullet journals, blank notebooks, and guided monthly journals to choose from.

Then it is time to decide how to structure your notebook. Structure everything in a way that supports your new need for organization. Optimize what needs to be done first, break your pages into time-blocked segments, or use columns and bulleted lists where it makes sense.

Remember to carry your notebook with you. It is good to have it on hand when you need it when trying to organize your life. It needs to be readily accessible and keeps all your notes and lists in one place rather than jotted down in various locations.

2. Make Back-Ups Of Everything

Back up your computer files and important documents and make duplicates for your car and home keys. We recommend hiding one outside in a not-so-obvious place. Anyone can check under the front mat!

Scan your IDs, passports, and bank details, then put them all in a secured folder on your computer. Keep the original and photocopies of your financial records, birth certificates, land titles and insurance in one folder, preferably tucked away in a safe.

3. Practice ‘Putting In Place’

Chefs are extremely organized people, in and out of the kitchen. Their secret? They have a place for everything.

They sort out their clothes, wrapping paper, crafts, and cleaning materials and keep them in labeled containers or in closets at home. In the kitchen, they’re trained to organize their workspace well so that their every move is conserved and they know exactly where all the ingredients are.

Doing this will take time, but after a while, you’ll see how easy it is to find what you need when everything in your place has a home.

Another example—do your pens and pencils have a cup holder? Or are they scattered across your desk and thrown into drawers? What about your craft supplies? Do you have a dedicated area for these items, or find yourself on a frantic hunt whenever you need the glue?

Separate everything into containers, label those containers and find them a home.

4. Scan And Back-up Your Photos

Worried about losing the last copy of your childhood photos? Tired of all the bulky picture books on your coffee table? Have the pictures scanned to save space, and make sure you don’t lose these precious memories. You can even have them scanned at a local printing shop.

We also recommend a service like Legacy Box that can help with photos or even those old home movies you might have in the attic on super-8 reels. Imagine the clutter you could replace with a space-saving flash drive that has all your photos and videos on it.

5. Tidy and Declutter Regularly

The best way to remain organized is to allot certain hours of the day for decluttering and cleaning up. It doesn’t have to be a large chunk of time either -15 to 30 minutes a day is enough.

When decluttering, ask yourself if you actually use each item. If not, get rid of them! Make use of all your storage spaces and designate an area for clutter to go, whether it is getting tossed out, donated, or sold.

If selling is the way you want to go, a service like Decluttr is a simple and easy way to get rid of extra things and make a little money in the process.

It also helps to abide by the 20/20 rule. If you get rid of something you truly need, you can replace it for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes from your current location. This rings true for the majority of people. So, if you get rid of something you really need, remember it can easily be replaced.

6. Keep The Hotspots Clean

Every house and office has a hotspot for clutter. The usual suspects are the sink, dining table, cubicle, nightstand, and bedroom drawers. Take note of these places and tidy them daily.

Dusting, stacking magazines, and rearranging curios may seem tedious at first. Once they’re part of your routine, you won’t even notice you’re doing them.

7. Recycle And Donate

Is your closet full of unopened bags and clothes that still have their tags on? Is your bookshelf full of unread books?

Chances are, if you haven’t read, worn, or used whatever it is, then you’re probably not going to use it at all. Donate them to a charity or sell them on eBay. Goodwill has tons of donation centers, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) can even pick up your donations.

8. Donate Or Throw One Thing Before Buying Something

Try this experiment: before buying one thing, throw out something old or something you don’t use.

Or, if you’re a really terrible pack rat, just throw out 1 old thing a day until you can’t find any more items to throw. Do that for a month and I guarantee you’ll have less clutter in your life.

9. Check Expiration Dates

Expired canned goods and medicines won’t just taste bad, but they also may be harmful if they’ve been expired for a while. Dispose of things immediately to minimize the clutter in your cabinets, and make room for new supplies.

Not sure about an item’s expiration date? Check out EatbyDate, they have an excellent database of food expiration dates.

10. Delegate Cleaning And Organizing Tasks

It’ll be easier to declutter your home if it’s a team effort. Go through your to-do list and find tasks you can delegate to your spouse and kids. Create a list of responsibilities for each family member and distribute it to them. Review the list with them every week to make sure everything gets done.

Teach your kids how to get organized, so you don’t have to pick up after them every day. For your spouse, maybe it’s mowing the lawn or making sure all the wires behind the TV and laptops are not tangled.

Delegation is a great form of project management the entire family can learn from. Make sure each person has their own assignments and daily tasks. These daily tasks can boost productivity and encourage a healthy daily routine.

11. Create A Centralized Family Or Work Information Center

Use a synchronized calendar app like Google Calendar, where every member of your team or family can enter new updates, schedules, important dates, appointments, and tasks that every member can see.

This kind of task management avoids conflicting schedules and keeps everyone informed of each other’s activities and whereabouts. You can also do this using a big whiteboard or a sticky note.

12. Put Things Away Immediately

All your hard work creating a dedicated space for your stuff will be wasted if you don’t actually implement it. If you have kids, things can pile up quickly, sometimes in as little as a few hours.

Keep the calm and organized ambiance of your home (and life) by putting things away immediately after you’re done using them. This practice only takes a few minutes, but it’ll save you a lot of cleaning time later on.

13. Keep Passwords In A Safe App Or Offline

Passwords are very important in keeping your privacy and security. Unfortunately, using the same password for everything is bad, while having a lot of different passwords is secure but difficult to remember.

Centralize your passwords and sensitive data using an app that allows you to create one password to secure all your other passwords, like LastPass.

14. Unsubscribe When You Don’t Read

If you subscribe to a number of newsletters, blogs, and other online publications, but haven’t read a single email from them in three months, just unsubscribe. You probably won’t read any of their content, anyway.

While you’re at it, unsubscribe from unread magazines, catalogs, and junk mail. It’s just a waste of money and space, especially if you don’t read them.

15. Inventory and Don’t Over-Stock

Make an inventory of home cleaning and toiletry supplies so you don’t run out and don’t overstock either.

You might think overstocking is good, but if you don’t have enough storage, all those extra supplies are just wasting your precious space. The same tip applies to office supplies, canned goods, and toiletries. Scroll down to get a free pantry organizing checklist.

16. Label Stored Food and Perishables

When was the last time you found an unrecognizable Tupperware of food in your freezer? Sometimes it’s not just cooked food — juice, condiments and sandwich spreads go unnoticed until one day, you’re wondering what that mysterious green goo is.

Minimize food waste by putting a label on all items in your fridge, complete with an expiration date, name, quantity, or size.

17. Create Schedules for Cleaning

Organize your cleaning into a daily, weekly and monthly schedule. It’s extremely exhausting to have a “cleaning day” where you clean everything all at once.

Distribute tasks evenly, so for example, dish washing could be done daily; while vacuuming could be scheduled weekly and cleaning the windows done monthly.

18. Get A Task Management App

Download Trello or any other task management app on your smartphone so you don’t forget random errands and tasks.

Task management is also a good way to break down a big project into smaller, more manageable tasks. And in addition to better organization, it also helps prioritize tasks accordingly.

19. Create a Weekend Bucket List

Keep a list of activities you want to do, so you can consult your bucket list on boring weekends instead of wasting your time figuring out what to do—or just giving up and watching reruns at home.

20. Avoid Procrastinating

If you wait to do something, the task will seem more difficult. Organization is a good way to take some stress away from daily life, so it feels less demanding.

Think of one thing you want to organize in your life and write it down. Then make a schedule and a plan for when you need to finish it. And then do it! Don’t put off tasks you can do now. Get organized today to have a less stressful tomorrow.

21. Avoid Bargain Shopping

One of the worst things you can do when trying to be organized is going crazy bargain shopping. This just brings more clutter into the home.

Instead of bargain shopping or grabbing items on impulse, try writing down what you need ahead of time and avoid advertisements that promise a better deal if you buy it right now or have a certain number of qualifying purchases.

Just because it’s on sale doesn’t necessarily mean you actually need it. It will just turn into more clutter you need to organize later. A shopping list helps keep you on track.

22. Organize Your Mind

We have talked a lot about organizing the material things in your life, but what about organizing the mind? Journaling is a great way to do this and a simple thing to do. It provides an easy way to organize all your feelings and thoughts.

Journaling has also been shown to help improve memory, boost your mood, spark creativity, help overcome trauma, and heal faster.

23. Organize Your Time

Want some peace of mind in addition to better organization? Try organizing your time. Create a routine for everything you do.

When organizing your time, look for ways to effectively complete your daily tasks. An example of this would be setting your goals correctly.

Set achievable and measurable goals, and then set a time limit to complete your tasks. Remove any tasks that can be considered nonessential.

24. Organize Your Digital Life

After organizing your home and mind, it’s time to get to work on organizing your digital life. We already touched on how you can use different apps to organize your life and unsubscribe from emails, but what should we do about people we no longer want to follow on social media?

Jump onto your social media platforms like and start unfollowing people that don’t add value to your life. A good social media purge can make you feel good and even reduce your time on the apps. You can then use these apps as more of a learning resource.

Also consider Giving Up Instagram or any other social media you devote too much time to using.

If you own a business, follow people that can help you improve or offer tips on a specific task you need to complete.

25. Practice The Konmari Method

When talking about organized life, you can’t really get into it without first talking about the KonMari Method created by Marie Kondo. It doesn’t focus on simply changing your home; it focuses more on how you can change your life.

“Life truly begins only after you put your house in order.” – Marie Kondo

When we tidy up, we clear the clutter and put our house in order. We are tidying by category rather than location. If an item no longer sparks joy, discard it and move on.

How To Stay Organized

Now that you have done the work, you may wonder how to stay organized and avoid falling back into bad habits. Always focus on what is most important and follow these easy steps to stay organized.

Follow Through

If you went through everything and had stuff to donate or throw out, follow through with it. Don’t let the items sit there and accumulate dust.

You already went through the tough decluttering process so see it through to the end. Drop your donations off and make sure the trash makes it to the bin.

Practice Conscious Shopping

When shopping, really think about each item you put into the cart. Is it really something you need? Make a list before you head out to avoid impulse purchases and stick to it.

Keep Your Organizational System Up To Date

If you followed through with our tips on journaling and creating a centralized organizational system for yourself and the family, then make sure you keep up with it and keep it up to date to continue improving productivity and organization. Be realistic about everything and keep everything on track.

Create a daily chore schedule everyone must follow, set a timer for ten minutes at the end of each day for clean-up time, and make putting everything away after using it a habit.

Don’t Fill Empty Space

Finally, if you do have empty space left after organizing, don’t feel the need to fill it up. This is an easy mistake many people make when organizing. Leave your bins empty or leave some room for new items when needed.

Conclusion

Whichever of these tasks you decide to do, remember that you can’t completely organize your life in one go. Acquiring these organizational skills can prove to be a long, never-ending process, so be patient.

Just decide to get organized now, then take baby steps until you see some semblance of order in your life. Soon enough, you will be making a habit out of it all and start decreasing stress levels.

If all else fails and you still need help getting your life organized, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional organizer. A professional organizer can help you sort through your belongings and help you create digital storage solutions.

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11 thoughts on “How To Get Organized and Stay Organized”

  1. My life has been a mess ever since I was dumped. This list definitely helped me get my life back in shape. It also got me back in shape!

    Reply
  2. What a great list. I do 12 out of the 20 and am still working on another 4. It takes a lot of time investment to get started, but so far it has been worth it.

    One of my favorites is sharing chores and housecleaning. It took a lot longer to get my daughter to do laundry initially, but she’s 6 and can do it herself now. Such a time saver! And now she notices when she’s running out of PJs and should do a load.

    The other one I love best is the family calendar. It has saved us so many times. We consult it every night to make sure we’re ready for the next day. Otherwise keeping track of doctors, shift schedules and service calls can be a nightmare.

    Thanks for the list.

    Reply
  3. These tips look simple but they can be a life saver.I used to put away everything immediately.For ten years I didn’t lose anything but last week when some people had come to my house I became lazy because I was tired.
    I just placed my wallet casually and it went into the land of the lost.So I lost my id,drivers license,atm and a lot of money.

    Reply

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