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It’s time we all admit that we need help in organizing our lives. It’s going to be a chore to do all this, but staying organized makes life easier in the long run. Just think about how easy it’ll be to find stuff you need and avoid last minute hassles.
Here are 20 tips that’ll show you how to organize your life at home, work and everything in between.
1. 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 it in writing, or in a digital notebook like Evernote.
Keeping your to-do, 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.
2. Make Back-Ups Of Everything
Back up your computer files and have duplicates made for your car and home keys. Scan your IDs, passports and bank details, too then put it all in a secured folder in 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 Mise En Place (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, cleaning materials, basically everything, and keep them in labeled containers or closets at home. In the kitchen, they’re trained to organize their work space well so that their every moved 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.
4. Scan And Back-up Your Photos
Worried about losing the last copy of your childhood photos? Tired of all the bulky picture books in 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.
Michael at Contrastly rounded up the 9 back-up solutions for photographers, check it out.
5. Clean Up Regularly
The best way to remain organized is to allot certain hours of day the de-cluttering and cleaning up. (Tweet this quote) It doesn’t have to be a large chunk of time either, as 15 to 30 minutes a day is enough.
6. Keep The Hotspots Clean
Every house and office has a hotspot for clutter. Usual suspects are the sink, dining table, cubicle, night stand, and bedroom drawers. Take note of these places and tidy them up daily.
7. Get A Money Management App
One downside of being unorganized is overspending your money and relying on credit cards until pay day.
Use these apps to record your monthly bills and document your spending. This way, you can get reminders sent to you before your bill is due so you can deposit money to your account. You can also see how much money you’ve already spent so you’ll know exactly where your money goes and how you can cut back.
8. Recycle And Donate
Is your closet full of unopened bags and clothes that still have their tags on? Is your book shelf 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.
9. 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.
10. Check The Expiration Dates Of Canned Goods And Medicine You’ve Stocked
Expired canned goods and medicines won’t just taste bad, it’s also bad for your health. Dispose of it 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.
11. Learn To 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 member of the family 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.
Molly Maid has an age-appropriate cleaning checklist you can download here.
12. Create A Centralized Family Or Work Information Center
To keep up with schedules and tasks, you need to coordinate with your family and co-workers.
Use a synchronized calendar app, where every member of your team or family can enter new updates, schedules and tasks that every member can see. Doing this avoids conflicting schedules and keeps everyone informed of each other’s activities and whereabouts. You can also do this using big whiteboards.
13. Practice Putting Things Away Immediately
All your hard work creating a dedicated space for your stuff will be wasted if you don’t actually implement it. Things can pile up quickly, sometimes in as little as a few hours if you have kids.
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.
14. Create A List Of Your Passwords In A Safe App Or Offline File
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.
15. Unsubscribe From Unread Email Newsletters, Magazines And Other Subscriptions
If you subscribe to a number of newsletters, blogs and other online publications, but haven’t read a single email from them in 3 months, just unsubscribe. You probably won’t read any of their content, anyway. While you’re at it, unsubscribe from unread magazines, catalogues and junk mail. It’s just a waste of money and space, especially if you don’t read them.
16. Create An Inventory And Don’t Over Stock Supplies
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 then all those extra supplies are just wasting your precious space. The same tip is applicable for office supplies, canned goods and toiletries.
Scroll down to get a free pantry organizing checklist.
17. 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 wastage by putting a label on all items in your fridge, complete with expiration date, name and quantity or size.
18. Create Daily, Weekly And Monthly Schedules for Cleaning
Organize your cleaning 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.
19. Get A Task Management App on Your Smartphone
Download Trello, or any other task management app on your smartphone so you don’t forget random errands and tasks.
20. Create a Weekend Bucket List
Keep a list of activities that you want to do, so you can consult this list on boring weekends instead of wasting your time figuring out what to do—or just giving up and watching reruns at home.
Whichever of these tasks you decide to do, remember that you can’t completely organize your life in one go. It’s 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.