Over the years I’ve offered lots of ideas on how to organize your home and office. Maybe you’ve completed your organizing projects, or at least have a few spaces that you consider organized. Congratulations! Everything has a place where it belongs and now everything is actually in its place. But weeks or months later – POW! How did things get so out of control again? Just as the hardest part of losing weight is sometimes keeping the weight off, a big challenge in getting organized is keeping things organized. Short of waving a magic wand (sorry, haven’t figured out how to make that work yet), here are 5 simple ways to maintain your organized spaces:
- Store things near where you use them. Not only will this make it easy for you to retrieve things when you want to use them, but it will make it easy to put things away again. For example, if you keep your stapler near where you do paperwork, it will be easy not only to pull it out and use it, but just as easy to quickly put it away when you’re done using it.
- Go with the flow. Even though you’ve set up “homes” for things, sometimes there’s a natural tendency to put things elsewhere. Maybe the mail lands on the kitchen counter, or coats and jackets end up flung over a chair. Identify situations where even though you’ve set up what you thought was convenient storage, things land in other places. In those cases you might want to accommodate your natural tendencies and create appropriate storage where things tend to gather. For example, hooks near the door where you enter your home can collect coats and jackets. A basket on the kitchen counter will make the pile of mail less intrusive.
- Store similar things together. Once again, this will simplify both retrieval and putting things away. If, for example you store all your pants in one place in your closet, you’ll have just one place to look when you’re getting dressed, and when you’re putting laundry away, it’s a no-brainer to get those pants right back where they belong.
- Make time for maintenance. Create a daily routine to clean things up. At work, spend five or 10 minutes at the end of the day putting everything back where it belongs so you can start your next work day with a clean slate. At home, make it part of your before-dinner or night time routine to pick things up and put them away. If you share your home with others, get them involved in the processes as well.
- Pare down and clean out occasionally. It’s pretty challenging to file papers if you’re file cabinet is jam-packed. It’s hard to put your T-shirts away if the drawer is stuffed full. Take time to periodically clean out your closets, drawers, and other storage areas so the things you no longer use or need don’t take up valuable space and there’s plenty of room for what you do need and use.
Don’t forget that sometimes life gets in the way and you may not have time to maintain your organized spaces every day. Set realistic standards and congratulate yourself for what you are able to accomplish.
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,