With the busy schedules that many of us maintain, it is no wonder that clutter and disorganization begin their seemingly never-ending reign in our lives. After all, it is easier to continue the habit of clutter than it is to simplify your life. Let’s face it, being organized takes time and effort, but having “a place for everything and everything in its place” actually buys time and peace of mind in the long run. In other words, psychologists claim there is a reason we have the urge to clean out closets, drawers, and rearrange the furniture in our houses when we are under stress. Gaining control of our immediate environment brings equilibrium to the rest of life. The act of uncluttering a closet or an entire room eases the feeling that we have lost control of what is happening to us on a larger scale and acts as a pressure valve for stress.
So, whether it is a closet, an office, or an entire house that needs cleaning, the secret to gaining control is not giving in to procrastination – start now, but start slowly. Organizing your life can become overwhelming if done improperly and most of your effort will fail if you try to do everything at one time. Try this advice the next time you want to gain control – take a pile of clutter and move it to another room. This room will be a neutral place to sort through those belongings and see what needs to be tossed and what needs to be kept. Before moving on to the next step, clear the entire area of the clutter and toss what is no longer useful. Again – this should be done in stages so you won’t be a victim of burnout. This step could take several days to a week to complete. Take your time.
The next step is to create a permanent place for everything you have kept. The most efficient way to “create” organization is by investing in a few tools. For example, drawer dividers, plastic containers, and shelving can create space where there was once too little. These organizational tools will be your lifesaver throughout this process.
The last step is to maintain the organization that you worked so hard to create. There are a few tips that will help you in this process. First and foremost, it is imperative that when you take something out of the organized area you must put it back in the same exact place you got it from. It will never take you more than thirty seconds to replace the item. If you bring an item into an already stuffed area, such as a closet, try to get rid of one old thing to make room for the new thing. Another great piece of advice is to go through your mail immediately upon bringing it into the house. Have a trash can near your mail sorting area so you can toss what you do not need immediately. Never keep “sentimental” items that are not stored well. For example, you cannot justify keeping your grandmother’s old blanket if it lays unused and deteriorating in a box. Instead, create a scrapbook to hold pieces or pictures of the sentimental items.
As you can see, there are a few guidelines that need to be followed in order to create and maintain the perfect organized space. There is nothing more unrewarding than working hard to create organization and then letting clutter take over your life again. So make this pledge to yourself right now – “Everything has a place and everything will be returned to that place. As new things enter my organized home, old things will leave. If new things enter my home that have no mandated space, a space will be created. I am now free to live my life one stress-free day at a time.”