How to Stay Organized

Have you worked real hard to get organized and now you want to know how to STAY organized?

Well, before I answer that, just know I’m going to have to give you a little “tough love”. (And myself too… I write these articles for myself as well as for you… who doesn’t need the occasional pep talk, or sometimes a good kick in the pants!) Anyway….

The answer to how to stay organized is that YOU need to make a commitment, to making changes to your lifestyle and daily routines.

No amount of organizing tips, books, websites, containers, labels or even hired professional organizers can keep your home and life in order.

YOU still need to commit to following new routines that you put in place, DAILY. Getting organized isn’t a one time thing and then you’re done. Nope. It’s a lifestyle change.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but it’s the honest truth. Think about it this way… it’s just like any other thing you want to change in your life. If you continue to do what you’re doing, you’re going to continue to get what you’re getting. So you need to make a promise to yourself to try some new ways of doing things until you find what works.

Here’s a similar example many of us can relate to… Let’s say, you go on a diet that helps you lose a lot of weight super fast (decluttering). You look great! And then once you reach your goal weight, you stop eating this special diet and go back to eating the way you used to eat. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to gain back all that weight you just lost! Same goes for losing the clutter and gaining it back!

You need to put routines in place and follow them. Losing weight and maintaining it is a lifestyle change. So is getting and staying organized. You need to make changes and follow them in order to keep your home clutter free and organized.

The new tools, containers, organizing methods etc. should make it easier for you to keep up with organized living. For example, keeping up with filing your papers…. If the method isn’t easy, you’re not as likely to keep up with it. So you find a system that works best for you. But, no matter which system you decide on, you STILL need to do YOUR part of actually putting the papers into your file system!

Let’s face it, there isn’t a method out there yet that will actually do your dishes, fold your laundry or file your papers, etc. Except for perhaps hiring someone else to do it for you, regularly, every single day. That’s not likely to happen for most of us!

How to Stay Organized - With a Little Help From Your Friends

You don’t need to do it alone! If you live with others, talk with them and try to get them on board. Help them to see that if everyone works together just a few minutes a day, that the home can be more comfortable and inviting for everyone! Also, people learn by example, so you need to set a good example even if people don’t jump on board right away.

If you simply can’t get started on your own, there are professional organizers out there who can come into your home and help you declutter and get some systems in place for you to be more organized. But remember, once they leave, it’s still up to YOU to follow through in order to maintain your new organized life. You need to put simple routines in place and follow them every day to keep your life running smoothly.

You can also join a support group, such as an online forum, and chat with others to get ideas and support as you all go through similar challenges. Sometimes a little pep talk is all you need to get inspired to organize another corner of your home or tidy up and put things away for 15 minutes a day.

Ultimately, it all comes down to you. Your home will not organize itself and it will not run on its own. For organized living, you need to have a commitment to keeping things in order. The goal is improvement, not perfection! (Remember, we don’t do “perfect” around here.) But you DO need to be an active participant and keep up with small routines that help maintain order.

  • Make sure everything has a home, a place to be put away.
  • Set up routines that help things to get done or put away instead of sitting around piling up such as a daily 15 min. tidy up session.
  • Make some rules… some people like the one-in-one-out rule (example, buy a pair of shoes, get rid of a pair of shoes), or designate a particular “to do” zone, like a small basket in bedrooms of items that need to be put away, at least it’s not sprawled around the room.

One last thing… we all have days where things don’t go as planned, or we simply want to rebel and do nothing! And that’s fine. But in order to keep your home organized, you need to make sure that you jump back in as soon as you can before things start to get out of control. (Just like with a diet, just because you eat bad for a day doesn’t mean your entire weight loss program is ruined.) Jump back in and move forward!

So, do you have it in you? A little bit of effort every day can make a huge impact on your entire home as well as your life.


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