Alissa seems to be of the flattering opinion that I am a cracker jack organiser. She suggested that I create a list of pointers for being organised and for getting rid of unnecessary items around the house.
It’s really quite sweet but I’ve been wondering if it’s actually true and whether I’m qualified in any way to sprout off about clutter free living. I myself could be much more minimalistic than I am and there are many times I am quite disorganised.
However after thinking about this some more, I realised that I do have the cleanest desk in my office and I do have almost every item in my flat sorted out and lined up. And I am pretty hell bent on getting on top of things before they get on top of you. I never forget a birthday or to pay a bill on time. So, yes. I think perhaps I am qualified.
So here we go. My top tips for living a more organised, (read happier) life.
1) Don’t fill your home with things you don’t use or that you don’t love
For me, decluttering is probably easier than for some other, erm, pack rats. And this is because I’m not at all sentimental. I don’t keep things just because someone gave them to me or because I might one day use them.
My suggestion is that you do an annual clean up and give away any unwanted gifts, or any item that you haven’t used for a whole year.
2) When things starts piling up, box it all up then throw it away later
If you have lots of bits of paper or other random items that you haven’t had a chance to look through, put them in a box, write the date on it and if you haven’t looked at in a year, then throw it away. Don’t even sort through it first.
3) Use a calendar
Put everything on the one calendar. Social engagements, birthdays, anniversaries, anything you need to remember. Look at the calendar every Monday to see what you have on, who you need to text, send a card to, visit, etc. If someone’s birthday is on the 1st of the month, don’t discover this only when you turn the page. On the calendar seven days before their birthday write ‘Sam’s birthday, coming soon’. That way you have time to mail a gift.
4) Pack and separate things in dedicated boxes or containers
Cords all go in a cord box. Stationery in a stationery box. Spices in a spice box, etc. That way if you need something you know where to find it
5) Create a functional junk drawer
Use a bunch of boxes to bring order to your junk drawer. I use gift boxes. I figure out what fits into them, and then how they all fit together. Dividing things into separate boxes make it easier to find what you are looking for.
You must have folders. Folders are your friends. Files on your computer should be in folders, papers in your house should be in folders. If there is no folder for it, get rid of it. Things that can’t be filed should be feared.
7) Have a place for everything
I always know where everything is so I never waste time looking for something. I could tell a stranger where to find anything in my home. If I can’t find something, it’s because it’s not there.
The place for things you never use is in the bin or at Vinnies.
8) Put it away now
The single, simplest thing I do to stay personally organised is to put whatever item, clothing, bag, pen, etc, away immediately after I’ve used it. Before I leave work every day I clean my desk, put away files and therefore come in the next day to an organised space. This helps to mentally feel on top of things.
9) Sort at the source
Throw away grocery receipts before you leave the shopping centre. Go through your mail at the mail box. Only take into your house what you need to have.
10) Clean or tidy one room per day
This is something I learnt from my sister. She sets the timer on her phone and rotates through the rooms in her house, cleaning a different room a day for 15 minutes. Gone are my two hour cleaning sessions each weekend. Love it!
11) Make lists!
Before you go to bed at night, write down one thing you have to achieve the next day and one extra thing you’d like to.
My list for tomorrow is:
Must do – post Lisa’s card
Try to – Call Mum & email Donna
Also make a list of all the things you want to do in your life and try to cross one off each month.
12) If all else fails, invite me over
I’ll purge your place for you!
I really do feel the most calm about life when I am in a well ordered space. When life gets a bit crazy, some people turn to the bottle, but not me. Oh no, I turn to my linen cupboard. Cleaning it out brings me a sense of peace. I know this sounds kind of silly. Sometimes I wonder what other people would think if they could see me sorting and resorting cupboards. And I figure they’d probably say the same thing that Ian does:
“You really are very anal but you do seem to be enjoying yourself”.