5 Vital Elements of Staying Organized

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Organization isn’t about scrambling to tidy up when guests come over or dumping odds and ends in the junk drawer once a week. Organization is a lifestyle. It takes time and commitment to keep your apartment in order—possibly twice as much if you have an entire family inciting disarray. But staying organize still doesn’t have to be torture. You can keep everything in its proper place without too much extra effort or time if you keep these five simple organizational elements in mind:

  1. Start with the right tools. If you don’t have the proper equipment, it’s going to be nearly impossible to keep your home in check. So invest in a few essentials. Depending on the layout of your home and your personal preferences, you might want to consider plastic drawers or bins for under the bed and in bedroom or hallway closets. They’re relatively cheap, and they make use of space that would otherwise be wasted. A few other spots you can find extra space to organize: the inside of a storage ottoman (perfect for blankets and extra throw pillows) and the drawers of a coffee table (keep remotes and DVDs here). Even in the bathroom you need proper storage, including a shower caddy or shower shelving.
  2. Consistently fight clutter. Don’t launch into a cleaning frenzy on the weekends and then let everything fall back into chaos Monday through Friday. Stave off the accumulation of clutter throughout the week. A good way to do this would be to set a simple goal for everyday or every other day, maybe just committing to tidying up for 15 minutes after work—at least your desk or your bedroom. You can make an upbeat playlist that runs for about the time you’re supposed to spend decluttering. Another handy trick is to designate a “dump zone,” or a spot where you put anything you don’t have time to really put away. This way, when you go to clean, everything that’s out of place will at least be in one place.
  3. Don’t entertain a junk drawer. Its very name evokes a tangled mess. If you don’t have a junk drawer, it can’t get packed in the first place. Don’t give yourself that easy out. The same goes for a “miscellaneous” folder in a filing box. Just put the document in the right spot in the first place and you won’t have to worry about finding it again.
  4. Have a go-to thrift store. Anyone who maintains an organized home inevitably ends up donating various items regularly. Choose a thrift store nearby or a drop-off point for a thrift store, and make that your go-to donation spot. Every time you fill up a bag with stuff you or your family no longer need, don’t let it sit—drop it off as soon as possible.
  5. Remember the laptop. Organization goes beyond what the eye can see. A truly organized person also maintains a tidy email inbox and computer desktop. Delete any incoming mail that you don’t intend to read (and spam addresses from companies who contact you often) and file away other important emails in designated folders. Similarly, don’t let word documents and spreadsheets take over your computer desktop. Create a folder for every work project and family vacation, and use them.

The 10 Habits of Highly Organized People [Oprah.com]
9 Lesser-Known Tips for Getting and Staying Organized [Psych Central]
How to Get Organized [All You]
20 Savvy Ways to Stay Organized [Better Homes and Gardens]

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dell_Latitude_X200.jpg

Attribution: CC BY 2.0/ Flickr/Iain Buchanan