Organization for Dummies
We all lose things from time to time. It’s understandable, and oftentimes it’s forgivable. Yet it’s when disorganization starts to become a pattern that it can actually start interfering with your life.
Consider making some organizational improvements to your lifestyle. It takes work, but you’ll be thanking yourself the next time you find yourself in a jam (and the next time you can’t find anything else). Here are some tips to help you stay organized.
De-clutter. Having to weed your way through clothes and piled-up dishes every time you want to enter your bedroom gets old pretty fast. To maintain a tidy living or work space, clear off surfaces, recycle/throw out what you don’t need anymore, and use cupboards or drawers to put away things that don’t belong. The best way to keep your space organized is to make de-cluttering a habit: take half an hour out of your week to clear up the accumulated mess, and you’ll notice a difference in no time.
Label. Make sure you know where everything belongs by labeling file folders, drawers, and cabinets. That way, instead of rummaging through a massive pile of miscellaneous stuff, you’ll know where to look for something the next time it gets lost. This is also a good strategy for students who want to stay academically organized (for example, write the date and course code on every note you take, so you can file it away in the correct—and maybe colour-coded—folder at the end of the day).
Trace your steps. Cell phones, bobby pins, house keys… If there are certain things you put down and just seem to never be able to find again, make it a point to put them in the same place each time. You can keep a list of “drop zones” (typical spots where you tend to leave things) so you know where to look the next time you absentmindedly put something down.
Keep a “junk” drawer. This may seem counterintuitive, but when you’re in a rush, what can you do? There’s nothing wrong with tucking things away momentarily, to be revisited later—as long as you have one distinct place where you know you can find them again. The flip side to that, though, is that you have to clean out that junk drawer every once in a while. Once you get home and you have some time, make sure everything’s back in its proper place.
Plan ahead. Before you go to bed, be proactive or “pre-organized”: try to get a jump-start on your morning routine. If you know you’re going to be up early the next morning, for example, you can prepare a lunch, pack your bag in advance, and set out the important things you’ll need (like your bus pass) in plain view, ready for you to grab on your way out the door. A little planning can save you a lot of scrambling!