Life is hectic. It’s just that simple. And when we feel swamped by the number of activities that fill our days it’s tempting to become lax in keeping ourselves organized. Organization feels like a chore, mostly because we don’t make the attempt until it’s too late – piles of unopened mail are spilling onto the floor, we’re out of toothpaste and we can’t find our keys. So let’s take a preemptive strike against chaos. The following tips, if followed consistently, can help manage some of the most basic daily stressors.
Make Your Bed!
If you are hearing your mother’s voice in your head, pay attention! Your mother may not have understood the science behind this oft-repeated refrain, but she was still on the right track. Studies have shown that making your bed in the morning is connected with increased productivity throughout the day and improved overall happiness.
Time spent searching for everyday items is both frustrating and unproductive. Instead of looking for your keys, wallet, or sunglasses, create a designated spot and get in the habit of using it! If you have an entryway table, an attractive dish or basket is the perfect repository. No space for a table? Hang it! Place decorative hooks near the door, or purchase a small floating shelf or wire basket that can be attached to the wall. These are inexpensive, very simple to install, and available nationwide at Target, Wal-Mart, HomeGoods, Cost Plus World Market and Bed Bath & Beyond. A few minutes invested now will save hours of anxiety later!
It’s All About Inventory
The key here is awareness of your surroundings. When you notice the toothpaste tube is almost flat, it’s time to take note so you can replace before it runs out. Start a list, either on paper or in your smartphone, and keep adding items to it until you can make a supply run. A notepad affixed to your refrigerator is old school, but effective. Magnet note pads are readily available at dollar stores and craft stores, such as Michael’s, JoAnn or Hobby Lobby, and usually cost less than $2. If you prefer digital reminders, apps like Wunderlist or Todoist are worth checking out.
Read and Recycle
Sorting the daily mail can be pretty stress-inducing. It’s tempting to drop the pile on the counter and promise we’ll deal with it later. The wisest course is to handle mail immediately – recycle the junk and open the rest. If action is required (pay a bill, renew a subscription) either handle it, or put it in an “active” bin that you deal with weekly. One of the easiest ways to cut down on mail is to have your bills delivered via email. Going paperless is easier on you, and kinder to the planet.
Launder, Hang or Fold
You’ve made an investment in your clothing, so trampling it underfoot or creating a pile in the corner are not good ways to treat your assets. Every time you undress, give yourself a choice about how to handle each garment: launder, hang or fold. Outerwear, sweaters and jeans/slacks can often be worn multiple times before cleaning, so opt for hang or fold. Undergarments, socks, blouses, and shirts immediately hit the “launder” bin. You could even add a fourth category: dry clean. Purchase a mesh laundry bag so you can see what’s inside (this will motivate you to actually GO to the cleaners when you see that your favorite blazer is still in the bag).
Most of us have a lot of stuff, but we often don’t have enough space to store all that stuff. Once drawers and closets are filled, what then? Go below! There is a wealth of untapped space under the bed. Out of season clothing, blankets, shoes, handbags, sports equipment – virtually anything that can fold or flatten to less than 6” high is perfect for under bed storage. To keep items free of dust, store them in translucent under bed storage boxes or bins, sold online or at major retailers including The Container Store, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and Ikea.
Going vertical can solve a lot of problems with oddly shaped items, such as shoes or accessories, so use the backs of doors. Websites such as houzz.com, wayfair.com, and apartmenttherapy.com have an almost unlimited assortment of bins, pouches and racks designed specifically for doors.
Making the bed and recycling junk mail seem like small gestures, but each change improves the overall quality of your life, and that’s definitely a change for the better!