Color-coded closets. Clean countertops. Captured clutter. While these C’s may resemble the homes of the organized wizards of the world, they aren’t quite the action verbs that teach the rest of us how to reign it all in. Master the five C’s below and you’ll learn how to organize your home like the pros.
The biggest challenge for a disorganized person, and the strongest skill for an organized one, is the ability to capture and sort. Ideas, events, deadlines, laundry, assignments, mail—nothing gets by without being properly addressed. Organized folks use this active “do it now” attitude to stop clutter and distraction before they have a chance to collect. This means hanging up coats instead of tossing them over a chair, cleaning the kitchen at the end of every day, and sorting mail as soon as its plucked out of the mail box. They also make a point of organizing ideas in the same way; if a light bulb goes on, it’s written down.
Part of the capturing means making sure you have time to do everything. Organized people are rarely over-committed; they know where they have promised their time and have a good idea how much time every engagement, project, and to-do list item will take. Take their advice and create an honest bubble of time around each item on your list. Also, whether it’s on paper or online, it’s a good organizing tip to keep a master calendar where all events, due dates and tasks can be recorded.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Organized people are optimistic realists. Their can-do attitudes are what power them through the tedious, and their conscientious nature allow them to effectively prioritize which projects deserve more time than others. They have to let go of the perfect; it just doesn’t do to dwell on unimportant details that only gum up the works. Take a nod from the organization wizards and “don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.”
Well-ordered mavens do not toss a bunch of things into a pile or a basket; they have a system. They contain objects into easily sorted and easily accessible bins, folders, lists, and calendars. They touch it once, and if it’s something that will take less than five minutes to complete, they get it done right away. A growing to-do list is just as messy as a pile of mail, and even lists need to be weeded down occasionally. This also means they contain their attention to doing one thing at a time, because they’ve come to the realization that multi-tasking is life’s great lie. Remember this organizing tip: A focused brain is much more efficient than a distracted one.
When you’re learning how to organize your home, keep in mind that organized people check—off, in, on, and often. By being conscious of their commitments, they stay on top of small and large projects so things don’t spiral out of control. This usually means lists, and lots of them. Organized people also see the value of checking out. Because people are not battery-powered rabbits and brains function better when they are allowed a mindful break.
We hope you find these organizing tips to be constructive and not catastrophic. Feel free to add your own tips below (and you can use whatever letter of the alphabet you feel like).