Thinking About Parenting

10 Tools and Tips to Organize Your Life


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10 Tools and Tips to Organize Your Life 


"If I could just remember where I put that."

"I know I just bought that, but I don't know where it is." 

"Do you know where my '_____' is?"

"I wouldn't have bought one if I knew I already had one."

"It's got to be around here somewhere."

Have you said any of the above or similar phrases? Do you say them more often than you would like to admit? Will you often spend more time looking for the thing you need to get the job done than the time it takes to get the job done?

Time to face the music. You need to get ORGANIZED.

Simply put, getting organized boils down to that adage - "a place for everything, and everything in its place."

Why Bother?

Seems like a lot of bother if you are not organized now and are looking from the outside in. You may even take pride in your "organized chaos" and believe that's good enough. Is it worth the effort to change? Why would I even want to?

There are some tangible benefits to leading a more organized existence. These include things like:

  • Stress reduction
  • Increased productivity
  • More time for what's important to you
  • Feeling of pride
  • Money savings long term
  • Achievement of goals
  • Improved self-esteem

Let's get started. I will offer you some simple and cost-effective solutions to organizing your life. This will give you a place to start and allow you to transfer the tips to more specific areas of your life, work, and home.

10 Tools and Tips to Organize Your Life

1. Declutter

  • Start with easy. Throw out trash first
  • Baby steps. Pick an area, room, or even a drawer to start with
  • Sort. Three piles or boxes - KEEP, DONATE, TOSS
  • Set time limits, like 30 minutes, so you don't become overwhelmed and give up
  • Choose balance. If you bring something new in, something old must go.
  • Learn the difference between wants and needs. The wants often end up with an expiration date and end up as clutter
  • Make sure to get rid of duplicate items and things you never use

2. Choose a place

  • Like Benjamin Franklin's quote above, "a place for everything and everything in its place."
  • Group comparable items together so they are easier to find
  • When you use an item, put it right back where you found it immediately when done
  • Use tools like bins, hooks, hangers, shelving, and bags to store things

  • Keep your counters, workspaces, and floors clear
  • I like to keep things I use daily within reach, weekly within view, and less frequently used items stored 

3. Write it down

  • You can't remember everything. None of us can. Get used to writing things down.
  • Make sure that whatever you choose to write on you have easy access to so you don't have to search for your notes in multiple places

4. Make a list

  • Make a to-do list
  • Make a list of goals
  • Make a grocery list
  • If it's important, put it on a list

5. Pick a system

  • For writing things down, use a notebook, notepad, your phone, or computer as long as you're comfortable with it
  • Organize your time on a calendar in the same way, using a paper or digital version as long as you are consistent
  • Use an app like Evernote, Wunderlist, or similar for your to-do's if that's your preference

I personally have used many different apps and finally settled on Microsoft 365 suite so my calendar, documents, to-do lists, emails, digital downloads, etc. all are accessible together. There are similar suites of products available. It's important to find the one that works for you.

  • Go digital if you can. That way your items are accessible wherever you are. If not, choose a notebook or planner that can go with you most of the time
  • Automate things like bill paying
  • Back up to the cloud - One Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

6. Do it now

  • Don't procrastinate
  • Put things away right now, not later. Make it a habit
  • Get up earlier to plan your successful day
  • Group small, quick tasks together and knock them out for a quick dose of satisfaction

7. Label it

  • Color coding makes like things easily found
  • Label bins, containers, shelves, and anything else that helps you create a place for everything
  • Use a labeler, pre-made labels, or a Sharpie

8. Make space and time

  • Make organization a routine and a habit
  • Choose a workspace for planning, doing tasks, and reviewing progress
  • Pick regular times to get things done, like paying the bills on Monday, doing the yard work on Wednesday, decluttering the house on Friday, etc.
  • Learn to prioritize your efforts. Do what's important first.

9. Be yourself

  • It's your life. Organize it the way you want, but DO organize it
  • It doesn't have to be like anyone else's. Masking tape and a Sharpie work just as well as the fanciest set of labels
  • Create a space and a life that you are proud of

10. Enjoy the journey

  • Start small. It's not going to happen overnight
  • Be forgiving. It doesn't have to be perfect.
  • Track progress and celebrate successes, one area at a time
  • Avoid overworking yourself. Practice self-care.

You can do this. The best way to get done is to get started. Start small and gain some traction. Celebrate victories and learn from your mistakes. Please check out some of the recommended items but know that you can start with what you have on hand, cups, shoe boxes, plastic bags, etc. 

It's amazing what you can accomplish if you just get started. Organize a drawer and before you know it, you've moved on to a room, a home, a car, and your life.

An organized existence will create balance in your busy life. It's easy to get overwhelmed with all that's out of your control these days. Simplifying your routine and developing habits like making your bed first thing in the morning, clearing the dishes before bed, and using lists to prioritize what's important to you allows you refuge in the chaos.

"Let all things be done decently and in order." 

-1 Corinthians 14:40