Research tells us our number one irritant is clutter. Accumulation of our ‘stuff’ is a vicious cycle
that has a huge price tag – physically and emotionally.
Let’s start with the basics.
As humans , before we can truly get motivated and begin, we need some incentive. We have to
ask ourselves what we are really doing this for in the first place.
You need to keep this at the forefront of your mind so that your motivation levels remain high.
You may already have your own list of reasons why you feel you will benefit from being more
organized, but I’d like to offer you a little added inspiration.
Being organized and having a system in place will assure that everything is there, in
its place, when you need it. For instance, an efficient system for handling paperwork and bills will
eliminate the need for backtracking and re-reading documents repeatedly, or spending hours
sifting through shoeboxes, drawers or coat pockets, looking for a single coffee stained, faded
and crumpled receipt for a screwdriver that needs to be returned.
Another huge and more noticeable saving is the financial saving derived from being
organized. Never buy the same thing twice because you can’t find it (or the receipts to return it),
or because it was improperly stored and got damaged.
Never pay another late fee again, by having a scheduled bill-payment day. Being financially
organized means budgeting which will help you to live within your means, rather than blindly
If you are organized, you will have more time and, therefore, more energy. You will
not feel rushed all the time, frantically chasing deadlines, or making up for missed appointments.
You will have a well-earned sense of accomplishment, get more rest, and feel more energetic all
day, every day.
Implement routines in all aspects of your life. The nature of a routine is that
you repeat the same pattern over and over again so that, eventually, you do it without even
thinking about it.
This is the goal of getting organized. It means getting yourself into a pattern so that you can do
most of your routine activities without expending any mental energy whatsoever. If you always
pick up the mail on the way into the house after you park the car, it will start to happen
automatically, almost like you’re on autopilot.
You will not have to invest a moment of thought into this activity. This theory of routine can be
applied to almost everything you do, in all areas of your life.
The “me” factor
A well justified ‘selfish’ reason. Spending less time and money on the things
you have to do, means spending more time and money on the things you want to do. Replace
obligation with recreation.
As you become more organized, the chaos, uncertainty and frustration that surrounds you will
diminish significantly. You will start to benefit from a more positive attitude, a more promising
outlook and a greater quality of life.
The greatest gift you can give your family, friends, and anyone you care about is a happier you!
Let’s face it, clutter and disorder creates a tremendous amount of stress. It’s stressful to worry about what you’re forgetting to do, or to be unable to do something because you can’t find the things you need to get the job done. As the clutter builds, so does your stress. But the good news is that this works in reverse, too. Every step you take to reign in control over your clutter relieves stress until ultimately you will eliminate clutter-induced stress altogether.
Be more spontaneous
I know what you’re thinking—won’t being more organized take away my spontaneity? If the organized people you know are overly rigid, then it’s natural to feel this way. But…when you’re organized, you actually have more wiggle room to get things done. This means you can actually be more spontaneous, because things aren’t going to fall apart if you veer off your original plan for a while. For example, if you typically stay caught up with laundry, then you don’t have to worry about delaying laundry for a day and instead join a friend for an afternoon out. You have plenty of clean clothes to choose from the next morning, even if you don’t do laundry today.
Disorganization can be very isolating. If you’re embarrassed about how your home looks, you may avoid having people over. Likewise, if you feel guilty about your clutter, you may find it hard to go out and do fun things, because you feel you should be home organizing. By getting more organized, you’ll be free to socialize more. When friends drop by unexpectedly, you’ll be happy to welcome them in, and when you get invitations to go out, you’ll feel able to accept the invite guilt-free.
Have more energy
Clutter drains our energy. If you don’t believe me, walk into the most cluttered room in your home and simply take note of how you feel. Is it harder to breath? Do you feel stressed or anxious? Then, think about the last time you decluttered and organized. Remember that energized feeling? When you clear the clutter your home will energize you, which means you will have more energy and feel better.
When you’re organized is it’s easier to make healthy choices. You’ll have more time to exercise and plan (and cook) healthy meals. This can mean fewer last minute trips through the drive through, or calls for carry out, because there’s no time, energy or food to eat in!
Be more focused
Clutter is also very distracting. Your piles taunt you with unfinished tasks, and worries over what isn’t getting done. When the clutter is gone, you’ll find it easier to stay focused on the important tasks and people in your life.
Feel more confident
Clutter erodes our confidence. You may worry that someone will make their way into that “one room” or find out that you don’t really have it all together the way people think you do. When you get more organized, you’ll alleviate those fears. You’ll gain confidence and feel great about your home and most of all yourself.
Be a positive influence on those around you
Sometimes it’s harder to find the motivation to do something for ourselves, and easier to do it for someone else. So if none these other ideas are compelling to you, then consider if it’s more compelling to get organized for others. Your efforts and the new skills you learn by getting organized can help others. You’ll be more positive. You’ll be a good role model. And, if your clutter is currently bothering your spouse or someone else you live with, that stress and strain will be removed from your relationship.
Elaine Fernando is a Central NJ professional organizer, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and a member of APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers). Elaine may be reached at 908-630-8995 or [email protected]