Organized For Life

Questions come my way all the time regarding my God-given nature to be organized. It has been said that I stayed under the proverbial "organized spout" too long when I was being created. In fact, at one point in my career I had the unofficial title, "Minister of Organization."

However, when a person takes the time to ask me about organization I take their question seriously. If a person is asking about being more organized I know they are considering changes in their life. Changes that could give them more time to spend with their families, time to spend developing the career that they have only dreamed of, or changes that will make them enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror, changes that could be difficult and terrifying.

Below are some very practical ideas that you can apply to your life. I have spent my lifetime gathering these ideas, not only gathering but also applying them successfully in my own life.

Understand that you might not be a neat freak. As stated above, I was born organized. My parents never punished me by making me clean my room. The only way that they could have would have been for me to mess it up first and then clean it. Don't allow the pressure of someone's neatness make you feel bad about yourself. When you see their neat and clean home, office, automobile, or sock drawer remember they could be a big mess on the inside.

Begin with a list. Things often seem less overwhelming if you put them in their proper perspective. Make a list of what you'd like to organize and break it down into manageable tasks. Remember how you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

Get your equipment in order. Well labeled boxes, drawers, family calendars, old plastic storage containers, and more can be used to store and help establish a routine in your life. Be creative. Can you use an old flowerpot to store miscellaneous pencils and pens by the phone? Can you stash old checkbooks in a labeled shoebox and store them in the closet instead of your desk drawer? There are an abundance of inexpensive organizers on the market today. If you find yourself lacking the proper equipment at home, make a list of your needs and shop around. Having the proper equipment for the job will make less work for you in the long run. Less work equals more fun!

Create a plan. Now that you have a list and all the tools needed, create a plan of action. Make a priorities list. You don't have to do it all in one weekend. Make a plan and stick to it.

Get rid of the junk. That is a blunt way of saying, "If you haven't used it in a year consider throwing it away." Keep in mind that the more things you have, the more you have to take care of. Is your closet filled with clothes that never leave the hanger? Maybe now is a good time to make a donation to your local Salvation Army or church clothing closet. Do you have a storage area packed with boxes that you haven't seen in years? If you haven't used something in over a year, you probably never will. Hold a thrift sale. Give it away. Junk it.

Make a place for everything. If you're not really sure where batteries go, how will you put them away? In the junk drawer again? Make certain that everything has a place to be stored. Lose the junk drawer and use boxes and labeled envelopes to store miscellaneous items. You'll eliminate clutter if you make space now for everything.

Use F.A.T. bins. When I help people organize their life I suggest they set up helpful bins for all the things that they deal with in a day's time. Three of the bins I suggest are: Action (a bin that should be emptied at the end of the day), File It (a bin full of items to be filed by the end of the week), and Trash (a can to be emptied as often as needed with items that are not filed in other bins).

If you apply the F.A.T system it's not necessary to spend every weekend cleaning, you will naturally take care of simple tasks regularly. Do a quick pickup everyday. Is your kitchen table or desk piled high with today's mail, current projects, and miscellaneous items? Make it a rule that the table or desk gets cleaned off every day. Take fifteen minutes somewhere in the day to just put things away. Don't make a chore of it. Fifteen minutes will give you enough time to remove clutter before it gets out of hand.

Do a little each day. Make a list of daily chores that you can do each day. Is the Laundromat packed on weekends? Why not go for an hour on Monday night instead? Do you spend more time than necessary waiting in line shopping for groceries before the weekend? Pick a different day. Stores are less busy during early weekday evenings. By doing one task a day, rather than trying to accomplish them all in one weekend, cleanup and organization isn't as painful.

Take time to relax. Since cleaning up is work, it often gets put off until it's a huge project. Do a little each day and then, stop. Rest, relax, and enjoy your clutter free home. Reward yourself when you get the job done. I have a friend that recently rewarded herself with a new car!

Know how to say, "No." You must realize that you cannot do everything, and if you allow your schedule to become too full you will not accomplish tasks at your highest potential. Being focused on what you want in your life (and your day) will help you say no to many would-be distractions.

I would be glad to become your "Organized For Life" coach. Coaching you to your potential is success in my book. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or check out the website link below.

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About The Author

Jeff Earlywine

www.jeffearlywine.com

[email protected]

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Organizing | Times-Tribune  Middleton Times Tribune

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