I am not perfect. Sometimes I question how I even got a driver’s license and I’m not the greatest at cooking. We all have our specialties; mine happens to be maintaining a freakishly organized space.
Organizing gives me comfort. I love cleaning out my drawers, sweeping away dust and lining everything up just so. When I’ve had a particularly bad day, you will most likely find me buried under piles of things from my closet; re-folding, re-organizing, re-decorating.
I thought I would share some of my advice on how to maintain a tidy space, and how to keep organized at school, work, and life in general.
A place for everything, and everything in its place: Contrary to the way I behave now, as a child my room was always a complete mess. It’s actually puzzling how I made such a radical turnaround. My grandma used to say, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” At which point I’d be pissed and just start throwing toys around anywhere because I was a defiant little shit. I sort of live by that saying now, though. We tend to leave our stuff around because it feels inconvenient to put it away. I try to put everything back where it belongs immediately after I’m done using it. That means I don’t leave shoes, clothes, makeup, and books laying around. The time I spend getting things back out of wherever they are tucked away is nothing compared to the amount of time I’d spend looking for them.
Minimize your possessions: It’s simple; the less you have, the less you need to organize. I’m by no means an extreme minimalist- I have photos on my walls and a hefty collection of dresses- but even just cutting down on duplicate items or reducing your clutter will make a huge difference. I recommend collecting things that you don’t use regularly and storing them. If you don’t reach back into the box, you can donate or sell those items. Clear out your things regularly so it’s not a huge job after a lot of time goes by. Accumulating stuff is a fact of life, but managing your clutter and taking ownership for your things will only benefit you.
Keep a calendar: Figure out a system that works for you to keep track of your commitments. Maybe you prefer a digital version or you might like a paper planner, like me. I write down all my appointments, plans, due dates, you name it and color code them. (Exams in pink, due dates in yellow, appointments in orange, etc.) The most important part is to always have access to your calendar so you can take notes as soon as you plan something; otherwise, you might forget. Then, before you go to make plans, it’s important to check and make sure you’re not double-booking yourself.
Don’t save all your cleaning for one day: If you dedicate one whole day a week to cleaning, it’s good that you’re keeping your space clean, but you’d probably rather spend your time doing something else. If you save everything for one time, the job is harder. For example, if you vacuum weekly it’s going to take less time than if you let dust and dirt build up for a month. Try to keep up with tidying each day so that it doesn’t become an overwhelming task. It doesn’t take long to put away dirty clothes, wipe down your counters, and clean your dishes, as long as you do these chores regularly.
Keep track of important files: Keep all your important documents stored in one safe place. I always like to have hard copies just in case. File like documents together (school, housing, insurance, etc.) so that you can find them easily when you need them. You never know when there might be an emergency and you need to show identity, proof of insurance, or whatever else.
Don’t hoard emails: One thing I think we’ve all been guilty of at some point is leaving our inbox flooding with unread emails. I open up all my email accounts every few days and delete any emails that I don’t need. (Once I had to delete over 10,000 unread emails, I never wanted to endure that hell again.) If an email contains something I want to save, I try to print it out. It’s not likely you’ll need an email again unless it’s very important, so keep your mailbox clean.
Make appointments: Keep track of when you’re due for appointments. If you can, schedule ahead of time. I stay on top of doctor, dentist, hair, therapy, and eye appointments just by watching my calendar. I know no one likes making appointments, going to them, or paying for them, but they’re part of life and putting them off won’t do you any good.
Don’t overbook yourself: One of the most important lessons I’ve learned recently is that being too busy isn’t impressive, it’s irresponsible. Part of being an organized and dependable person is knowing your limits. If you feel like you are constantly rushed, take a look at your schedule and decide what can go. Prioritize your to-dos and don’t take on more than you can handle. You are a human being, not a machine.
I hope you found these ideas helpful. I am not criticizing if you don’t want to do any of these tips, I just wanted to share what works for me.
Thanks for reading!