Guide to Keeping Organized
Learn how to keep your space organized with five key tips from professional organizing experts.
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3. Keep Organized Spaces Sacred
Once you've cleared a space of unwanted items, it can be very difficult to keep it clutter-free. Unless, of course, you know some great organizing secrets:
- Empty spaces seem to attract junk, so cut it off at the pass. "Put a lovely vase of flowers there instead," Sally Allen says. "It changes the dynamics of the space." (www.sallyallenorganizer.com)
- Allen also suggests placing a basket to the side of the space for collecting odd items. (His-and-hers baskets, she notes wryly, can help you nail a clutter culprit.)
- Eliminate magazine clutter with this helpful tip from Ann Bingley Gallops (www.theorganizedlife.net). Go through magazines as soon as you get them, rip out the articles you want to read, staple them into a folder and tuck the packet into your briefcase. "It's like you've created your own magazine, filled with editorial content only you would choose," Gallops says. "Carry it around with you, read it when you have time and when you're done, throw it away."
- Kerry Crocker suggests you think up, not across (www.space-cadette.com)."Using horizontal space is a no-brainer, but vertical space is often overlooked," she says. "Install hooks for purses and keys in the hallway, high shelves for off-season items in the garage and wall pockets for action files in your home office." This helps you resist the urge to pile things on flat surfaces.
4. Practice 5-Minute Organizing
Still waiting around for an eight-hour day you can devote entirely to organizing, but it never seems to arrive? Not unusual.
"I think people think of it as an event — 'I'm going to get organized, period,'" says Heidi Goodwin, a professional organizer in Portland, Maine (www.getsimplicitybydesign.com)."But it's a matter of developing good habits. If you don't incorporate organizing into your day, especially with so much information coming in all the time, even the most organized person will struggle."
Goodwin offers examples of some great five-minute habits that reap a hefty reward for a small investment of time:
- Make your bed.
- Sort your mail.
- Straighten the entryway to your home.
- Delete 10 e-mails from your inbox.
- Clean out your purse.
- File 10 papers.
5. Give Yourself Some Margin
Finally, incorporate a little breathing room into your life. That's Robin Stephens' philosophy (www.yourlifeinorder.com). "A key component to a life in order is restoring margin," she says. "Margin is breathing room, a little reserve that you're not using up — the space between your load and your limit." Stephens recommends these steps for finding space in your life:
- Want what you have. "We cram our spaces and schedules with more and more, yet we still aren't content," Stephens says. "Just clearing the decks isn't enough. You have to be clear on what your values are and what you truly want."
- Pay attention to your limitations. "We tend to overestimate what we can do and underestimate the amount of time it takes to do it," Stephens says.
- Take time to recharge. Stephens recommends taking one day off per week. "Practice the three 'R's of life organization: rest, relax and renew," she says. "Stop filling every second of your life with activity. Don't hide behind the excuse of overload — commit to make room on a daily basis for the things that matter most."
After all, isn't that the reason you were getting organized in the first place?
Stay organized -- one day at a time -- with our easy-to-follow checklist.