7 Steps to Disorganized Organization

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Although you may think that some people were born organized, the truth is that we all have to work at it. It’s okay to admit that there are times when you’ve misplaced something critically important. It’s also okay to become a little better organized so that you’re not continually asking others to find your missing items. It gets old. 
Many years ago, before I even owned a house of my own, I read Don Aslett’s book Make Your House Do the Housework. It made me realize that planning ahead and organizing can be a lot of fun. I found out that I didn’t have to feel bad about enjoying my play time along with my work schedule. 
Having your essential things organized in a way that works for you is a great stress reducer. It gives you more play time. Here are 7 steps to finding an organized place for your time and things.
Take a good look at that piece of paper. Yes, someone laid a piece of paper on your desk or sent you an email — again. However, in this moment, you just don’t seem to know what to do with it. Don’t worry about it, but do schedule time to focus on what you want to do with the never-ending flow of information. I like to tag my junk mail and files, so that they automatically go away. Even so, some day I’m going to have to take a good look at that information. I found it best to set aside some critical focus time to go through the paper/email/mail clutter and dump it in the trash. It feels so good.
Make peace with the piles. My desk doesn’t stay neat for very long, but at least I know where everything is located — somewhere on my desk. If you’re an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of person, putting away your stacks of papers in a drawer is fine as long as you know where to find it when you need it. My favorite housekeeper would take my “stuff” and make neat little piles out if it, leaving it precisely where I, or my family, put it. That way, I still know where to find things — exactly where I left them.
Your organized corner will look different than my organized corner. My husband likes to de-clutter his desk every month or so, while I’m more of a once-a-week kind of person. People are different and so is their way of organizing things. Discover what works the best for you and let other people find out their own personal needs. Just because someone does it differently doesn’t make either one of you wrong. If your “stuff” overlaps, then confidently have a conversation about where things belong that works for both of you. If you have to get more copies of keys or draw a line down the middle of the room, just do it. That way you can spend your energy taking care of your own stuff.
Sorry, the computer doesn’t handle all the paperwork. It was such a great idea when I thought that I would get all of my papers scanned into my computer. I could imagine opening empty file drawers. Then one day my computer crashed, and I was heart-sick. Another day there was a power failure, and I couldn’t find the number to call the electric company. Yes, there are ways around this, but some papers simply need to be left as a hard copy placed where you can conveniently find them.
It doesn’t matter what you call your list. Whether it’s a To-Do list, a grocery list, Evernote, or a personal secretary, having a place to remove things out of your brain is essential. Some people carry 3×5 cards in their pocket. Others use their iPhones. Actively using a list or a calendar gives your brain a much-needed break. This simple habit saves you from missing those very-important-appointments. Discover what works for you and use it until the cows come home.
Being disorganized only means you can’t find something when you need it. Maybe your dog really did chew it up, or the dryer actually swallowed it. Nevertheless, most of the time when things are misplaced it’s because you didn’t put it in the same spot. Being organized is like a puzzle, but seriously, you don’t have to re-do the puzzle each day. Find a home for each item and put it back in the same spot. This one habit can reduce stress just as well as getting a good night’s rest. Besides, you have better things to enjoy than running around searching for missing items.
Your first priority is to enjoy the people around you. I had eight dinner guests show up at the same time the repair man came to fix my broken microwave. The kitchen was full of people trying not to stumble on the parts and pieces in the middle of the kitchen floor. It can be rough when plans suddenly change. Although this has the potential of creating disharmony and chaos, remember that people are more important than things. Simply smile and go with it. You don’t have to close the doors to your family and friends just because the repairman came at the wrong time. Invite the repairman to dinner. Besides, it makes a great story to tell on Facebook.
Before you get swallowed up in the mess, remember that things are just things. If you haven’t used it in years, memorialize it by taking a picture of it, or give it away to someone who needs it more than you. Joy comes in being able to manage your stuff with style. Set aside organization time AND play time. As you learn new habits that make your life easier just remember that if there’s a fire, it won’t matter anyway. In the end, it’s the people who matter most.

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