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The Ultimate A - Z of Organizing
By Chrissy at organisemyhouse.com
I wanted to have a bit of fun here, but also in all seriousness, this list of “The A to Z of Organizing” has come about from what I think are some of the most important areas to consider when getting organized.
If nothing else, it should make you smile!
A IS FOR ASSESS
I LOVE the fact that ASSESS naturally falls at the top of this A to Z of Organizing list, as it’s truly the very first thing that should ALWAYS be done when getting ANY part of your life/home organized.
It’s the start of my A.D.O.R.E Method for a reason!
The idea of planning out what you want, what you need, how to do it, etc… is crucial to making systems and routines that will work for you, and if you forget this step then you may end up not organizing successfully, thinking that organizing doesn’t work – and give up there and then.
So – look at what needs to be done, what you want to achieve, what your goals are, the steps you need to get there, etc… and you will be more likely to reach your target.
B IS FOR BALANCED LIFE
I have written a post about balancing your life, and feel that this is a crucial thing to ensure you are aware of whenever you are looking at changing anything.
If you are looking at organizing your fitness, for example, that’s great, but make sure that you don’t allow this to take over your life to the detriment of other things.
Absolutely make something a priority, but creating a balanced life will make you feel more fulfilled.
C IS FOR CLEAN
Getting your home clean is a critical part of organizing.
Having a schedule that's easy to keep to and maintains the home to a level that is acceptable to you will create calm in the home, and make it more of a pleasure to come home each evening.
D IS FOR DECLUTTER
This really is hand in hand with cleaning, as there’s no point in cleaning things that will end up not being part of your home – so I would always suggest a good declutter before you start cleaning a space.
Decluttering is one of the biggest things that can make a difference to your home visibly and mentally.
You will feel free to do what is important in life, and not held back by “stuff”.
It is also the main thing I would suggest when looking to sell your home, as a cluttered home will always feel smaller and therefore look overpriced – the last thing you want when selling!
E IS FOR EVALUATE
Once you have organized something in your life or home, it is equally important to evaluate how it’s working for you and your family.
Every 6 months usually works well as it’s long enough to really test the new system/routine or space.
Tweaking may sometime be needed to ensure that it is working as well as it possibly can be for you personally – and I really would recommend this if you have used someone else's organizing methods, as everyone is different and may need slightly different things.
F IS FOR FILING
Filing is key to organizing your paperwork so that you can find things when required.
However, it’s also really important to acknowledge that only what's absolutely necessary should be filed – otherwise you won’t be any better off.
G IS FOR GUEST READY
Organizing is often the action caused by feeling overwhelmed by your home.
If you have ever felt that you can’t have anyone over because of your home, then you’ll understand that having a home that you feel you are always able to welcome guests is a really important aspect of homemaking.
I am not saying that every cupboard and room has to be perfect, but at least your main entertaining room, the kitchen and the hallway would be a start.
H IS FOR HABITS
Changing bad habits for good habits is key to ensuring that your organizing actions will last.
As an easy example, if you organize your bedroom and as part of this make your bed look fantastic – if you don’t have the good habit of making your bed every morning after you get up, then your bedroom will slowly fall back into an unorganized state.
It often takes up to 21 times of doing something new for it to become a habit (everyone is different though so some may take a lot longer) – but always try and aim to do a new thing every day for a month before you decide whether it is or isn’t a good habit for you.
I IS FOR IN IT’S PLACE!
Everything in its place is one of the mantras of organizing professionals.
If you organize your home so that everything has a place, then simply ensuring that when something is used it is put back into its place as soon as possible will ensure that you can always find things, that your family can too (saving you time of searching for them), and that your home always looks relatively tidy.
I find that the following habit is a great one to get started with: –
When leaving a room do a quick scan and see if anything doesn’t belong there. If there’s anything then take it there and then and place it back where it belongs. This will drastically change the look of a messy home and is really simple to implement.
J IS FOR JUGGLING
Not the circus kind(!), but juggling all the things that life throws at you.
No matter how organized a person you are, there will be many times when life simply happens – people fall ill, let you down, cars don’t start, people call in unexpectedly, people need your help etc…. – and being able to deal with these things along with the many other usual day to day things that fill your life is crucial to staying organised and not drowning under “stuff”.
K IS FOR KEEP IT SIMPLE
Organizing is NOT meant to be hard.
It is meant to be a skill that enables you to make the most of every part of your life.
Any time you organize something in your life it should be as simple as possible for everyone involved to follow.
If not then rest assured it probably won’t stay organized for long.
L IS FOR LISTS
I am a BIG advocate of list-making – but it crucial to make the right lists – as you can get overwhelmed by them if you aren’t careful.
These are a manageable number, so I’m not too overwhelmed – but I also have a small notepad in my handbag to write in any bits that crop up during the day (phone numbers, websites to look at, etc…) which I then transfer to the required list/diary, etc… at the end of each day.
This means that lists help me to stay in control of my life, and can also help others to see what needs to be done!
M IS FOR MANAGE THE HOME
I am a total advocate of the title of HOME BOSS – and feel that running a home, whether full or part-time is a critical job in today's world.
We are constantly on the go, with family members needing more and more support from a stable home life than ever.
Just as with an office manager, a HOME BOSS has to put on so many hats – Delegation, Teamwork, Scheduling, Time Management, Filing, Financial management, Reviews, and Evaluations – basically ensuring that everything runs like clockwork and everyone knows where to be, with what, and when! Phew – I’m tired even thinking about it!
N IS FOR NO
The most important word in time management – saying NO is so important, sometimes enabling you to live your life as you want.
You don’t have to agree to do everything, and saying no may also mean that you can spend more quality time on other areas of your life.
Even top entrepreneurs who have charity work to do can’t say yes to everything – they need to specify what is important to them and then give more quality time – rather than spreading themselves too thinly over too many charities.
Think of your time as your number one possession, and allocate it accordingly.
If something will not either fulfill you or take you further towards your dreams and goals – then ask yourself if you really should spend time on it – and say NO!
O IS FOR ORGANISE
Well – it couldn’t be anything else really now – could it!
I think this one speaks for itself! You just have to get yourself motivated to get organized – if you don’t really want it, it won’t happen.
P IS FOR PUT IT AWAY!
Another of those key habits that really will change your home quickly and effectively.
If you do just one thing on your quest for organizing then make it that you put things away, where they belong, as soon as you have finished using them.
You will save so much time and energy by doing this very simple thing.
TIME SAVER – No more hunting for items when you need them
EFFORT SAVER – Stress and Energy is used when we see things lying around the house, cluttering it up.
If you have a long way to go before you get to your desired level of clutter in your home, try this new habit – each time you leave a room, scan it to see if anything is there that doesn’t belong – if so MOVE IT NOW.
This will slowly ensure that everything is housed in its right place! simple!
Q IS FOR QUESTIONING
When you are getting organized, it is key to question everything.
Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve? What's your goal? Do you really need this in your home? etc…. Questioning things along the way will ensure you get to the place you want to get to i.e. organized to the level YOU want.
R IS FOR ROUTINES
Routines are vital in an organized home.
Other routines can be devised to ensure you make the most of your day and are the most time-efficient you can be.
Just as with a small baby – who thrives on routine – it can be useful to schedule a lot when you start organizing – and once things become habits then you can ease off a little.
S IS FOR SYSTEMS
Setting up systems in your home is a really effective way of getting organized.
You can have systems for ALL sorts of areas of your home: –
- Home Maintenance
- Gift Giving
- Food Shopping
- Meal Planning
However, please ensure that your systems are reflective of how you and your family live – otherwise they will not work as well as they could.
One of the key systems I always like to set up first in a home is the paperwork system – as its one of the main clutter and stress causers.
Setting up a system that deals with incoming paper (posts, invitations, school and work admin, etc…), the paper that needs keeping, the paper that needs actioning, etc… is key to gaining control of your home.
T IS FOR TIME MANAGEMENT
Making the most of your time is a fundamental skill that everyone should learn.
We all have 24 hours in a day, but why is it that some people can get more out of theirs than others?
I intend to share some great time management tips with you along the way, which hopefully should give you the knowledge of how to balance your time, use it wisely, and not waste it!
U IS FOR UNDERSTANDING
We are not just one person living a solitary life – there are many people who affect our lives from day to day.
This could be family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc….
Understanding how you affect others can really help with getting organized and give you more skills to make things run even smoother.
Using other people's skills, delegating, creating systems that work for everyone involved – are just some of the ways that having an understanding for others will help.
And of course – never forget to understand yourself – ask yourself key questions and identify what drives you, what works for you, etc… and you will create an organized life that’s exactly right for you!
V IS FOR VALUE
Creating value in life is the key to being happy.
I am not talking about financial value necessarily, but value from relationships, your career, your home, etc… will really make a difference.
If you are truly happy with most of the areas of your life (let's be realistic – there will, of course, be times when everything’s going wrong, so not everything will work like clockwork all the time), then you will have got the balance right, and worked out what's valuable to you.
W IS FOR WORK AT IT
My favorite saying is that organizing is a journey, not a destination – and this means you really have to keep working at it every day for the rest of your life.
This sounds daunting but really is pretty easy to achieve once you have created the skills and habits that you need.
Once you have done the bulk of your organizing, and systems are in place, its simply down to upkeep, which can take as little as 5 minutes a day to keep on top of.
So – working at it will save so much time and energy in the coming years – why would you not want to get started!
X IS FOR CROSS IT OFF
OK OK – this is a bit of a stretch of the letter X! but go with it, please!
There really is no use in creating TO DO lists if you don’t ever get TO DO anything on them.
Otherwise, they are about as useful as a blank sheet of paper. Make it a goal to transfer things off your TO DO as often as possible and get them scheduled into your diary – that way they are much more likely to be done – and CROSSED OFF.
It gives such a sense of satisfaction to cross things off your list as well, and feeling like you are getting somewhere can be really motivating.
Y IS FOR YES
Just as NO is a keyword in organizing – so too is YES.
Saying yes to getting organized, and accepting things as part of your life, will enable you to move forward.
Procrastinating can be so harmful to getting anything done, and giving yourself the power to make decisions will pay dividends!
Z IS FOR ZZZZZZZ
Think everyone deserves some rest now!
Seriously though – getting enough rest and relaxation is just as key to getting organized as setting systems up in your home.
If you are tired and rundown you are no good to anyone.
The key is to look after yourself so you are fit and healthy to be of use to everyone around you.
THERE YOU HAVE IT – THE ENTIRE A TO Z OF ORGANIZING!
I hope you’ve enjoyed it as the bit of fun it was meant to be – BUT I also hope you’ve got some quick ideas of what to focus on when it comes to getting organized. There are loads of links to posts throughout this list (all in purple), but one of the first places to start is to check out my ADORE method, as this is the key for all organizing projects, big or small.