As you’re trying to be a star employee at work, you’re probably juggling even more tasks at home: getting the kids to their extracurricular activities on time, preparing meals for your family and managing your social life. How do you balance it all? It starts with organization in all aspects of your life.
Organization at Home
“You should organize your home according to your lifestyle and your needs,” Francia Fusik, the owner of All in One Decorating Solutions, says. She also notes that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so the same method won’t work for all families.
It’s important to take into consideration the layout of your home, as well as your family’s routine, to determine what will work best for you. No matter what, you’ll need a convenient place to always put your car keys, your mail, your purse, your umbrella if it’s raining and your jacket when it’s cold outside. The same goes for your children’s backpacks and equipment needed for extracurricular activities during the school year. The question is: Where is your convenient place going to be located?
“If your home has space for a mud room, it is worth it to make one,” Fusik says. “It is one of the easiest ways to start your organization.”
A mud room is a small room near an entryway, where you will usually find hooks, shelving or cabinets, the washer and dryer, and other storage elements that are perfect for keeping your everyday items that you want kept out of sight. While not everyone has space for a mud room, Fusik suggests improvising by converting a table to include shelves and putting a shoe storage area in the garage.
When it comes to the family room, Fusik says ottomans with storage can be used to hide blankets when they are not being used or as a fancy toy box for the kids. And if you or a member of your family is an avid newspaper or magazine reader, consider a large basket that can be tucked underneath the coffee table for the family room as well.
Organization in Your Life
Having an organized home will take a huge weight off your shoulders, and so, too, will keeping all elements of your life in check. Start with the following items, which are easy to do on a weekly basis.
-Write to-do lists. Whether you’re grocery shopping, packing for a trip or keeping up with day-to-day activities, a list will keep all bases covered. Plus, it feels good to check things off.
-Use an organizer to keep track of special dates, deadlines and personal or work appointments. This will ensure you won’t forget about anything important.
-Meal prep on the weekends so all you have to do when it’s time to eat is pull organized containers from the fridge.
-Keep your handbag clean. Get rid of old receipts, keep loose change in a coin purse, store all your cards in a business card holder, and carry only the essentials so you don’t have to stress about finding your keys or phone when they fall to the bottom.
These ideas can help you manage everyday tasks, but a key element to keeping your life organized is to learn to say no sometimes. Taking on too much can make life chaotic. Remember to schedule time for you.
Disorganization Zaps Productivity
Why is organization so important? Whether at work or at home, individuals with organized personal spaces are typically more productive. Even scientists agree.
In 2011, Princeton University Neuroscience Institute researchers published an article in The Journal of Neuroscience with the results of an experiment that looked at how individuals interacted with and responded to things competing for their attention. It stated, “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”
So when your desk at work is filled with stacks of paperwork and a bunch of sticky note reminders, it’s likely that you will have a hard time focusing on the task at hand. Similarly, having a cluttered closet, an unorganized garage or messy kitchen cabinets can affect your everyday chores. After all, a cluttered life can interrupt your ability to get things done.
Now, when you have your home and your personal spaces just the way you want them, there’s just one thing to remember. “Once you are all organized, you need to have the discipline to put everything where it belongs,” Fusik says. “That is the beginning of the organization.”
Pinterest’s Best Home Organization Hacks
1. Recycle tissue boxes when you’re done with them. They make perfect storage containers for plastic bags from the grocery store. Just pull them out one by one as you need them.
2. Repurpose magazine holders for storing beauty tools like flat irons and hair brushes in the bathroom, keeping flip flops organized in the closet or having easy access to storage bags, aluminum foil and wax paper in kitchen cabinets.
3. Do you have an extra pencil cup in your office? Use it in the bathroom to store makeup brushes so they’re not all over the place.
4. Not sure what to do with all of those extra rolls of wrapping paper? Store them upright in a garment bag and hang them in the closet until you need them.
5. Place a plastic bag or a small garbage bag in a large cereal container and keep it in your car. Throw water bottles, snack wrappers and receipts in your DIY trash can instead of on the floor. Just don’t forget to empty it when it’s full.
6. Place a hanging shoe rack on the back of your laundry room door and use each slot to store individual cleaning supplies.
7. Line a kitchen drawer with canvas storage bins and keep Tupperware containers and the corresponding lids together in each one.