Does your desk look like it was hit by a hurricane? Do you lose your car keys three times a week? Could you find every single thing you own, right now?
The ability to easily find everything says something about how well you have your life under control. If finding your stuff is a chaotic process, there’s a good chance that your life is chaotic in general.
In order to increase the peace in your life, the only real rule you need to follow is to put everything back in its proper place when you’re done using it.
Here’s how to make this concept a reality:
1. Sort, put away, sell, give away, and toss your stuff. First, go through all your things. Put away all the items you really need or love. Everything else should be sold, given away, or tossed in the trash. Avoid feeling too attached to things that serve no purpose nor have great emotional value.
2. Have a system for your papers. All incoming mail should have some type of sorting and storage system. Junk mail in the trash. Bills in one place. Other important mail somewhere else. Whenever you need to find a bill or other mail, you’ll know where to look. It also helps at tax time. File the things you intend to keep beyond short-term.
3. Find a place for everything. For example, dirty clothes go in the hamper. Shoes go in the closet. Car keys go in the kitchen drawer. It really doesn’t matter where you choose to put all of your different things; just have a logical place that you’ll use religiously. So don’t put your shoe polish in with the silverware.
4. Put it away when you’re done. And encourage everyone else in the house to do the same. Don’t wait until you feel like it; put it back as soon as you’re done. Consider that if everyone put his or her stuff away when it was no longer needed, you would never have any clutter again.
5. Strive to make it a new habit. It will take a month or so, but if you can hang tough for a month, you’ll probably put your stuff away consistently for the rest of your life. One potentially tough month is worth it!
6. Unless it’s a shelf, all flat surfaces should be essentially clear. Avoid putting your items on a counter, desk, bed, dresser, or the dining table. Permanent or purposely decorative items are fine, but these surfaces should not serve as temporary storage locations.
7. Acknowledge that the floor isn’t a storage location. Toys, clothes, books, magazines, wrapping paper, towels, and everything else should not be stored on the floor. Find a better place for your items and leave the floor for the furniture.
8. Periodically re-evaluate. Occasionally evaluate how your organization and storage system is working for you.
- Anytime you lose something, diagnose the situation. What went wrong? How can you prevent it again in the future? This process of fine-tuning makes all the difference in the world. Keep fixing the flaws.
Losing your items can be a thing of the past. Get organized and have a place for everything. Put your stuff away when you’re done using it and not only will you be clutter-free, but you’ll also know exactly where to find it the next time and every time after that.
Enjoy your new peace as the chaos melts away, never to be seen again!