“But I don’t have the time.” It’s bull. It might seem true, or even better, it might even be true. Either way, it’s a crummy excuse. We have time for being organized. In fact, if we “don’t have the time,” making the time once will reduce the time we need to do it later.
What am I talking about? Well, organization. I’ll explain a minimalist approach to organizing and staying organized.
Why we have the time: We have time for TV, Facebook, and time to stare at any other thing on a mind-numbing screen. We have time. None of the things listed before are evil or bad, but they’re huge time consumers when used in certain manners. The excuse of a lack of time is lousy. There is time. Make the time.
How to organize: Create a system. What goes where? What do we truly need? To a minimalist, it’s about keeping only the things that are beautiful or useful, nothing else. Take time to go through certain areas of a living space or whatever area you’d like to organize. Divide that space into smaller and more manageable chunks. It could be the living room one day, the kitchen another day, the basement, or even smaller areas of those areas if the task is daunting. Get those areas to a condition in which you find satisfaction with them. This will be the starting ground for all future organization.
How to STAY organized: What’s easier: Washing a sink full of dirty dishes, or rinsing off a few plates after dinner time? The latter. We previously organized and now it’s time to stay organized. Is it always easy to rinse the plate after consuming a big meal? No. Is it easier than having dishes always backed up, or never having your plates ready? I would say so. We can apply this to a lot of other things in a home.
Dealing with something as soon as possible prevents that thing from becoming an enormous undertaking. That pile of clothes on the floor… you may very well be inclined to throw more clothes on top of it the next day and the next day and the next… This is not only sloppy but could be dangerous. Take it off, put it in the laundry, or hang it up (put it where it goes). Stay organized once you get organized.
There’s no need for “perfection.” In fact, perfection is impossible. Sometimes things may sit for a few hours to a day. Have enough motivation to take care of the situation before it becomes an eyesore and a thing you avoid.
Reclaim your space. You likely paid (or pay) good money for it. Why feel insecure to have visitors because it’s a mess? Why not enjoy having enough area to have some fun in? Reclaim what’s yours in terms of space, but also in terms of time, energy, and money.
A few more actionable steps to get and stay organized:
- Sell, donate, or throw away some crap: It’s not “crap” (or maybe it is), but I’m calling it crap because it’s doing you no good. If it is doing you good you’re (hopefully) taking care of it or making use of it. For everything else, sell it to make some money. Donate it to someone who would get value out of it. Throw it away or recycle it if it’s worth nothing to anybody.
- Have less: Having fewer things may force you to take good care of the things you already have. Imagine if you only had one plate. You require this plate to eat your meal. Would you let it sit dirty, waiting for the cleaning of the plate, while it sits caked on grossness that accumulated from the last meal? Let’s hope not. A good strategy is to have one of a certain item. It won’t work with everything, but many people have found success in a strategy like this.
- Pay closer attention to what you do and don’t use: If an item has sat unused for a time, consider it no longer useful to you. At that point, sell, donate, or throw away (see above), to decide what is next for the item. Set a length of time for yourself that you feel is reasonable and fair. Many people say 90 days, some say 30, and some say 180. There’s no hard rule so you can set your own.
- Get rid of one thing every day: You can get rid of this however you want. Instead of allocating a lot of time to organizing, you can take one thing to get rid of however you’d like. Visiting an expecting mother? Do you have any children’s items they may find particularly useful? Try to find one thing a day that someone else may find useful and get it to them. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll feel good about gifting to someone who could use it more.
A few more reasons to stay organized:
It’s mentally and physically freeing. Having enough space in your area and in your mind is a wonderful feeling. Clutter and chaos weigh on many people. When you see the clutter or madness you try to avoid it and/or stress about it. You remind yourself that you don’t have enough time, which reminds yourself that you’re too stressed to deal with it, which reminds yourself… It’s a cycle. Deal with it. You’ll never have enough hours to do everything you want, but you can help yourself to reclaim as many of your precious moments as you can. “Complaining is the denial of responsibility.” Stop complaining and start doing.
For more help on getting organized, click here to see: Minimalism: Because Less Is More. The book will teach you several further steps to get organized physically, as well as mentally.