Organize + Energize: 6 Ways to Maintain Your Organized Space
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
You’ve tackled your clutter and created working organized systems. What’s next? You’re going to have some work to do. You have to be able to maintain the organization and the systems you’ve created or you’ll find yourself back in the same situation. Most people find maintenance the most difficult task in the organizing process.
Here are 6 things you need to do after you get organized:
Evaluate your space. Now that you have a clutter-free, organized space, take a step back and evaluate your space. Clutter may have been in the way before and you weren’t able to get a good feel of the room. Take a look at the furniture placement and décor. You don’t have to spend money on new furniture or décor. Re-arrange and repurpose what you have to create a better flow to your home or office.
Establish routines. Once you get organized, you’re going to have to put some work into maintaining these systems. It’s going to be as easy as taking something out and putting it back in the designated place where it now belongs. That’s really all it’s about! For a little while, you will really have to work at maintaining. Try not to fall back into your old habits. Work at these routines every day and they will become habits.
Time Management. Now that you can see clearly with the clutter gone, it’s time to evaluate how you function on a daily basis. It’s great that you got organized, but let’s take it a step further and break down how you function. Take each task that you perform on a daily or weekly basis. How many steps does it take you to complete a task? Talk yourself through the process of how you’re functioning and try to cut those steps in half. You will be amazed at how much time you save.
Utilize a to-do list. Getting organized and utilizing to-do lists go hand in hand. Are you utilizing a to-do list? It will truly help you in this process. Choose a handwritten or an electronic one. Make it work for you.
Enjoy the benefits. Before you were organized, you were probably wasting time and money. You may have been overwhelmed and stressed. Now that you’re organized, you will be more efficient and productive. You will have more free time and you will be saving money. These are just some of the benefits that you will reap after you get organized.
Re-evaluate your systems after 1-3 months. How are you functioning? What can you change to make the system work better for you? You’ll find that after working with the system for a few months there are some tweaks that need to be made. Make those changes. Don’t continue to work with a broken system. It’s going to be easy to tweak the system because items are categorized and have been simplified so it’s just a matter of shifting items around.
Maintenance is key to reaping the benefits of being organized. You don’t want to have to clear your desk once a month, wasting time and energy. Remember, if your systems are working well, maintenance is just a matter of taking something out and putting it back where it belongs.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 80 presentations throughout the state. Kristin has created a one-of-a-kind weekly planner. More info here.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.