Organized Living: Clear Your Space and Clear Your Mind

organized livingWho doesn’t want or need more organization in their life? Today’s technology fueled, fast-paced world keeps everyone moving at such a lively pace, there’s little downtime to even ponder ways to bring more organization home. Often it’s the small things that create the most havoc and throw off our balance. Those small things start to add up and pretty soon it’s as if everything feels out of control. Staying organized isn’t just about the space around us, it’s also about time management — those annoyances many can’t say “no” to that take up extra space in our lives. It’s only by addressing physical space and emotional space that true organization can begin to break through, making everything in life easier.

Physical Space

Too often things just find their way into closets, in washrooms and on top of counter space. After awhile, rooms start to look cluttered and that’s the opposite of organized living. There are a few simple things anyone can do right now, to de-clutter these spaces at home. Hair sprays, lotions and makeup are common culprits in a bathroom setting. Try placing these items in a plastic tub and placing them under the counter, taking them out when needed, and putting them back when done. Water spots make your shower look dirty, even when it’s not. Keep a squeegee somewhere handy and after every shower, wipe down the glass and sponge off any excess water. Your shower will sparkle in between cleanings.

Closets are another area where unwanted stuff just seems to pile up and gather dust. Those sweaters from high school are never coming back in style, nor are those acid washed jeans (at least they should be banned anyway). A good rule of thumb is, anything that hasn’t been worn in the last two years should be tossed or given to a charity. This goes double for shoes. If they are worn our or uncomfortable it’s time to bid them a fond farewell. Hang scarves on a rack and belts on hangers or racks, and recycle old shoeboxes rather than stack them up. Consider moving last season’s clothes completely out of your closet and into a storage room, if you have one. That way it will free up some space and provide access to only the clothes that are in season, making it easier to find that go-to outfit quickly.

A pantry is one of the worst culprits of all when it comes to a threat to organized living. Many companies make products that will help clear space, and actually help people see what they’re working with inside a pantry. Plastic modular stacking containers make storage a breeze. Use them to store pasta, nuts, sugar, flour, rice, crackers and more. Anyone will be able to see what they have at a glance, and it keeps perishables extra fresh, while helping them maintain a longer life. Spice racks or tiered spice ledges help minimize the space these little kitchen helpers take up inside a pantry, and they also help culinary hopefuls actually read their labels, rather than guessing in the dark for what is needed. Sliding storage shelves are another great helper and they slide out from cabinets to make it easy to grab this or that for fast meal preparation. Install them near a stove for quick and easy access. More sophisticated multi-level storage units are also a dream come true. Find these at many home stores — they are life changing.

Garages are great places to store things like lawn mowers, garden supplies and cars, but they can also turn into a graveyard for unwanted items people have no idea where else to store them. First things first, carve out some substantial time to go through all of the things in a garage. A day, a weekend — the more time a person  can commit, the better success the garage-cleaning project will be. Invite a friend or two over and make it a party. The whole thing will go faster with more hands to help. Go through everything in the garage and decide what is absolutely needed, and what won’t be devastating to live without. Sort them into piles of donate, sell, toss or keep. The toss category should contain broken items, expired household goods, and anything that hasn’t been touched or used in the last two years. Be careful not to store paint in a garage because extreme temperatures can ruin it. Now that at least a third of what was taking up space in the garage has been cleared out, it’s time to incorporate some space-saving tools such as racks and shelving to put everything left in its proper place.

Mental Space

Organized living for the mind is as important as clearing out things in a physical space. Often it’s those nagging little to-dos in the back of the mind that keep us distracted and unable to master time. Meditation is an excellent tactic to clear the mind of clutter and improve that feeling of staying grounded. Take five or ten minutes, get in a comfortable seated position, and think only of the sound of the breath. When other images start to break through, simply refocus back on the breathing. Keeping a journal is another way to get those distracting thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper where they belong. Many believe in stream-of-consciousness journaling, which is taking a blank sheet of paper and just writing down whatever comes to the mind. It’s surprising the things that will come out. Getting out of your environment is another way to restart and reboot.

Make a Calendar

The things we try and keep in our heads are sometimes better dealt with out in the open. Put a calendar somewhere where everyone in the family can get to it. Everyone writes down their obligations and schedule and makes sure to include things like doctor’s appointments and social events.

Organized living takes passion, persistence and a commitment towards less stress and more happiness. By following a few of these tips, anyone can live a more organized and less stressful life.