10 Rules of Thumb to Get and Stay Organized
A guest post by Mohamed Tohami
“Electricity is really just organized lightning.” – George Carlin
Think about that quote for a second. Electrical power is the backbone of modern industrial society, and is expected to remain so forever.
Standup comedian George Carlin, describes electricity in a brilliant, funny and shockingly true way.
If you organized lightning you’ll have the same electric form that you get from the flow of electrical charges in an electrical wire.
This fact made me think of the true POWER OF ORGANIZING.
We all know that organizing our lives, spaces, work, etc is beneficial. But have you ever thought that through organizing you can acquire or create what is equivalent to electric power in your life?
The same way decluttering gives you a sense of relief and accomplishment, organizing shapes what matters most in a form that leads to increased productivity and easiness
Organizing your life leads to more FLOW!
When you organize your life, you’ll achieve more things faster and you’ll find it easier to navigate through and deal with all aspects of your life.
Organization is more productivity, more easiness and hence more flow.
Think of an organized wardrobe, for example. You’ll easily find your way to what you like and feel confident wearing. And you’ll do that faster than you used to. With a disorganized wardrobe, you will find difficulty to find your best matching items, you’ll feel frustrated every morning and you’ll forget about items you purchased and really look nice wearing.
Here are 10 rules of thumb to get and stay organized
1.Don’t allow things to pile up:
“If you really think about it, each task would only take you a minute or two to complete. However, if you let them all pile up for days or even weeks at a time, they become an overwhelming burden.” – Andrea Dekker of Simple Organized Living
Clutter or chaos is easy to deal with on the spot. But when it piles up, you will need more momentum to start an organizing task.
So, start now while it still takes only a minute or two.
“Clutter is postponed decisions” Barbara Hemphill
2. Avoid everything multiple:
Don’t do many things all at once. Start with a drawer, when you finish it go to the next item in your life. Avoid everything multiple.
It exhausts the mind and consumes time.
Divide the work into digestible tasks and deal with one task at a time. Otherwise, you will get exhausted easily and quickly, and the chaos will take over again.
For every new thing that comes into your life, throw out an older corresponding item immediately.
That works very well with new items of clothes. When you shop for new clothes, keep in mind that you are going to throw or donate older items.
That’s a good way to avoid feeling guilty after shopping.
Like organizing leads to flow, the secret to organizing is to keep an eye on the flow in your life. Chaos and disorganization happens when the inflow of material is at much higher rate than the outflow.
4. 75% full:
When a storage area is 75% full, think of decluttering and organizing immediately. Don’t allow the storage area to be full while you have something new that you don’t know where to keep or store.
“Take action when your storage system is 75% full.” – Werner Tiki Kustenmacher
You’ll most probably find a lot of outdated items that you can get rid of easily.
When you have more room in your storage area, you’ll make space for new objects to enter your life and that will bring you more enjoyment.
5. The one place:
Werner Kustenmacher in his book, How to Simplify Your Life, shared a golden principle of tidying up: “everything has its place – one place.”
Keep a specific place for each item that you use or deal with frequently.
How many times did you forget where you placed your keys?!
Got the point?
90% of all people regularly have to search for lost objects. (study conducted by the opinion research institute EMNID in Bielefeld Germany, on behalf of Simplify Your Life book)
If everything has its well known ONE place where you keep it, you’ll decrease the rate of your forgetfulness dramatically.
6. Keep an eye on your desk
The desk where you work is probably the most important place where you should start organizing immediately.
It’s been said that: “An orderly desk is an orderly mind.”
When you work in an organized environment, your mind will be clear, focused and able to do better work.
7. Give room for some disorder
Staying organized requires some work. Constant monitor for your environment might lead to tiredness. And this can lead to you giving up on organization completely, which is not good.
When you feel tired take a vacation. You need at a certain point to give up and accept some chaos and disorder in your life.
Find the ideal balance between organizing and disorder.
Chaos will occur at any chance. So, you’ll always have to pay attention. That’s why you need to give your attention some rest to keep going.
Any empty space attracts superfluous objects like magic.
8. Always ask the golden question
“If it were stolen, would I replace it?”
Ask yourself the question above to decide whether you need an item or not. I see it as a super brilliant and effective question to make up your mind and get rid of things that you no longer need, but think that you might get to it one day.
As a rule of thumb: you need only half as much as you own.
9. Start with the horizontal areas
When you organize start with what is clear to the eye. Start at the horizontal surfaces
Deal with anything that is not in use or should be stored somewhere accordingly.
When your eyes are at ease with your surrounding environment, you’ll be encouraged to dig into the hidden or covered areas.
10. Go for quality over quantity
Don’t organize or deal with anything that’s not top quality.
Get rid of anything that you’re not 100% satisfied or proud to own.
The poet Somerset Maugham once said: “It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it”
Don’t keep low quality items hoping that you might get down to it someday. That day probably will never come.
In his blog, Midway Simplicity, Mohamed Tohami shares simple living ideas that fall midway between extreme frugality & radical minimalism and the hoarder’s extreme fear of deprivation. If you’re looking for more mainstream simple living ideas that are not too harsh for your lifestyle, then give a visit to Tohami’s Midway Simplicity blog and start enjoying more with less.
Today’s Mini Mission
Saturday – Declutter unused sports gear. In my case the ski clothes we no longer use. It is a good time to put it all on eBay here in Australia as we are going into winter. We kept these in case we had the need for heavy coats but we haven’t done so in five years. If we do have a need in the future we will pick some up cheaply at the thrift store.