We turned 10 TODAY!!! It has been said to me often as a parent, don’t blink…it goes so fast. There is so much truth to that statement! Well the same goes to owning your own business or let’s be honest just life in general. Where does the time go? 10 years flew by in an instant and I am grateful for each moment! Grateful for my clients, my family, my team and all the lessons learned along the way.
As I reflect on the many drawers, closets, playrooms, offices and basements throughout the years my head is filled with the tips and tricks I have learned along the way. You can see a few I mentioned in a recent Cottages & Gardens article here but below is a longer list of my favorite 10 tips in honor of my 10 years in business. Have tips you would like to share? Comment below. I LOVE learning new tricks and especially how organizing helps others!
1.) Organize THEN buy.
Whether it is pre-grocery shopping, seasonal clothing switch-outs, a playroom overhaul, a file cabinet or a basement storage room it’s important to see what you have before you bring ANYTHING new in (including clothing, food, etc. or storage containers!). If you don’t know what your needs are, there is a very good chance you will be bringing in new items that you don’t actually need or that you already have and creating more work for yourself in the long run. Instead, take the necessary time to sort, purge and organize your belongings before buying new items and supplies. Doing this is a mindset game-changer. I promise.
2.) Designate a spot (or a bag or a box) for donation items in your home.
The best way I know to keep clutter at bay is to keep those items you don’t want or need moving out of your home on a regular basis. When your designated spot fills up, move it to your car with a clear vision of where you are going to donate it. Even if it drives around with you for a few days, it is more likely to get where it needs to go if it is in your front seat rather than at a bottom of a toy bin or at the back of a closet. Here’s our resource page on places to take your unwanted goods.
3.) Go through your mail daily and sort it over the recycle bin.
This eliminates most of the mail and leaves the remainder that can go straight to be filed as a reference or to a “follow up” or “bills to pay” location.
4.) Be intentional with what you bring into your home.
The more you own the more you need to care of. I would even go a step further for those really interested in being clutter free and think about how you will get rid of the item if you decide you want to. Will you be able to easily sell/donate/recycle this item later? Personally, if it is something that will only complicate my life later, I do my best to keep it out.
5.) Keep the dialogue open amongst family members.
When we share our spaces with others it is soooo important to talk about how and why we create our systems and how we can make them work for all those living under one roof. Once you share with your partner or kids about why we want our rooms tidy (to reduce stress, to feel good, to keep our spaces looking nice, for easy and quick access to our items, etc) ask them about their ideas on what is working and not working for them. Brainstorm and work together to organize your space and then the ownership is no longer on one person to maintain as everyone is a part of the process.
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but adding a label onto anything helps everyone maintain systems. The label can be with a label maker, a photo, or even blue painters tape and a sharpie. If things are labeled there is a much great chance of items being put away in the correct space.
7.) Use Evernote (or similar).
I love Evernote and use it almost daily as my digital file storage. I use it to have access to and capture information when I am on the go. My favorite part of using Evernote is that I am able to scan and capture information from loose pieces of paper that I can then recycle so I don’t have to physically keep and store the paper. I use it to scan recipes, notes for work, quotes I like, books I want to read, etc. The uses are endless as are the ability to organize within it. Once you find your stride with it, it is an invaluable tool.
8.) Create homes for every item in your home and organize for NOW.
If an item doesn’t have a home it will always be hanging around as clutter. Take the time to find a location that makes sense for how you use the item and how often you use it. The prime real estate in any given space should be reserved for what you regularly access.
9.) Organize all the time.
I am going to keep it real here. To truly “be organized” you are really organizing on a daily basis. Not in an overwhelming way, but in a thoughtful decisive way. You are taking the extra step daily to maintain the system you created. You are taking that outfit you decided you don’t enjoy anymore and adding it to your donation bag. You are dropping off Goodwill items on your way to soccer practice because your bag was full. You are taking the 2 minutes it takes to put away that outfit you decided not to where today. You are adding the event to the calendar NOW so it doesn’t hang over your head as a to do later. These are the things organized people do daily to combat clutter and overwhelm.
10.) Take notice.
Take notice at how your days flows. Where does it seem like there are just too many steps? How can it be improved? I noticed over the weekend that my morning routine had me stopping at 2 different spots in my room to get ready for the day (meanwhile I have lived in my home for 6 years and was just picking up on this!!) By moving a couple of items to my main dressing area, things just seemed more streamlined. Taking the time to notice these things and make small changes makes a noticeable impact on your day. These little wins open your eyes to the many other opportunities around you.
My business goal has always been to make a positive difference in my clients lives through organization. I am excited to continue with that goal as we head into the next 10 years.
*Photo credit Teresa Hnat Photography