Organizing Your Thoughts, Organizing Your Life

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I remember my sister once telling me that she met a guy who told her that being organized helped him “think straight”. He liked walking into a clean, organized apartment and felt that it helped him think clearly about other aspects of his life. As she told me about this conversation, I knew this dude was on to something.

I’m not unorganized but I definitely can be a paper scrap hoarder at times. My small piles consist of random coupons I will never use, magazine clippings with gift ideas and recipes or to do lists for the to do lists. My work is also based from home, which adds to the paper pile. I’ve noticed that I can’t think as clearly when my home is a mess or there are things to be done before I sit down to do the task at hand.

I’ve tried to cut down on the crap and here is what has worked for me:

Develop a System:

I keep an envelope near the door and now my random coupons get stored in there. Anything that I use often or that doesn’t expire (like bed bath and beyond coupons) will always be stored in the glove compartment of my car to have handy.

I consolidate to-do lists and also make use of the notes section on my phone. Saves paper and is always accessible even when I’m not home.

Donate Things:

There are so many organizations, people and pets who NEED things! If you have doubts about where to donate, just ask but please consider donating.   I tend to want to keep things in excess: “I remember wearing this for that event” or “this was a gift”…umm and unfortunately, “I will fit into that again”.   It’s so much easier to give things away when you know there is someone in need who can use it.

Make Your Bed:

Okay, this may not help you but it helps me.  Number one, I’ve realized that I love getting into a made bed. I have a difficult time falling asleep when I get into bed and the sheets are tangled.  Number two, the sheets are never cool when you get into an unmade bed.  A freshly made bed is always the right temp and having your bed made can make the house/apartment look somewhat in order when other things may not be.

Get Organizing What’s Left:

I’ve read a few books that have helped better identify that which I should keep and that which I should toss:

1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

This book focuses on what’s important and getting rid of the “stuff” that only adds to the clutter in your life and thoughts.  She has a great blog also.

2. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is an organizing Queen! She shows you how to fold clothing so that when you look at a drawer it isn’t as overwhelming and you can see everything at the same time. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “keep only those things that speak to your heart”. There are so many wonderful Youtube tutorials from her followers and she goes well beyond your closet and into places like your refrigerator and spice cabinets.

3. Getting Things Done by David Allen

Howard Stern was discussing this book awhile ago on his show and it helps with day to day organization of e-mail and to-dos and much more.  Great book for those who procrastinate.

I really think that it’s hard for me to focus on my job, my relationships or anything else when I’m unorganized.  Do you have any other tips or books that have helped you declutter and focus?

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