Tag Archives: maintain order

Staying Organized: The Power of Putting Things Away

“I’m too tired.” That was the response of a speech attendee when I asked what kept people from putting things away on a regular basis. 

For years I’ve navigated through spaces littered with clothing, papers, and objects that had not been put away. I was curious about how that happened because not putting things away would be difficult for me. My mother taught me the importance of keeping my room neat and our house neat. It was no big deal for me because I did it every day and there was never any big mess to deal with.

Dropped items are the bud of a clutter nightmare.

Dropped items are the bud of a clutter nightmare.

I’ve heard the “I’m too tired” response over and over again from clients. This time instead of being understanding and sympathetic I asked the class to look at the reality of the energy that would be expended by hanging up their clothes every night. “It takes seconds to hang up or fold clothes and put them in a drawer,” I said. Seconds that could prevent a clutter nightmare from forming or from getting any bigger.

I guess the real questions are, “What do you want?” and “What are you creating?” Going for the immediate gratification of dropping things where they land instead of putting them away gives you a short term reward while creating a long-term problem. If you want your space and your life to be more peaceful, your space must feel peaceful. A space with the litter of life shouting from all corners screams of negative energy and creates feelings of overwhelm and self-contempt.

If you have difficulty making yourself put things away and maintain order, clearly your tired self is winning over the self who wants a peaceful, comfortable space. What if you felt tired and put things away anyway? How would that change the feeling in your space? What would your efforts do for you? How would your energy be affected?

Making yourself invest a few minutes a day to maintain order can be a tangible way to take care of yourself, ground yourself, and help you connect with your personal power. It’s a way to communicate to yourself that you matter. 

You are not separate from the space you live in. If it’s a mess, so are you. If it’s well maintained, you’ll have more access to your own wisdom, energy and feelings of well-being. Those are pretty good results for investing a few minutes per day to put things away!

Staying Organized: A Mother’s Legacy

It has been a quiet week here in Kilmarnock, Virginia, in the aftermath of my step-father’s death. I’ve been here to make funeral arrangements and support my mother as she comes to grips with the biggest loss of her life.

As is my habit, I’ve watched my mother move through her days both with curiosity and concern. Mom is not only grieving the loss of the love of her life, she is showing signs of dementia. The most obvious sign is poor short-term memory. I’ve been preparing myself for further decline by reading The 36 Hour Day by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, a book about dealing with dementia. I know it’s possible that over time she will eventually forget how to do even the simplest of tasks. I dread that time.

My mom has always been very organized. At the moment, for the most part, she still is. It has been comforting to watch her move through her days maintaining order in her lovely home. When she opens mail, she routinely throws away the opened envelopes and junk mail. As she moves from the den to the kitchen, she picks up used glasses and plates to put in the dishwasher. She regularly clears cluttered surfaces, stating that she just doesn’t like to have too much stuff around. Maintaining order is a way of life for her. I am so grateful to have learned the lessons of how to get and stay organized from her. I feel sad when I think about the possibility of her losing that ability to the ravages of dementia.

For now, I take comfort in Mom’s commitment to maintaining order and her ability to tend to her space. What a blessing it is to be her daughter!

Putting Things Away: The Aspirin of Staying Organized

What can happen when you don't put things away!

Are you a person who routinely puts things away when you’ve finished using them? Or, are you a person that uses something and leaves it where it landed when you were finished using it? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess which person would be most challenged with staying organized. Regularly putting things away as you move through your day is one of the most important behaviors necessary for staying organized.

 What is the benefit of putting things away?

  • You restore visual order. An orderly space is peaceful and feels good. It has positive energy.
  • You snuff out a bud of clutter. Anything left out of place immediately creates a negative energy that will attract more of the same. Once one thing is left out, it’s much easier to leave other things out.
  • You’ll be able to find the item when you need it.
  • You maintain order in your space and a sense of control in your life.

Why doesn’t a person put things away?

  • You were never taught the habit of routinely putting things away. It is a habit to use something and leave it where you last used it. It is also a habit to use something and put it away!
  • You have attentional issues that keep you bouncing from one task to another, leaving object litter in your wake.
  • You haven’t created a home for the item. There is no place to put it away.
  • The home you created is not convenient enough given how often you use the object.
  • The home you created has become so cluttered that putting it away is a hassle.
  • Putting things away seems boring to you.
  • You are rushing and putting an item away will take time you don’t think you have.

I could go on and on with reasons why people don’t put things away. Whatever the reason, you pay a heavy price when you neglect to regularly put things away. Over time you create your own nightmare of clutter and chaos in your space.

Putting things away is a behavior over which you have complete control. It can take only seconds to do if you’ve created convenient homes for everything. Being faithful to the behavior requires self-discipline, but it is one of the best ways to stay organized and directly correlates with feeling in control in your life.

Watch yourself today. Are you taking those extra few seconds (yes, seconds, not minutes) to put things away when you are finished using them? Remember, your peace of mind, stress level, productivity and success are affected by what you choose to do. Make putting things away a priority every day! If regularly putting things away isn’t a habit, make it the next habit you acquire in your effort to stay organized, manage stress, and have the life you really want.

Stay Organized Even When Hit By a Hurricane!

There is still much external chaos here in Richmond, VA, the remnants of Hurricane Irene’s wrath. The damage done by high winds and fallen trees is visible everywhere. Some people still have no power, phone or cable service.

It is impossible not to be affected by that chaos, those disruptions to day to day functioning. The energy of brokenness abounds. Most of us are unconscious of the effect of that negative energy. We are too busy trying to get back to normal in our homes, with our work, with public schools opening soon. There is also the uncertainty of when services will be restored, when school will start given the delays caused by the storm.

When things feel so out of sync, when the negative energy of brokenness is everywhere, it’s very easy to let your day to day maintenance activities slide. After all, you have no hot water, why bother washing dishes. Those dominant negative and unsettled energies attract more of the same. They stress us and make us less likely to attend to cleaning up, putting things away, maintaining order. It takes extra energy to make yourself do the things that you would normally do to maintain order in your home.

If you follow the lead of those negative, chaotic energies, you’ll find yourself inclined to ignore tasks you know you should do. Do them anyway. Consider them an investment in restoring order. So, you can’t make the power come back on any sooner. You can’t get cable up and running. You can’t get the tree branches hauled away soon enough. You can maintain order inside your home. You can process your mail. You can hang up your clothes even if you can’t do a load of laundry. Resist the urge to stop because the power is out or your yard is torn up by a fallen tree. You’ll be glad you did when you are enjoying a calm order in your home environment instead of a nightmare of your own making!