Tag Archives: stay organized

Are You Putting Things Away to Stay Organized?

One of the single most important habits that will help you stay organized is to put things away

This is what can happen when things aren’t put away. You lose the use of your kitchen table.

all the time. Putting things away after use is insurance that you will be able to find those things again when you need them. It also keeps your home feeling good, clear of the clutter of things left out in the open.

Everything is alive with energy, positive or negative. A jacket might have positive energy because you love the color, fit and style. However, the energy of that jacket changes when it’s thrown over a chair instead of put away in a closet. It takes on negative energy because it has landed where it is not supposed to be because it’s irritating to see it out of place. It’s energy is similar to that of litter — irritating and therefore negative.

This is what is available if you take the time to regularly put things away. Which space would you choose?

You may know it’s better to put things away, but you keep leaving things out. What are the reasons that you do that? Following are some common reasons that things don’t get put away.

  • It’s easier to leave things out and/or not put them away.
  • You tell yourself you will do it later. But, do you?
  • You think it will take a lot of time to put away.
  • You tell yourself that there are other more pressing things that need to be done.
  • You think putting things away is tedious and boring.
  • You are unaware that you’ve left things out because your attention has shifted to something else.
  • It’s a habit to drop things without thought.
  • It’s a habit to leave things out.
  • It’s not easy to put things away because where they belong is too full of other things.
  • The item doesn’t have a home, a place where it can be stored.

What does it cost you to not put things away regularly?

  • You can’t find things when you need them.
  • You create a space that over time feels chaotic and uncomfortable.
  • You attract criticism from others.
  • The negative energy of the space causes increased irritability between family members.
  • You waste money because you buy things you already own but can’t find.
  • You are less productive because you can’t think clearly in a messy space.
  • As your space becomes more cluttered, negative energy increases and your self-esteem dips. You feel bad about yourself and your space.
  • You create negative energy blocks that distract you from what it most important.
  • You create negative energy that blocks good things from coming to you.

Can you really afford to wait until “later” to put things away? The longer you wait to put something away, the harder it will be to make yourself do it. Make putting things away after use your “must do” habit to keep your life more peaceful and productive.

If despite your best efforts you cannot seem to develop the habit of regularly putting things away, it’s time to seek support to change your behavior. A coach can help you tease out what is preventing you from making the change you want, and can provide support and accountability as you try on new behaviors. Schedule a free 30-60 minute Back on Track phone coaching session to explore how you can develop new habits to keep you organized and on track with your goals.

Stay Organized to Reduce Christmas Stress

It’s holiday crunch time! The final push to get everything done by December

Don't let holiday stress prevent you from staying organized!

Don’t let holiday stress prevent you from staying organized!

25. It’s quite common to focus on finishing shopping and Christmas cards, wrapping presents, and baking at the expense of maintaining order in your home. You may think the mail can wait, cleaning up after wrapping presents can be done after the holiday, and putting clothes away is definitely NOT a priority.

You just have to be ready for Christmas. At what cost?

Regular maintenance tasks like cleaning up, putting clothes away, and processing mail are activities that will ground you, help you feel in control at a time when many things can feel out of control. You don’t know how people will get along during your holiday social events. You don’t know if people will be happy and appreciative of the gifts you worked hard to find and wrap. You don’t know if dishes you make for your family will turn out or be liked. You don’t know if someone will drink too much and pick a fight.

Christmas is a time of heightened emotions and high expectations. It can be very stressful. The best thing you can do when facing unpredictable, stressful situations is to ground yourself by keeping up with tasks that help you stay organized and feeling in control.

Even if your bills are not in your awareness as you plough through your “to do” list, the fact that you don’t know where they are or how much you have spent can stress you on an unconscious level. Clothes chaos in your bedroom affects the quality of your sleep and starts you off on the wrong foot in the morning. A messy kitchen or gift wrapping area holds negative energies that are irritating and sap your energy.

Besides, do you really want to wake up December 26 to a nightmare you created by choosing not to make time to keep up with essential maintenance tasks?

Essential Maintenance Tasks to Lay the Groundwork for a Great Holiday

  1. Process mail daily — recycle junk mail and move important papers to an area to be further dealt with after Christmas.
  2. Clean up every day — wash dishes, unpack shopping and work bags, restore order when finished with projects and/or wrapping gifts.
  3. Put coats and clothes away every day.
  4. Take out trash and recycling often.

Stay Organized to Effectively Navigate Crises

When tough times hit it’s very tempting to stop doing all the maintenance

Stay organized to stay afloat when you hit rough waters in life.

Stay organized to stay afloat when you hit rough waters in life.

behaviors that keep you organized and relatively clutter-free. The emotions that come up during an extended illness, the decline or loss of a special person or pet in your life, a divorce or period of financial challenge can derail motivation to do those boring tasks that keep you organized and moving. 

What happens when you stop doing those important maintenance behaviors (putting things away, hanging up your clothes, doing laundry, processing mail, paying bills, filing, daily cleaning up, deleting junk emails) is that you create pockets of negative energy in your space and on your computer.  Those energies produce stress that will keep you feeling bad and stressed and prevent clear thinking. Plus the chaos you create by not staying organized makes it very hard to get back on track once you move through the difficult period.

The truth is that if done regularly those maintenance tasks don’t take a lot of time. Plus, if you can make yourself do tasks that don’t seem very important during periods of crisis, you will keep yourself grounded so you can think clearly and make good decisions. 

Doing maintenance tasks in a time of crisis is not optional. It’s an important investment of time to assure that you can effectively navigate rough waters. Make doing it a priority during tough times. 

Dogs and Your Ability to Get Organized

I LOVE DOGS. And, I look for any excuse to talk or write about them. To that end I found myself wondering whether there was anything that dogs could teach us about getting and staying organized. This is what I came up with.

  1. Self-discipline is necessary in order to take action to get and stay organized. Dog breeds have different levels of ability to be obedient (self-disciplined). So do people.
    • beagle-166873_640Huskies and Beagles are difficult to train and not very obedient. Poodles and Shetland Sheep Dogs, however, are much easier to train.
    • Brain wiring and personality result in some people being driven, Type A achievers who get things done, and some people being couch potatoes who procrastinate and have difficulty completing tasks.

2.  Focus is required to be able to sustain attention and effort to clear clutter, get organized, and stay organized. Dog breeds differ in their ability to focus. So do people.

The Border Collie stare.

The Border Collie stare.

    • The Border Collie is an intense, highly driven breed with a superb ability to focus on his owner. The Border Collie stare is visual evidence of that. It is far more difficult to get the attention of more relaxed, less driven breeds like Shih Tzus and Golden Retrievers.
    • Some people can sustain focus easily. People with ADHD and other brain-based disorders like anxiety and depression, however, can have great difficulty sustaining focus.

3.  Not all dogs are motivated by the same thing. Not all people are motivated by        the same thing.

    • labrador-1114810_640Some dogs are motivated by food (e.g. Beagles). Others by attention. Some by toys, balls, and play (e. g. Terriers, Labrador Retrievers).
    • Some people are motivated to get and stay organized because they have a high need for order. Others need to look good to outsiders. Still others are motivated because being organized makes life easier.

4.  Dogs have differing levels of energy. People also have differing energy levels.

    • dog-719630_640Terriers are high energy dogs, whereas Mastiffs and Greyhounds are not.
    • Some people are always moving, enjoy being productive, and can keep going for long periods of time. Others are more laid back, slow to get into action, move at a slower pace, and exhaust their energy more quickly.

Why compare dog behavior to people? It’s a fun way to make the point that in terms of our abilities to be self-disciplined, focused, motivated and have energy available to get and stay organized, we are all different.

Differences are normal, not something to hide or feel bad about. Once you identify your “normal” in terms of self-discipline, focus, motivation and energy level, you can better understand any challenges you have with getting and staying organized. And, you can better justify getting help to handle your organizing challenges with less guilt.

Just as dog breeds are different, so too are people. Accept who you are and your abilities, and make getting and staying organized happen!

Disrupting Events Make It Difficult to Stay Organized

When I walk into a chaotic environment I listen for clues from my client about what may have

Disruptive events can lead to clutter overwhelm once the challenge has passed.

Disruptive events can lead to clutter overwhelm once the challenge has passed.

caused the chaos. Some people have always struggled to get and stay organized. They are affectionately referred to as “chronically disorganized” by professional organizers nationwide. Despite all their efforts they cannot stay organized. Those clients usually tell me that they have struggled with disorganization for as long as they can remember.

There are some people, however, who at one time in their lives were organized and able to maintain organized spaces at home and at work. When I learn that a client was once organized and has since gone downhill, I seek to identify what threw him or her off course. Following is a list of the disrupting events that can turn a person’s life upside down, making it very hard to maintain order in their lives:

  • physical illness
  • mental illness–particularly depression
  • illness in a family member
  • surgery
  • death of a loved one
  • caregiving for an ailing parent
  • divorce
  • home renovation
  • frequent travel
  • Christmas
  • getting married
  • birth of a child
  • changing jobs
  • losing a job

Any of the above events or issues takes either an emotional or physical toll or both that is above and beyond what is experienced in normal every day life. Since you have energy limits, any one of those disrupting events can eat energy that would ordinarily have been allocated to tending to your home, your papers, your things, and the variety of chores that you do to stay organized.

It’s normal for people to do what is easiest in times of high stress just to survive. Paper and disorder can back up at those times because tending to them doesn’t seem as important as surviving the difficult time. But, you may want to remember that your space also affects your energy. Disorganized, chaotic spaces are loaded with negative energy. Exposing yourself to that energy will only deplete your energy all the more making it much harder to muster the energy and motivation to dig out once the current storm has passed.

Once you are on the other side of a difficult time, you may find you have a nightmare on your hands — clutter and chaos that are overwhelming and not easily addressed because of the size of the challenge. You’ll be depleted from your ordeal and further depleted by the negative energy in your space.

If you find yourself experiencing any of the disruption I’ve described above, it is important to remain conscious of your space even if you don’t have time to keep up as you normally would. Avoid the inclination to just let go and let chaos reign. Make yourself take as little as 5 minutes a day to clear clutter and maintain order. Doing a little clearing and organizing on a regular basis could save you from a nightmare of your own creation. If despite your best intentions you are unable to maintain a basic order, ask for help from family and friends, people who likely want to help you through a difficult time.

Ask for help and save yourself!