Organization Tips for the Unorganized

disorganized deskGetting and staying organized comes naturally to some people, while others struggle to keep clutter at bay. While it may seem that living in a world of clutter is inevitable if organization is not second nature to you, controlling clutter is actually a learned skill that you can master.

One of the biggest challenges about becoming organized is ensuring that everything has a place, and returns to its place after being used. These five tips will help you get your home organized, and form the habit of keeping it that way:

1. Identify problem areas. Clutter tends to collect when you don’t have designated areas for everything. Make a list of the main areas that seem to accumulate clutter around your home, and make note of the type of clutter that collects there. Is it mail on the kitchen counter? Magazines in the living room? Even food in the refrigerator that is past its prime counts as clutter.

2. Define actionable solutions. Next to each line item, write down at least one possible solution for each type of clutter. Perhaps you can hang a tray by the front door or in the office for yet to be sorted mail. A stylish magazine rack in the living room will keep the influx of magazines neatly out of sight, and when it gets too full you can recycle outdated editions. Clearing the refrigerator of any food that you wouldn’t eat today before you grocery shop is a great way to avoid finding months expired yogurt lurking in the back next week.

3. Follow through. Once you determine the best solution for each of your major problem areas, follow through with implementing each. If you can’t afford all of the organizers or whatever you need right away, tackle the problems in stages and make a plan for when you can complete your goals.

4. Forge new habits. It takes about two to three weeks to form a habit, depending on who you ask. Either way, installing a mail rack will not do any good unless you form the habit of putting mail there, and sorting it in a timely manner. Force yourself to abandon your old habits, such as tossing magazines on the coffee table and mail on the counter. When you do fall into your old ways, make a point to take the time to correct yourself. Before you know it, you will be alleviating clutter without even thinking about it.

5. Make a schedule. For everyday cleaning tasks, seeing your entire cluttered home before you may seem daunting. By breaking your housework into manageable milestones, you alleviate that overwhelming feeling and get more done in seemingly less time. Start by making a list of things that must be done every day, every week, biweekly and monthly, and create a schedule for when housework should be done. Keep in mind your own work and life schedule when doing this; if you are only off work on the weekends, you may need to allot the more time consuming duties for then.

The beauty of finding a permanent place for everything is that it is a long term solution. By forming the habit of putting things away immediately, you enjoy a cleaner home every day and save yourself time in the long run.

About the Author: Charlie Hafter is on the staff of Closet Hanger Factory, a leading online resource for clothes hangers, pants hangers, decorative childrens hangers and more. Get all of the closet and clothes hanger accessories you could need at, recognized worldwide for their excellent quality hangers.