Personal organization systems are exactly that: personal. Certain systems won’t work for everyone. We’re as individual as snowflakes. That’s why it’s important to try out anything that sounds intriguing to you. And know that finding the perfect blend could take days, weeks, or even months.
People who have an organizing blueprint – or systems in place – have cleaner homes, increased productivity, and less stress. Even if you’re not a naturally organized person, chances are you like a certain system over another. You just don’t know how to implement it on a regular basis.
Before you begin trying different types of systems, you must first figure out what you like. You know how some people need music to focus and others need absolute silence? Choosing your organizational preferences is similar.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Do you need to see where things are at all times? Do you lose track of things easily? If so, you might prefer items to be visible, yet organized. An example of this is a desk organizer. All your desk essentials are there — pens, sticky notes, folders, stapler — but the organizer keeps them in order.
Preferring things to be visible but organized is a pretty normal trait. But beware because if you need every single thing visible, you can wind up with a ton of surface clutter. Try to keep only the essential things visible.
I’m sure you’ve seen the pretty pictures on Instagram and Pinterest of color-coded markers, crayons, and books. It’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to locate certain items like a red pen when you need it. You might also color-code your planner, to-do list, and notes.
People who use color-coding systems tend to use the same colors for specific things. For example, a green pen means something is work-related whereas an orange pen means doctor-related. Some think color-coding takes too long, but if it’s how your mind works, you don’t see it as wasting time.
This is another visual preference. Visual organizers like see-through bins because it gives them a glance at everything. A non-see-through bin labeled “Christmas Decoration” won’t suffice. How are they supposed to know what’s in there?
If you’re a see-through container type of organizer, make sure to swap out every bin and storage container. The last thing you’ll want is one or two solid bins to drive you crazy.
Do you find it easier to locate papers when they’re stacked on top of each other? Do you have a filing cabinet but hardly use it? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you should invest in some stackable file organizers. Some people can work fine with a pile of unrelatable papers beside them. Others would get frustrated having to search the whole stack for that one thing.
If you’re a stacker rather than a filer, it’s still important to have some type of system in place. That’s why horizontal organizers are perfect for you. Even if you keep unrelated papers together, at least they’ll have a home to go to each day.
The opposite of the visual organizer is the one who knows where everything is and prefers to keep things hidden. But don’t think their drawers are unorganized. The stored out of sight person has a unique system for each drawer. You’ll find drawer organizers inside and a home for every item.
If you fall into the stored out of sight group, you’ll definitely want to invest in solid drawer organizers. If you can’t remember what’s in each drawer, label them and hide the label inside. If you remember where everything is, kudos to you.
There are a few items we use every day. This varies from person to person, but the common things we use every day are toothbrushes, hairbrushes, makeup, coffeemaker, etc. Most will have these “action” items accessible. When it comes to your workspace, you can do the same.
Use a desk organizer and keep all the items you use every single day stored there. This way they’re always in reach. Other “action” items can include TV remotes, cell phone chargers, and notebooks. Make a list of the items you use on a daily basis and see if there’s a way you can make those items easily accessible.
Want to learn your exact organizing personality? Head on over to Clutterbug at the end of this post and take her quiz. She’ll let you know which one of four organizational personalities you are and the best systems to try.
Personal organization systems involve more than knowing the type of organizer you are. You need a starting off point. Some ideas to get you moving forward. Even if you don’t know your organizing preferences, here are some systems you can take for a trial run.
This is your one-stop spot for things you need to remember, deal with, or buy. You can keep a family calendar here, have a slot for bills that need to be paid, and pin recent artwork your kids made. Keep a running grocery list up there or list the meals you plan to make that week. People have sworn by command centers. You might too.
Create a system of how you’re going to deal with paper. If you’re not careful, paper can quickly become a cluttered mess. And too much paper can be a hassle to sort through. Try this: create three folders and label them “Needs Attention,” “Pending,” and “To File or Recycle.” Separate all the papers into those three categories and schedule an hour or two to deal with them one day a week.
It’s scientifically proven that writing things down makes us remember more. That’s why time management specialists encourage clients to write a daily to-do list. If you don’t want a daily to-do list, try a weekly one. However you choose to keep it, start writing down all the tasks, chores, and projects you have in mind. By seeing them written down you’re more likely to work on them.
This is another time management tip. If you have trouble focusing, try the Pomodoro Technique. Work on a single task for 25 minutes. Silence your phone. Tell people not to bother you. Whatever you do, work for 25 minutes straight. Then take a 5-minute break. Continue on that task or start another one and do another 25 minutes of focused work. After doing four 25-minute sessions, take a longer break.
It might seem silly, but constantly checking/answering emails is a major time suck. To be at the beck and call of every email you get is no way to focus. Schedule time to check email. No more than 3-4 times a day. Answer all emails at that time and don’t do it again until your next scheduled time. Stick to the schedule you created and you’ll find yourself getting more done without needing to stop and check email 20 times a day.
When it comes to creating personal organization systems, it’s trial and error. Not everything will work for you and that’s fine. Don’t force yourself to do something that doesn’t work. Move on to the next idea.
As I mentioned in the beginning, personal organization systems are personal. Keep trying new systems until you discover the right ones for you and your lifestyle. Don’t get frustrated if it takes some time. Because when the time comes that you do nail down that perfect blueprint, you’re going to feel amazing and get so much done.
The good news is you don’t have to go at this alone. I offer a ton of services ranging from home organizing to paper management. Let me help you figure out your personal organization systems. Contact me today and let’s chat. And don’t forget to take Clutterbug’s organizing personality quiz. Let me know which one you are!
July 3, 2021