Believe it or not, the people you think are naturally good at organizing weren’t born that way. Their good organization skills were bred from learning habits. Habits that help them stay organized. If you think you’re bad at organizing, it’s not because you can’t “figure it out.” It’s because you have bad organizing habits.
And as any expert in the field of habit formation will tell you, good habits can be created just as bad habits can be broken. All it takes is patience, persistence, and discipline. Atomic Habits by James Clear is a wonderful example of this.
Today, we’re going over some common bad organizing habits. Many of these keep people from getting their life and home organized for good. Even better, we’re sharing ways you can overcome them and create better habits for the future.
I know you’ve heard the saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I’ve mentioned it a few times across this blog. It’s the backbone of the organizing industry and the thing we always teach clients from the start.
Not putting things away when you’re done with them is one of the easiest bad organizing habits to break. How so? Because all you need to start doing is putting things away.
It sounds easy but many people overlook its importance. Think about it.
What’s a kitchen appliance you don’t use that often? Let’s use an air fryer for this example. If you use your air fryer tonight but know you won’t use it for another few days, don’t let it take up valuable space on your kitchen counter. Put it away. Whether that’s a cabinet or shelf in your pantry.
This habit isn’t just for large items. Having a space for every little thing in your home can help you save precious time each day. If you know where your wallet, keys, and phone are all the time, you’re going to get ready quicker. And when you come home and you place them back in that spot, you’re maintaining a good organizing habit.
So before you start worrying about any other bad organizing habit, focus first on putting things away when you’re done with them.
In today’s world, we have so much at our disposal to help us remember things. Most smartphones come with a Reminders app that we can adapt to our individual schedules. Our digital calendars can remind us of certain events or tasks. And our physical calendars are full of important appointments.
Yet too many people still rely on their memory to remember things. Our brains are not equipped to hold a ton of short-term reminders. They’re better at storing memories and recalling facts or events.
If you rely on your memory to remember all the little tasks and to-dos you need to get done, you’ll never get organized. Why? Because your brain, while it will remember things, can’t prioritize them. That’s on you.
Say you have a big work presentation coming up and you know you need to draft a proposal. But instead you work on data entry that can be done any time of the week. Next thing you know, your deadline is tomorrow and you haven’t even started.
It may not seem like remembering important tasks is a bad organizing habit, but it is. If you want to get and stay organized, you need to start writing things down and prioritizing them. Stop relying on your memory and focus on writing down everything you need to do. Check out my blog post about brain clutter here after you finish this post for more tips.
Impulse buying is one of the toughest organizing habits to overcome. Why? Because when you’re out shopping and you see a clearance bin or signs with “BIG SALE!” you’re dopamine levels rise and you want in.
Retail therapy, while the process sounds good in theory, is not so good in practice. Because when you shop without a plan, you tend to bring items into your home that you don’t need or don’t have a home for.
Yes, even professional organizers are guilty of falling for clearance sales. But we’ve also learned to curb our impulse buying by creating a set of rules around it. Rules like one-in, one-out. For every new item you bring into your home, you need to let one thing go.
Another way to overcome this bad organizing habit is to start shopping with a list. Yes, even if you’re just going to Target. Ask yourself why are you going? What do you need? Is it something that will bring value to your home? Do you need to replace anything?
When you start asking yourself these questions you’ll stop being tricked into buying things that don’t matter. Will you be perfect every time you walk into a store? Absolutely not. But once you implement good shopping habits, your home will thank you for it.
This bad organizing habit branches off the previous one of impulse buying. It’s important to know what you’re going to do with new things you bring into your home. And I don’t just mean with items like clothing, decor, or appliances. I also mean food, technology, and anything else that takes up valuable space in your home.
Clutter builds up slowly over time. You may think you have a grasp on it. But before you know it, you have six vegetable peelers, fifteen pairs of black leggings, and a hundred pens.
If you don’t make a plan to deal with clutter as soon as you notice it, you’re going to find it impossible to get your home organized.
One way to overcome this bad organizing habit is to first take some time to declutter your current possessions. Don’t try and declutter your entire home in a day. That’s unrealistic. Instead, make a plan of tackling one room every weekend or one area a day.
Start small. Declutter that junk drawer. It’s called that for a reason. Chances are you can get rid of a lot that’s stuffed in there. Once you’ve reached a point where you’re comfortable with the stuff left, make a plan to deal with clutter going forward. And one way to do that is by creating systems, which brings us to our last bad organizing habit.
When you hear “organizing systems” you might feel a bit overwhelmed. The word systems itself can be triggering as it means taking a deep look at how you live your life. Good systems can keep your life and home organized whereas bad systems do the opposite.
And it may surprise you to learn that creating efficient systems isn’t that difficult. It’s all about creating a series of steps. Action steps you’ll take to deal with certain things like paper, cleaning, and more.
Mail comes into your home every day. If you have a system in place that helps you get it sorted and put away quickly, that’s a good system. But if you toss it on the kitchen counter and let it pile up for weeks before touching it, that’s a bad system.
If you want a longer look into how systems can help you, check out my blog post about it here. In the end, you need to create systems that work for you. You can get inspiration from others and test out their systems. But it’s important to keep only the steps that best work for you and your home.
The good news is you don’t have to live with bad organizing habits forever. If you’re persistent and work hard to overcome them, you’re going to be able to get your life and home in order. But you also don’t have to go at it alone.
Of all my available services, Reset & Transform may be just what you need to get those bad organizing habits under control. I’ll help you create systems that are tailored to you and your specific lifestyle. So don’t wait another minute. Let’s improve those organizing skills. Contact me today and let’s talk!
July 14, 2022