When I was younger, I was the least organized person of all time. I liked the idea of being organized (in the way that I would be pumped about going to Staples every August to get new school supplies – a binder and folder for every class, DUH), but I would never stay that way for long. Pretty soon after the school year started, I’d be shoving everything into one folder, my homework (if I even did it) would be crumpled up at the bottom of my backpack, and my once meticulously detailed planner would have weeks on end of no entries. It wasn’t just school – my home life was just as bad. My mom can attest to the fact that my room was a DISASTER area. It would get so bad that she’d give me one last warning of, “you better clean your room or I’m going through it with a garbage bag and whatever’s left on the floor is getting thrown out.” AND SHE ACTUALLY DID IT. TWICE. That woman was not playing games. Which is why I’m still bitter that my brothers are SLOBS and have zero repercussions. UGH.
Somewhere between high school and post-grad life, I became mildly obsessed with organizing. I love living by myself, because it means that I’m in total control of what my apartment looks like. And I LOVE a good list – bonus points if it’s color coded. That said, there are some really helpful tips I’ve come across that I wanted to share with you guys. I hope they help!
Tips for Staying Organized
Color coding your calendar and actual using it is GOLD, my friends. I recently started a new job, and I took about two hours to focus on my Google Calendar and create a bunch of mini calendars within it to organize my life. I have one for work-related things, one for blogging, one for working out, one for appointments, one for plans with my friends… the list goes on on and on. They’re all color coded, and all in once place. The reason I use my work account is because it’s always up on my desktop, so I can see everything I have planned out at a glance. No switching back and forth between several accounts – it’s all in a single location. SO easy!
Ok this seems really obvious, but I was recently floored to find out how many of my friends don’t actually make to-do lists. I live and die by mine! I actually get legit happy when I can cross something off that list. I feel so good about myself. Instead of writing it down on paper (which is what I used to do), I started using the Notes feature on my Mac. I can easily create new lists for different things such as ingredients I need to pick up from the Grocery store, reports I need to put together for clients, blog posts that I want to write out for the next month…. the limit does not exist! Don’t try to rely on your memory for the things you want to get done. If you’re anything like me, you’ll forget in 5 minutes and then spend the next 2 days trying to remember wtf you were so amped to get done in the first place.
De-clutter Your Work Space
You know what’s really unnecessary? Having 15 photos of you and your friends and/or family on your desk at work, especially when you share that desk with someone else. It’s also necessary to have a ton of knickknacks in your work area. Why? Because it’s distracting and looks messy. At my old job, I was 100% guilty of this. I had photos taped to my monitors, post it notes hanging off of them, an entire jar of pens (even though I only used 1), a candy jar, and a plant all hanging out with me. Even though I had a person on either side of me sharing the desk space. WHAT. EVEN. I also had a large + spacious 3 drawer filing cabinet that was filled with everything but files. The top drawer was packed with random crap like lotion, chotchkis, cards, flash cards that I never used ONCE. The second drawer was filled with snack (ok, this is important). The last drawer was filled with all the “in case of emergency” stuff. To be fair, this was somewhat practical when working with all girls, because someone always needed something. But at one point, I had 4 cans of dry shampoo, a full makeup kit, brushes, hair spray, lotion, self tanner, mints, floss, tissues… it was ridiculous.
At my new job, I have a far less cluttered space. I have a single larger monitor + laptop, a small (fake) succulent from TjMaxx, my water bottle and my phone on my desk. In my filing cabinet, I have snacks in the first drawer, a few beauty necessities in the second drawer, and a completely bare third drawer. Seriously, it’s empty. And I feel lighter.
Consistently Clean Out Your Closets and Cabinets
I’m 100% not exaggerating when I say that I clean out my closets at least twice a month… sometimes even once a week. I feel SO accomplished whenever I do it, and I always get rid of a pile of useless things that for some reason, I thought I should hold on to the last 10 times I cleaned it out. There’s nothing worse than trying to find something and not being able to because it’s buried in a pile of your unorganized crap. Using bins to store things by category will keep your closets need + tidy, and even create additional space for you to store the rest of the stuff you don’t need in it. Hoarding… we all do it.
Don’t Go to Bed With a Messy Apartment
The easiest way to for messes to accumulate is to not take care of them in a timely manner. We’ve all been there – you just can’t figure out what to wear to work, so you try on 8 different outfit combos and then run out of time to put it away before you have to run to the subway. Then by the time you get home, you’re exhausted from work/going out to happy hour/getting in a sweat session at the gym, so you peel off your clothes, toss your shoes and bag to the side, hop in the shower and or/make yourself some food. It’s so easy to just leave the mess that’s accumulated during the day and say you’ll get to it tomorrow. THAT IS A TRAP. Because tomorrow, the cycle will repeat. And the mess will grow. And you will hate yourself for it. Personally, I have anxiety thinking about going to bed with my room a mess. I just can’t do it. I’ll drag myself out of bed if I know the dirty dishes are sitting in the sink, or that I have a pile of clothes on my couch and floor that I could put away. Just do your future self a favor and spend the 10 minutes (max) it will take to clean up. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll wake up to a clean, refreshing space.
*PRO TIP: Make your bed. EVERY morning. Just do it.
What are some of your best tips for staying organized? Comment below or send me a DM! xo, AJ