They say the best way to lose a bad habit is to replace it with a new one. Here are six sure-fire ways to turn bad organizing habits into good.
Old Habit No. 1: Dumping
When you come into the house you tend to dump everything wherever you land: shoes, coat, hat, bags, etc.
Replace with: Locker-style Storage
Create a unique locker-style area where you can store purse, hat, gloves and shoes. Hang coats in a designated spot. Do the same for other members of the family.
Old Habit No. 2: Procrastination
You leave too many small tasks to do later and end up with an overwhelming list. You may even forget what you need to do.
Replace with: Do it Now Attitude
For those little things that take only a minute or two (such as putting away your dishes or signing a form), sometimes it’s best to just do them right away. Schedule tasks that will take more than just a few minutes.
Old Habit No. 3: I’ll Fix it Some Day
Your basement is full of items that are obviously broken or in need of major repair. You plan to get to it “some day.”
Replace with: Pitch It Now
Realize that if in the past five years you haven’t gotten around to fixing it, you probably won’t. The item is just taking up space. Toss it or find somewhere to recycle it. Decide on a reasonable time-frame for repairing broken items and stick to it.
Old Habit No. 4: Do it Yourself
When it comes to removing everyday clutter, you’re the only one doing it, and you can’t keep up.
Replace with: Everyone Helps
Get all family members involved in removing clutter. Assign a place for them to keep their stuff. Establish the “ten-minute pick-up.” Every evening set your timer for ten minutes. Then have everyone cleans up as fast as they can.
Old Habit No. 5: You Want It, You Buy It
Clutter will continue to accumulate if you continue adding to your collection of stuff. It’s important to recognize that for some people shopping can become an addiction, fulfilling an emotional need. Our culture encourages abundance and promotes the idea that more stuff will make us happy. It won’t.
Replace with: Ask Before You Buy
Ask yourself these key questions before you buy: Do you really need the item? Can you afford it? Do you have space to store it and time to maintain it? Do you already own something similar? Consider putting the desired item on a list and check in with yourself after a time to see if you still want to make the purchase.
Old Habit No. 6: Over Scheduled and Overworked
You’re a doer, but you can’t seem to find any time to relax, spend time with family or to explore a hobby.
Replace with: Scheduled Free Time
Those who experience chronic stress are more susceptible to conditions ranging from more frequent headaches and gastrointestinal issues to more serious conditions like high blood pressure, which brings an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. While it is important to schedule time to get things done, it is equally important to take time to relax. Go on a vacation. Take a walk. Spend time talking (and really listening) to family and friends. Enjoy your garden. Relaxation breaks and vacations interrupt the cycle of stress that can overwhelm us, creating sharper thinking and increased creativity.
As we start the new year, now is a great time to think about replacing just one bad habit with a good healthy organizing habit. The result is bound to be a less stressful, clutter-free new year.