You’re an extrovert. He’s an introvert. You like parties. He likes to fish. To him, collectibles are treasures. You view them as clutter. He makes lists, you don’t. Being different can be better. It may create a balance that makes life fun and interesting. Think of the historic friendship between Thomas Jefferson, the laidback southerner and John Adams, the anxious northerner. They became allies around their passion for American Independence. Remember favorite TV couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Neil Simon’s original Odd Couple, Felix and Oscar. What these friends and characters shared were common goals and a sense of humor. Sometimes that’s enough. Other times, especially when it comes to staying organized, odd couples may need a strategy.
Human nature being what it is, we forget things. We make mistakes. In the world of medicine, construction and transportation, mistakes can prove fatal. It’s no surprise that many of these industries utilize checklists. In his book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Do Things Right, best-selling author Atul Gawande advocates the use of checklists to manage the vast amounts of information we use in both our professional and personal lives. If you question the impact of checklists, consider that a five-step checklist used in Johns Hopkins intensive care units saved nearly 1,500 lives and $200 million over an 18-month period.
In her book , The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo instructs us to gather up all our belongings and then hold individual items and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”
Joy might not be the best way to describe how you feel about your toaster, but never the less, we’re excited that the book has sparked a lot of interest in organizing and the powerful effects it can have on our lives. I find that when it comes to organizing, people usually fall into three camps. There are people that love organizing and the results of organization. They love to work the process. Then there are those for whom organizing would be the last thing they want to do. Lastly, there are those who would like to be organized, but have no idea how to go about it.
Do you feel distracted when you are trying to focus on a task at hand? Do you lose your thoughts and feel stressed often? Clutter may be the culprit. Science is showing the benefits of staying organized. Sabine Kastner, a neuroscientist at Princeton, studies what the brain pays attention to. Through her experiments, she and her research team found that visual clutter creates a competition in the brain between what it sees and what it’s searching for.
A space for the man of the house is trending in design circles. The benefits of a “man cave” are grounded in research (it helps men regulate their emotions) and the attitudes of spouses (time away from each other is a good thing). Man caves may be located in an existing room, garage, basement or outbuilding. Once the man cave is built, it may not change for years. But stuff does accumulate. How to keep the man cave organized should be based on how it is being used. Its purpose may vary.
Because basements are hidden from daily view and often act as storage space, it may be the area that gets the least attention when organizing. Before long, the basement gets overloaded with stuff you cherish and stuff you can easily do without. Basement organizing is hard because you need to identify the practical and the personal, the random and the revered. It is easy to delay, however clutter will accumulate and make the task harder in the future.
You can increase your chances for staying organized this year. Make organizing a habit. Start small and build from there. Cultivating a good habit of staying organized reaps many rewards. You eliminate wasted time looking for things. You save money by not buying more of what you already have. You replace chaos with calm.
Here are four ways you can make organizing a habit this year.
Look at problem areas
Assess your home to discover where the clutter accumulates. For some people clutter may pile up in an entryway, home office, closet or kitchen. Problem areas are the best way to see what bad habits you have developed.
Home environment is one of the key factors affecting a child’s school performance. Kids who do better at school tend to come from quieter, more organized homes with predictable routines. This is true regardless of socio-
economic status. The home is not a passive place for kids. Also, let’s not forget that the child impacts the home. When it comes to a well organized home and school performance, let’s consider clutter, color, calendars and confidence.
Sometimes I am called into situations where clutter is causing conflict between a husband and wife. Perhaps the sports memorabilia is taking over the house; you can’t walk through the garage, or the spare bedroom has become a dumping ground.
Recognize your motivations may be different
While being organized is a common goal for both men and women, I have noticed that the motivation for being organized can be completely different.
In my experience women respond to the visual appeal of an organized space, while men are more interested in the functional benefits of improved organization. Finding the reward for both individuals is key to getting both parties to work together.
It feels great when we clear out clutter and organize a drawer, closet or bathroom. We feel a sense of accomplishment, order and calm. You can use that feeling as an affirmation when organizing your home: “I did it!” An affirmation is simply a positive statement that describes a desired situation. Here are some ideas for using affirmations to get and stay organized.
Choose a time of day to repeat your affirmation. Some people like the morning before their day’s activities begin. Others like to repeat their affirmation in the evening when it is quiet. Or they will pull it up whenever the time seems right. The important thing is to repeat it each day. This way it gets planted in your subconscious mind.