I remember hearing a motivational speaker a few years ago say something along the lines of: “If there’s clutter in your physical life, there’s sure to be clutter in your mental life.” They definitely put it more eloquently, but I think you can catch my drift. It’s pretty accurate if you think about it. When you’re surrounded by things that are messy and out of order, it’s hard to stay on track and easy to get distracted by those same things. I remember when I moved into my current apartment. It was my first time living completely on my own. I had total reign over my surroundings. I could put the pots in this cabinet or that one. I could put the table in the kitchen or the living room. I could buy the white plates or the blue ones. At first, I was excited. That excitement quickly turned into being overwhelmed.
I was taking dishes out of my dishwasher one day, when a thought dawned on me. If I took just an extra minute or two in the moment, and was a bit more mindful of my belongings, I would never really have to do a huge apartment cleaning. If things had a place and I always took time to put them back where they lived, I wouldn’t be stressed out faced with a piled of those things. They would already be taken care of. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am far from perfect when it comes to cleaning up. Sometimes I leave dishes in the sink for days, or don’t make my bed. Shhhh! Time occasionally gets away from me and, yeah, once in a blue I’m a little lazy. But, the fact is that it’s important to take time to tidy up your surroundings so that you can breathe a little easier and live in a space you love.
This post comes at a pretty perfect time. I’m currently on spring break – yeah, I know, the life of a school employee – and spring is always a good time to get some cleaning done. Also, I’m moving in a little over a month and I’d like it to go as smoothly as possible. That’s where being organized is key. So, even though I’m kind of already an organized person at heart, I enlisted the help of my good friend Stephanie to give me some tips on other ways to make my life a little more streamlined.
Stephanie owns an organizing business, Optimally Organized, and is amazing when it comes to getting things done quickly and efficiently. She loves going into people’s homes and putting systems in place that help fit each clients lifestyle. I always try to channel my inner Stephanie when getting things in order. The following three tips she gave me recently are little ways to make your space less of a headache and more of a place to rest your head easy!
Tip #1: The old hanger trick
Stephanie suggests looking through your closet and turning all of your hangers to face the opposite direction. Next step? Forget about them for 6-12 months! Literally just go about your normal clothes hanging routine. Take out whatever clothes you’re going to wear and hang them back up when they’re clean, making sure to rehang them the correct way this time.
At the end of the 6-12 month time period, assess the situation. Do you still have hangers hanging the wrong way? That means you haven’t worn those clothes (the hanger would be turned back to the normal position otherwise). Toss them in a bag and donate your old clothes to a cause, such as Goodwill. If you haven’t worn them in nearly a year, chances are you won’t miss them!
Tip #2: Basket o’randos
You’ve seen it before. You’re sitting in your living room minding your own business when you notice that you have a random piece of mail on the table and then out of the corner of your eye you see a t-shirt on the floor and on the other side of the room is a bobby pin and hair tie and then your mind is going crazy with the Jaws theme song swimming through your head.
For these very reasons, Stephanie recommends keeping a small basket or container of some sort in each room of your house. Every time you notice something in the room that shouldn’t be, just throw it in the basket. At the end of the week, look through the basket, toss the junk and put away the rest. Your clutter-induced anxiety will thank you. And, hopefully the theme song that’ll be playing in your head next time you’re sitting on your couch is from the Game of Thrones episode playing on your TV and not the doom and gloom in your head.
Tip #3: Be your own mail carrier
As soon as you get your mail everyday, be proactive. Head to your kitchen counter/dining room table/wherever you’ve designated as your mail sorting spot and sort it ASAP. Make a few piles based on your need, but some ideas are:
- Save for a few weeks then toss
- Take care of this week
- Take care of today
Feeling a little less overwhelmed is totally worth taking a bit of extra time. I hope that those tips helped you – I know that I’m about to put them into action!
If you have some heavy duty organizational needs, I definitely recommend getting in touch with Stephanie and seeing if her services would suit your needs. Spring cleaning, we are coming for you. Allergies and all…