My Top 10 GOOD HABITS for staying Uncluttered and Organised

Once you’ve done your decluttering, and everything is how you want it to be in your home (or office), then it is just a matter of creating good habits so that the clutter doesn’t creep back in. We will always have stuff that comes in and it’s useful to know how to handle this before it builds up into overwhelming proportions. I’m not exaggerating here, we do not have a ‘paperless society’ as was promised a few decades ago… and we do still shop, often on a regular basis.

Here are my good habits for staying on top of it all and keeping my small home as clutter free as possible:

Mail: I sort my mail and either file it or bin it immediately. If you’re really busy and don’t have time to sort it on the spot, then one method is to use clear plastic folders for different categories i.e. bills to pay, bills paid (by direct debit etc) to be filed, kids activities, personal. Put junk mail immediately into your recycling. You will need to process what you’ve put in the plastic folders, either filing items or paying bills, however this system will contain them, and you can then process them say once a week.

Emails: this is a big one as we are inundated with sometimes hundreds of emails a day. I wrote an entire newsletter on this subject http://www.gioia.net.nz/decluttering-newsletters/aug-2010.html/ and that might give you some ideas as to how to organise your email Inbox (and Sent box). I try to keep my Inbox down to less than 50 emails and I pretty much sort, file and delete my emails two or three times a week as I sit at my computer at home. If you use your “reading pane” to view the content of each email it’s quicker and easier to decide whether to keep, file or delete.

Home office files and paperwork: you can use a similar process as that for the mail, using clear plastic folders to contain paperwork. I do use these clear plastic files a lot and find that as long as the paper is tucked into a folder, by category, then I’m happy to pop it into my cupboard until I have more time to sort through the paper.

To do lists and bits of paper… rather than having loads of to do lists and scrappy pieces of paper lying around, why not buy a notebook to write down your lists, ideas, and notes to self. It’s more compact and becomes one place where you can go to get that information.

Shopping!! Now we all love shopping, but I always keep in mind as I shop whether I really need that item. If I don’t need it, but I love it, I may still buy it but I’m planning at the same time where I’m going to store it; and often when I shop it’s actually to replace something that’s ready to be thrown out or given away.

The pantry and fridge: if you’ve already done a good sort of these areas, and it is something we need to do fairly regularly to stock up and throw out expired goods, then it’s just a matter of checking expiry dates and culling where necessary.

Newspapers, magazines and the like: this is easy, once you’ve read the newspapers put them in the recycling area straight away. Once I’ve read through a magazine I like to pass it on so others can enjoy it. Much better than all this paper cluttering up living areas.

Special projects: these can be all sorts of projects you may be working on; I keep any projects and/or training courses I’m doing in ring binders, and store them in a nice box (without a lid) where I can see them and grab whichever folder/project I want to work on.

Fix it items: I tend not to procrastinate over these items, whether it’s a piece of clothing, or something more substantial. If it’s too hard to fix it, then it goes… simple, I don’t want things hanging around that are broken and don’t work.

Regular mini decluttering sessions: I usually do a mini declutter every few months, which is either at the change of season when I swap my wardrobe, or if I feel my home office cabinets are becoming a little too ‘busy’. Once you have done the main declutter and organised designated spaces for everything in your home, then a mini declutter can be quite quick and painless.

Even if you haven’t decluttered areas of your home yet, if you follow these simple steps it will make a difference, and you won’t be adding to what you already have. Becoming and staying organised, without being obsessive, is a skill that can be learnt and becomes a pleasure once it’s mastered.

I hope you find these tips are useful, and that you try out some of them for yourself. Warm best wishes as we head towards the festive season. Not long to go now…

In Joy!

Angella Gilbert

P: 09 410 4166
M: 027 224 8937
E: angella@gioia.net.nz
W: www.gioia.net.nz

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