What Kind of Mess Maker Are You?
In honor of Clean Up Your Room Day (yes, that’s a real holiday you and your children can celebrate!), we wanted to share some tips for discovering exactly what kind of mess maker you are. Why is this important? If you know what kind of mess maker you are, you will be able to create an organizational system that actually works with you—not against you.
Which definition fits you best?
If this is you, your space is filled with things that bring back wonderful memories: trophies from your middle school tennis championship, pictures your children drew for you, a scrap of paper with a kind note left on your windshield. While memories are great, these physical items are making it hard for you to keep an organized space. Consider taking a photo of each item and creating a digital photo gallery (tutorial here) or creating a “Memory Box” for each family member—only ONE box per person. If the box gets too full, you need to edit the contents. A great idea for the personal “Memory Box”: give it to the individual when they get their own place, a thoughtful gift that also helps clean your room.
While we are all busy people, some people are just too busy to organize. If this is you, your desk is probably filled with papers that need to be signed, calendar appointments that need to be entered and an email box overflowing with unread messages. For you, convenience is key—make sure paper is nestled by the printer, pens and paperclips near your “to do” box and items that need to go with you when you leave (i.e. keys, sunglasses) always land in the same spot. At the end of each day, clean out backpacks and bags by a recycling bin—getting rid of things you don’t need, acting upon things that need to be done and delegating things that need to go to others. Once you get in the groove with this, it will only take you a few minutes each evening.
Too Lazy to Organize
There is this great quote from Albert Einstein: “Organized people are just too lazy to go looking for what they want.” You may think your lack of motivation to get and stay organized is a sign you are lazy, but in fact, not being organized is causing you to use more energy each and every day. You don’t need to do a lot to be organized—simply follow these three rules from master organizer Annette Reyman: Capture, Calendar, Contain. Keep a notebook with you at all times and capture everything—from requests to ideas to deadlines. At the end of each day, put all of the items you “captured” into your calendar. Finally, create a very easy-to-use system of containers for all of your physical stuff. For example, have a basket for mailing material, another for office supplies and another for bills. You’ll know just where to find what you need when you need it.
You are the lover of labels, boxes and color-coded filing systems. A day at The Container Store is like a day at Disney World for you and your home is organized to perfection, but could it be too organized? Absolutely says professional organizer Lorie Marrero. If the time, money and energy you are “investing in the process” isn’t paying off in giving you more time, money and energy in life, it may not be worth it. Do a quick inventory of your organizational systems and make sure you are not wasting your time (or money). Two areas Marrero finds common organizational errors: transferring all pantry items into matching plastic containers (you are spending more time transferring than it takes for your family to eat the contents) and creating folders by vendor (i.e. phone company) instead of by date (“the time it takes to parse each bill into the proper vendor folder rarely pays off”).
Talk to us: What kind of mess maker are you?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Neil Winton