10 habits of an organized person

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I had an interesting conversation with a friend at lunch the other day. We were talking about this blog, actually, and she stated something I needed to hear. She admitted, “Reading things about being organized totally overwhelm me, because I realize just how disorganized I really am.” If you can relate to her, I want to let you know that I understand. When my basement was filled with clutter, I didn’t even want to go down there because it was just so overwhelming. It was easier to shut the door and pretend it wasn’t there. So, my dear readers, this place, here at Sweet Tea Street, is a guilt-free zone. This blog is meant to encourage you, to give you some ideas to free yourself from the things that overwhelm you so you can concentrate on the things God has entrusted to you. I am not here to pretend I have it all together, because I certainly do not. I especially don’t want you to feel guilty. No, us women, we need be each others’ cheerleaders. Each one of us has different God-given talents and gifts. We are meant to use those to build one another up. One of my strengths is organization (and I have felt for a long time that God wanted me to use it to help other people), but there are so many things I’m not good at. Thankfully, other people are. That same friend who’s overwhelmed by disorganization? Well, she’s a really great mother of five. And I’ll admit it right now, I would not be a really great mother of five. If being organized does not come naturally to you, but it’s something you want to work on, then you have come to the right place.

I believe anyone can be organized if they want to be, but it requires desire and effort, of course. Thinking through some of the things I do in my own life, I’ve come up with 10 habits of an organized person. If these don’t come naturally to you, I encourage you to choose just one or two habits from the list and work on those. Remember, small steps can lead to big accomplishments!

IMG_70131) Have a place for everything. When you walk in the door, where do the car keys go? How about the mail? The kids’ school papers and artwork? Things will only get put away if they have a spot. If you have a dump zone, it’s because you don’t have places for those items, so create categories from there. In the toy room, create spaces for the different types of toys so the kids know where to put them away. Make sure kids have a spot to hang their backpacks and coats, and of course, to place their paperwork. Creating systems for paperwork is key. For me, important school papers go in a magazine-type holder in my kitchen cupboard. If I need to find details about a school event, I know right where to look. My kids’ other papers or completed tests/homework either get purged or filed away. Organized people know where things are because everything has a place.


IMG_70072) Make your bed every morning. Surprise! Have you ever noticed how much cleaner your bedroom looks when the bed is made? Your bedroom should be your refuge, so keep it clean, calm and clutter free. Starting your day out with this simple task will set the tone for the rest of the day. Plus, it may be the only room you can walk in, close the door, and take a breath!


CLEAN-AS-YOU-GO3) Clean up as you go. Tidy up the kitchen after every meal, put your clothes in the laundry basket when you take them off, put away toys after playtime — and teach your family members to do the same. Whenever a mess is made, it’s much easier to clean it up right away rather than letting the chores pile up, which leads to that “overwhelmed” feeling.


IMG_70114) Keep one synched calendar.  With smart phones and digital apps, having one main calendar has never been easier. It doesn’t really matter what calendar you use, whether it’s Outlook, iCal, etc. My husband and I use a shared calendar called Cozi. This is my favorite app (I have to believe it was created by a mom) and it’s free. Not only can you insert events and color code them for each member of your family, but you can set reminders, have a to-do list and even create shopping lists. With a synched calendar, it’s so easy for my husband or I to look at the date and see what each other has going on, to coordinate schedules and add events.


IMG_70165) Write out a to-do-list. I am a pen and paper gal. I love to write out my tasks and better yet, check them off! Years ago, I took a course on the FranklinCovey planner. (Yes, I am a total geek.) One of the things they suggested was to not only write out your tasks, but then go back and prioritize them (A1, A2, B1, B2, etc.) You should always get your A tasks done before moving on, because even if you don’t complete every task, you will feel accomplished. Write out your tasks or put them into whatever system works best for you (there’s lots of cool online and digital apps) either the night before or first thing in the office.


clock6) Maintain a routine.  I like to do laundry on certain days, go to the gym on certain days. Every night before bed, my kids make their lunches for school the next day. Our bedtime routine has been the same since the time our kids were little (although now it’s us going to bed earlier than them). There are so many things that occur in our day that we can’t control, so those little routines and things you can control will bring a sense of order and peace to your day and week.


child-cleaning-up7) Finish one project before moving on. This goes back to the to-do list and checking things off. Disorganization abounds when you have too many projects or tasks going on at the same time. Do you start making dinner, but then realize you forgot to finish an email. Then, you get to your computer to finish your email, but a Facebook message pops up so you check on that? Going around and around will just add to the chaos. If you can’t check anything off, you’ll feel like you didn’t get anything done! This can even apply to kids and their toys. I trained my kids when they were little that we wouldn’t leave the house until the toys were picked up. Put one set of toys away before moving to the next thing.


donating_old_stuff8) Keep only what you need.  Organized people don’t hoard a bunch of stuff they don’t need {usually, ha ha!}. If you have a new, yet unopened set of martini glasses you received for a wedding gift 12 years ago, I’m suspecting you probably won’t need them anytime soon. Be willing to take and get rid of inventory. For example, I go through my closet twice a year. If I didn’t wear a shirt last summer, I’m most likely not going to wear it this summer. Being free from clutter is an organized girl’s mantra.


PBTeenDottieCanvasBins9) Buy organizing materials.  My most favorite part of organizing? Buying the containers to put stuff in! This goes along with everything having a “home.” Clothes may end up in a pile if there aren’t enough hangers, drawers or storage containers. Jewelry will just get tangled together if you don’t have a place to store it. Papers quickly stack up or get lost if you don’t have a place to file them. Organized people love to buy fun organizing containers, bins, folders and gadgets. Make sure you have the supplies you need to be organized. (And if you don’t like buying that stuff, ask some of us who do!)


clean-up-cover110) Tidy up before bed. Before turning off the lights, take a look around and put things away. It might just make the difference between a chaotic morning and a peaceful one!

So, tell me. Can you relate to any or all of these habits? Is there one that you struggle with the most? Or are all of them completely foreign to you and you’re not sure where to start, or if you even want to? Remember, this is a guilt-free zone. Send me a comment below; I’d love to hear from you!

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