Have you tried to stay organized but failed? Many people buy books, listen to advice, and purchase all sorts of organizing tools only to wind up with tons of clutter and no way to find the things they really need.
The problem with most organization tips is that they start with the clutter and not with the clutter-er. Nearly every person who has an organization problem also has a mild hoarding problem. Identifying the root cause of hoarding behavior will help resolve the issue. Here are the most common reasons people hang on to too much stuff:
• It's Sentimental. Throwing away your child's old school papers feels like throwing away your child. If this is your problem, you need to start by realizing your best memories are in your mind and no one can take them away from you. Keep a representative sampling of the best things and take digital photos of the other items before discarding them. You'll have the memory without the clutter.
• Money Worries. You think you might need those discards someday, and you fear you'll regret getting rid of them. If this is your problem, you need to realize that clutter-caused stress will take a toll on your health and happiness, and that is more costly than purchasing new items.
• Garbage Guilt. You feel there's something vaguely immoral about throwing things away. If you feel guilty about discarding things, find a good charity for anything that is useable and recycle what you can. Holding on to unusable things doesn't benefit anyone.
Get Your System Down
Once you've finally gotten rid of the clutter, develop a system that suits you. If you're visual, color-code your files. If you hate climbing stairs, develop a system that minimizes the need for you to do so. Group items where they're used so all your supplies are handy for when you want to, say, work on a project or wrap a gift.
Organizing Tools Can Become Clutter
If you're organizationally challenged, you may be tempted to buy every clever organizer you see. Don't fall for it. If you have organizers you don't use, add them to your charity pile before they become part of the problem.
Put It into Practice
Scientists tell us it takes at least three weeks to form a new habit. It isn't enough to organize everything—you need to practice keeping your system until you do it without thinking.
Getting organized requires understanding the source of your problem, developing a new system, and forming new habits. The considerable effort required will save you a lifetime of money and time.