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Being organized has all kinds of benefits – greater productivity, saved time, less stress and more motivation, to name a few.
But some organizing tasks give you a happiness hit, too. What a cool bonus!
Here are three of my favorite organizing things to do – all guaranteed to put a little spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Just try them and see – and let me know if you agree!
1. Make your bed
I’m not talking hospital corners and 25 fluffy pillows, here. Just the covers pulled up neatly and the pillows fluffed will make a difference.
There’s something about starting the day with your bed made that tells your subconscious you’re ready to face the world, and that adds a little pep to your mood.
It’s a lovely way to end the day, too. How nice to enter your bedroom after the day is done, and find a nice, inviting bed waiting for you.
If you aren’t a regular bed maker, take 3 minutes today to try it.
2. Savor surfaces
People who’ve lived a long time with clutter invariably get a happiness boost when they uncover the surfaces buried underneath. They love the clarity, the order, the absence of chaos.
Another reason clear surfaces make you happier is that the stuff lurking atop surfaces can prompt unpleasant feelings.
Like worry over bills left on the counter. Irritation about dust on ornaments that no longer bring pleasure. Stress that you haven’t gotten around to fixing something.
If you have a surface that’s muddying your mood – perhaps a counter, coffee table, dining table or dresser – then make today the day you give it a facelift. Spend 15 minutes todaygetting rid of anything you don’t use or love, putting away things that have a home, andfinding a home for things that don’t.
3. Exchange too much past and future for more today
If you constantly feel disorganized then ask yourself these questions:
• How much of your disorganization relates to the past or future?
• How much of your clutter is pieces of the past you’re clinging to – clothes, mementos, yearbooks and journals?
• How much of your stuff is for a future that’s not part of your life today – sports or hobbies you’ll start one day, things you may need some time in the next century?
There’s nothing wrong with mementos or plans – both can add meaning to your life. But if these things are crowding out your life today, then you’re paying for them with happiness.
Instead, let some – or all – of them go, and make room for a little more of the present. Spend30 minutes today clearing away the things in your life that are keeping your focus on yesterday or tomorrow, instead of today.
A 48-minute happiness prescription
So here’s my happiness prescription for you today:
• 3 minutes to make your bed
• 15 minutes to clear a surface
• 30 minutes to release past- or future-focused things from your life.
Take your happiness temperature after completing these steps and see how you feel.
But please don’t wipe the smile off your face.
© 2010 Happiness Strategies Pty Ltd.
Get Organized Wizard newsletter shares ideas and strategies for organizing your life, achieving your objectives and being your best. Get yours now atwww.GetOrganizedWizard.com.
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One of the fundamentals of the Get Organized Wizard philosophy is:
The less of anything you have, the easier it is to get organized and stay organized.
Q1: How much money must I spend to get the freebie?
Q2: How much time must I spend to use the freebie?
Q3: How much mental clutter will the freebie create?
Q4: How much physical clutter will the freebie create?
Get Organized Mission #3: Organize Your Bill Payment
Step 1: Gather copies of all your regular bills
Your regular bills might include:
- Cell phone
- Car loan payments
- Credit card payments
- School fees
Step 2: Set up automatic bill payment where available
Many of your regular bills may be automatically payable each month from your back account or credit card. Check for details on the back of your bill or look up your account online.
You can generally set up automatic payment by phone, online, or by using an ancient type of admin called ‘a form’. (Don’t fight it – whatever effort you make now will be worth the saved time, money and hassle.)
It goes without saying that you need to be able to cover these bills from your credit card or bank account. But I’ve said it anyway.
Step 3: Set up internet banking or phone banking
Ideally, all your bills will be automatically payable. If so, your organizing mission is complete and you can spend any remaining time tidying your financial papers.
For any bills that aren’t automatically payable, set up internet banking or phone banking to pay these bills at your convenience. Phone, visit or get online to set up your accounts.
Step 1: Empty
Empty everything out of your bag (I’ll use this generic term for simplicity). Dust out any lingering detritus over a sink so your bag is lovely and clean.
Step 2: Wallet
If you have a separate pocketbook/wallet, start there.
- Remove old business cards, receipts, paper scraps, tissues, post-its, random hairclips, etc.
- Remove other items that don’t deserve the real estate – eg loyalty cards for stores you rarely visit, coffee cards you never remember to use, etc.
- Place the regularly used credit cards, store cards and ID in convenient locations in your wallet.
- Check any photos of loved ones are current and in good condition.
Step 3: Keys
Next, streamline your keys.
- Use a neat, functional keyring or case.
- Remove any keys you don’t need. If you don’t remember what they’re for, put them on a separate ‘Mystery’ keyring for later investigation.
- If you’re always fumbling with keys, consider putting them on the ring in the order you use them – eg, car, garage, mailbox, top lock, bottom lock.
Step 4: Make-Up Purse
Next, let’s tackle your make-up purse, make-up compartment in your bag, or for guys, any toiletries you carry with you.
- Remove items you don’t use regularly enough to justify their real estate.
- Discard anything old, in poor condition or funky smelling.
- Consider streamlining your daily essentials. Could you limit yourself to, say, a neutral lipstick or lipgloss, small tube of SPF hand cream, small blush with built-in mirror and brush, small mascara and small fragrance bottle?
- If you streamline the contents, consider downsizing your make-up purse too.
Step 5: Organize
Finally, return the streamlined items to your bag. Make use of compartments to help keep the contents organized.
Life is getting so hectic and jam packed full of clutter, family responsibilities, work responsibilities, noise, expectations, interruptions, claims on your time, technology that promises to change your life, advertising that tells you to buy more, be thinner or look different. Wow that was one serious run-on sentence which definitely did not allow you room to breathe. But the point is to show you that a little simplicity will be just what you need this year.
It could be too much to simplify your whole life but let's look at areas where you could simplify in some way.
A few Simple Steps
To start the process of simplifying, you first need to understand the areas of your life that are most important and what is of real value to you. Once you have that understanding you will be able to decide where to simplify and get started.
To help you on your way start by simplifying your:
For me this is an obvious place to start and a New Year is a great time to de clutter and have a good clear out. So many homes are bursting at the seams full of 'stuff' that is having a negative effect on lives. I would prefer 2010 to be positive for you, so clear out any possessions that are no longer important or have no value.
This could be considered part of the clutter section but I feel it needs attention all of its own. It is so much simpler getting ready if everything in your wardrobe is something you like and fits. Sort through and clear out any items in your wardrobe that no longer goes with your new simplified life.
Paperwork continues to attack and fill homes. It is an area so many of my clients struggle with. Have you thought about receiving household bills online rather than in the post? Are there any magazine subscriptions you still receive but never have the time to read? One client regularly received a subscription based charity magazine and was orginally hesitant to cancel the subscription as they wanted to support the charity. Now the support continues through regular automated donations to the charity.
When it comes to the filing and any paperwork already in your home. If you are able to find the information online, there is no reason to keep it anymore.
There can be this unhealthy drive to say yes to every activity, committee, party, request or invite you receive. This is an area where knowing what is important and of value in your life will help you to start saying no and simplify the commitments you take on. Make sure to simplify commitments for every adult and child in the family.
Is there a regular system you can introduce to simplify your morning routine?
Are you expecting to accomplish too much on the weekends and forgetting to spend time as a family? Again knowing what you value will help you decide how to spend you weekends.
As I mentioned earlier, you may not be able to simplify your whole life, but start the process by simplifying at least one area.
"Rachael Ross and Purely Peppermint can help you to achieve control over your clutter. Through the regular published Purely Peppermint newsletters you will learn hints, tips, tricks and better habits on how to deal with your clutter. If you want to get control now than access your own copy of our success secrets at www.purelypeppermint.com "
Get Organized Mission #1: Fill a Hu-u-uge Trash Bag
Get a giant trash bag. (If you don’t have one find 20 small ones, or ask a neighbor, or go to the shops, or use boxes, or pile things up on a rug until you get to the shops tomorrow. There are no excuses!)
Set a kitchen timer (or your clock radio or iPhone alarm, etc) for 30 minutes.
Start filling the bag and continue doing so as you move through your house, until either the timer goes off or your bag is full.
Throw into the bag anything you don’t use, don’t like, that has negative associations, is broken or tatty, or is no longer your style. See below for room-by-room examples.
Take it straight out to the trash or even the tip if you’re so motivated. Just be sure to remove the temptation to look in the bag or to rescue released items.
Dos & Don’ts
- Don’t try to organize rooms, cupboards or drawers at this stage.
This mission is about getting rid of stuff so do keep an out-it-goes mindset.
- We’ll have another organizing mission for charity items, so don’t get bogged down with that now. I don’t suggest giving lame stuff to charity – decent, usable stuff: yes; crapola: no.
So do feel fine about ditching all the dross.
- I want you to move fast – so don’t overthink it.
If your gut feel is to release something from your life, then do toss it into the bag.