Organizing your home can be a daunting task when the piles are overflowing, the laundry is scattered, and the office is flooded in papers. Fortunately, there are systems and tools that you can use to organize every room in your house. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Everything has a home.
To keep your life organized and sane, you must assign a home for all of the objects in your house. Have a specific place for your keys, pens, pencils, incoming papers, and mail.
You can do this with a variety of organizing tools, including drawer organizers, shoe racks, magazine racks, filing cabinets, drawers, and shelving units.
You should never just toss stuff in a drawer. Instead, make sure that everything has a proper holding spot. Whenever an item has been removed from its assigned home, make sure that it is immediately returned to its homes when no longer in use.
Everyone needs a filing system.
A filing cabinet is one of the best organizing tools. They help keep all of your important paperwork organized. File away all of your manuals, your tax information, finance information, school report cards, family documents, etc.
Of course, if you want your filing system to be of any use, you must also label all of your folders based on the items they hold.
Pick up as you go.
One of the keys to keeping an organized home is to pick up as you go. Don’t let the piles of toys, dishes, and paperwork take over. Instead, clean up everything as you go along.
Do a quick wipe up of the shower each day. Pick up a few things as you’re walking through the house. Spend 15 minutes each day organizing your office. You’ll be surprised at what a huge difference these daily habits can make.
Organize your drawers.
Drawers can become a home of havoc. Although everything might look nice and tidy on the outside, a peek behind the closet or inside the drawers often reveals the truth.
Fortunately, there are simple steps to organizing your drawers.
The first thing you must do is to empty everything out of the drawer. The best way to clean something out is to start with a clean slate. Next, remove all of the unneeded junk from the pile and throw it in the trash. This alone is a big accomplishment.
Simply clearing out the junk will make things look a lot tidier.
Once you have finished removing all of the junk, go through the remaining items and sort them into 3 piles: stuff you want to keep, stuff you’d like to give away, and stuff that needs to be put somewhere else. One of the best ways to organize these piles is to use large boxes or bags and label them “Keep“, “Move“, “Trash“, and “Donate“.
Now put everything that you want to keep back in the drawer. You should now have a much smaller pile. To keep everything nice and organized, I would recommend getting a drawer organizer. A drawer organizer can be especially useful for organizing office items such as pens, paper, tape, scissors, staples, and paper clips.
This general procedure can be used in almost any part of the house: empty everything out, toss out all junk, create 3-4 piles, and only put back the essentials. Use this 4-step method to clear out the closet, organize your bookshelf, and transform your garage.
One of my favorite organizing tips is to dump it! Anything that you haven’t used in the past year probably needs to be thrown away. Throw out those clothes that you never wear. Get rid of the shoes that are 10 years outdated. Give away the books you’ll never read. Do you have kitchen appliances gathering dust? Give it away to Goodwill and gain some valuable counter space. Getting rid of your junk will greatly help organize your home and give you more space.
Keeping your home organized is an ongoing process. However, with the proper systems in place, your home will soon be the talk of the town.
So, what are your best organizing tips? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at The Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 Essential GTD Resources, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need a Braindump, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.
More About Working From Home
- 10 Tips to Help You Be More Efficient Working From Home
- 7 Ways To Supercharge Your Productivity When You Work From Home
- 10 Work from Home Desks to Boost Your Productivity