Becoming organized can feel like an overwhelming task, especially if being neat and orderly doesn’t come naturally to you. Though it may seem like a goal out of reach, the effort it takes to rearrange items in your home will be worth the lasting benefit to your mental health.
According to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women who described their home as “cluttered” or “disorderly” were more fatigued, depressed and had higher levels of stress hormones than women who had organized households. Being organized has also proven to increase your likelihood of making healthier food choices and increase your productivity. The trick is, where do you start?
Getting organized doesn’t have to mean a complete renovation of your home, nor does it necessitate months of arduous work. These five simple tricks are small steps you can take to start cleaning clutter from your life. They may just inspire you to keep the trend going in the future.
Do a week’s worth of meal prep on Sunday night
If you are a busy parent, student or employee, you know the morning hustle drill all too well. Often, packing a healthy lunch or planning a wholesome dinner is left by the wayside as you rush to make it out the door on time. This can cause you to feel as though your day has started chaotically, and without a good lunch on-hand you may make unhealthy food choices in the hours to come.
Pick one evening that is less busy (it doesn’t have to be Sunday) to plan out and prepare healthy lunches and/or dinners for the entire week. Store the pre-cut veggies, salads, snacks, sandwiches and other assorted food items neatly in your fridge labeled for each day of the week. That way, when the morning mayhem begins, you simply pluck that day’s lunch from the fridge before heading to your car. When you get home from a busy day, the fixings of a healthy dinner are waiting for you to quickly whip up.
This trick will not only help you stay healthy, but it will save you money and time as you avoid spending needless dollars on lunch or making last-minute grocery store trips.
Sort out that “junk drawer”
We all have one (or two, or three) drawers full of random items that don’t have a home of their own. While it is convenient to have a designated spot for haphazard objects, these drawers often end up harboring trash, broken bits and general clutter. You may even put something important in a junk drawer only to forget where you placed it amidst the mess.
The good news is, you can keep your junk drawer — just make sure it’s neat and organized inside. Use dividers or small trays to keep items separated and sorted so that you know exactly where to find that stray earring or extra screw when you need it. Use small labels on the inside of the trays to keep track of what belongs where, and to remind you not to carelessly throw things inside when you don’t know where else to put them.
Keep your bedroom organized
Your bedroom should be your Zen zone where you can go to block out the stresses of the day and relax. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation has found that having an orderly bedroom helps people sleep better at night, and be more productive throughout the day. Unfortunately, our bedrooms are usually the last place we think to organize, because they are less likely to be seen by others.
Start organizing your room by keeping your nightstand free from clutter. Have only the things you need while in bed on your nightstand, and keep all other items in a drawer away from view. Use the space under your bed as a place to store extra clothing or shoes in large tupperware containers to avoid overstocking your closet. Put your undergarments and socks in small trays inside your drawers to avoid disarray. Clear your dresser tops of any unnecessary objects, using trays and small dishes to sort jewelry, watches or other small items that can often make a room look messy.
Organize your kitchen
If you find yourself cooking two to three meals a day, it’s safe to say that you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Having an orderly cooking and storage space will greatly reduce the stress of meal prep and will encourage you to eat at home rather than spend money on restaurant meals or fast food.
Organize your fridge by grouping food items in clear, shallow containers. Keep opened bags such as shredded cheese or coffee grounds in trays to contain spills and to make it clear where things belong. Store your glasses and dishes together neatly in a cupboard close to where you eat, and nest your pots and pans inside one another to maximize space and minimize clutter. Keep your kitchen table organized by placing a lazy Susan or tray-type centerpiece in the middle to hold all of your permanent dining necessities, such as condiments and napkins.
Make your home office an inviting space
If you have a home office, or even just a designated place to write notes and pay bills, having a neat and orderly space will help increase your productivity and focus. By making your home work area clean and organized, you’ll create a calm environment that is conducive to work.
First, collect all of your important information, such as phone numbers, addresses and bills, and place them neatly in a binder. This will avoid the clutter of paper scraps and envelopes strewn across your desk. Next, get an attractive basket and place all of your electronics inside so that you know exactly where to find them and to keep your desk looking tidy. Lastly, arrange your computer, lighting, charger and other assorted wires in a specialized cable-management box to minimize the tangle of cords that often make a workspace look jumbled. A nice desktop light wouldn’t hurt to set a productive mood, either!
Do you think these tricks would help you organize your home? What other things do you do to maintain a neat and orderly life?
Stephanie Catudal is a mother, writer, hiker and outdoor enthusiast. She can often be found exploring the Ponderosa pine forests of Northern Arizona, or splashing in the cool waters of Sedona’s red rock canyons with her husband and two daughters. Steph is a holistic health enthusiast and finds strength in her personal pursuit of fitness and wellness. She has degrees in Media, Peace and Conflict studies and is passionate about building peace both abroad and within her community.