Ducks 'n a Row: Top Five Organizing Tips to Get Your Life Back on Track

07 June 2012

Top Five Organizing Tips to Get Your Life Back on Track

By Sinea Pies

When is the right time to start again? Anytime!  Simply stop, assess life and correct your course a little bit. We all get so busy that the little things can get away from us. Whether it is time invested in relationships or establishing order in your life, runaway details can be recaptured and tamed. 

Being organized does not have to be a fulltime job.  It is a way of life. It should not dominate your living.  It should facilitate better living: freedom! Doing the simple things every day can be the door to breakthrough on the big stuff.  So, let’s start with five, just five, organizing tips that can be the beginning of an organized life!

1. Shine Your Sink
This one has baffled many the reader but, I assure you, it is true.  A shiny, clean sink can lead to great and wonderful things in the kitchen.  Where, besides the bedroom, do we spend more time? In fact, when we are at home, where do we spending more WAKING time?  The kitchen is the hub of the home. If it is a mess on a daily basis, you’re always cleaning to find space to cook, only to mess it up again with the cooking and eating.  The sink is always full!  It’s time to break the pattern.

Here’s how:
Remove all of the dirty dishes from the sink.  Don’t wash them, just get them out. Wash the sink real good.  If you have a white ceramic sink, use Ajax or Comet to bleach it clean.  For stainless steel, use a soft cloth or sponge and a gentle cleaner. White vinegar works well on grease.

When you are done, spray it with Windex or Glass Plus and wipe it, then dry it,  till it gleams!  Now, I dare anyone to put a dirty dish in that!  Now, what about the dishes?  Rinse them off, load the dishwasher and run it.  Then, spray, shine and dry the sink again. Feel the difference?  Soon as you can, get the clean dishes into the cupboards. Ask the family to start rinsing and inserting newly dirtied dishes into the empty dishwasher, instead of using the sink.

For more thorough sink cleaning instructions, please go to the website of my friend, Marla Cilley, otherwise known as The FlyLady.  She is an amazing woman.  Her tutorial Shiny Sink 101 is classic!  

2. Use a Timer
Perfectionists often get lost in their own desire to get everything done and stay organized. Most of us who struggle with clutter are actually perfectionists, deep down inside. 

See if this sounds familiar:  In the midst of clearing a pile of stuff, we come across something, some old family pictures, for instance.  Realizing that they never were put in the photo album like they should, you get it out to slip them in.  But they have to be in chronological order, right?  Now, you start rearranging them to make it right.  Hours go by.  The stuff you were putting away is still there, it’s almost dinner time and the album isn’t even done. Sound familiar? 

A timer will solve all that.  Set it for the amount of time that you want to invest in a project.  When it rings, you’re done!  If something has to be put away before you can leave the vicinity, reset your timer for 5 more minutes.

Buy a timer for home and one for the office.  Just explain to coworkers what you are trying to do so that they aren’t startled when it goes off.  Your timer is about to become your very best friend!

3. Make a List
We are used to making lists for many things.  Grocery lists, Christmas shopping lists, wish lists. But do you have a daily habit of working with a To Do List?  If not, time to start.  Your list is the compass that will guide you through your day.  Write down the most important things that have to get done. Most urgent first, next in importance second, etc. What doesn’t get done moves to tomorrow’s list.  Keep a list at home and a different To Do List at the office.  Whether it is done on paper or electronically, make sure that it is easily in view.

4. Put Things Away
Remember how your mom or Kindergarten teacher told you to put your things away?  Did you do it?  Many of us did, but not very well. Bad habits can follow us throughout our lives.  Highly scheduled people are often the greatest offenders when it comes to leaving their stuff lying around. “I’ll get it later.”   Sometimes “later” never comes.
Don't leave stuff lying around.

Start a new habit of being on the alert.  When you enter or leave, visually sweep the room. What’s in there that doesn’t belong? If any of it should go to the room where you’re headed, it is a natural to pick it up and take it with you.  If there are several things to put away, use a tray, laundry basket or grocery bag.  Take five minutes to clear things up.  Doing this regularly keep things in order.

5. Look Out, It’s a Trap!  Just say “no”.
This is the big one: over-scheduling. Overtime at the office, community involvement, church activities, home improvement projects.  The list goes on. It’s all good but you can’t be everything to everybody.  

If you are prone to over-involvement, then what is suffering?  Find a healthy balance.  Everyone needs sleep, exercise, relaxation and “down time”.  Schedule it in.  Count family-time as a high priority. At the end of their lives, many influential people have said that, if they could do it again, they’d spend more time with their families.  Wise advice for us all: start saying “no” to some good things to make room for the best things!

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Photo credits: 
Kitchen Sink by Michelle Meiklejohn freedigitalphotos.netGame Room by David Study and Game RoomCastillo Domenici


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