Something I have loved to do my entire life is get organized. The word “organized” gets a bad rap, mostly because it seems a lot harder to do than people let on. I like getting organized because it brings me peace of mind and gives me a chance to decompress without actually thinking (does anyone else clean when they’re stressed?!).
Organization, declutter, and minimalist lifestyles have been quite the buzzword for the past few years. There have been numerous books and thousands of articles published on how to get and stay organized in order to be successful. While it’s not a requirement of being successful to be organized, it certainly helps a lot of people.
Since I’ve been organizing virtually my whole life, I have a few tricks up my sleeve! Keep scrolling to see how I stay organized and where you should start!
5 Tips for Getting Organized
1. Invest in a paper planner (maybe even two!)
With the invention of Google Calendar and iPhones, paper planners seem very irrelevant at the moment. I’ve had a paper planner since they were distributed to me the first time in the fourth grade (at the time, they were called ‘assignment notebooks’). The goal was to teach us how to get organized. While many kids didn’t like it or complained about having to write down all assignments, I LOVED it. There’s nothing I love more than a good plan.
Fast forward to present day, and I have invested in not one but TWO paper planners. One is just a smaller calendar of the year with a little space to write important dates and appointments (click here!). This one I keep at my job. It helps me keep track of the days of the week (it sounds stupid, but it can get confusing!) as well as any important events that I have going on.
The second planner I invested in this year was a pretty large day planner (see pictures below!). This includes a section for personal, financial, and educational goals, as well as a calendar of each month and a section for every day of the year. It’s very helpful in planning my days between homework, blogging, class, and work. I love sitting down on a Sunday night to plan my week and go over my goals. It keeps me organized AND motivated. In fact, there are studies (click here!) that show you are more likely to complete a goal if you write it down.
2. Create a file system
While this might not seem relevant if you have not moved out of your childhood home permanently yet, it is important that you have a specific space for your personal paperwork.
Having a simple file folder system will save you a lot of hassle in the future. Keep a file folder (you can find them here or any other office supply store) in your apartment, childhood bedroom, office, etc. Label them as you see fit. I recommend storing important documents like:
- social security card, birth certificate, & passport
- school related items that you might need in the future (transcript, diplomas, etc.)
- Housing information (rent, leases, utility statements, etc.)
- any important receipts for big purchases (computers, TVs, etc.)
This file simple can be as complex or simple as you’d like, but it is helpful to have a specific place for papers that you will need to access at some time. This might seem like a mute point. Why wouldn’t you store important papers? I think it helps to start healthy organizational habits in a small way. That way, it sticks when you have your own house, apartment, and life to keep track of!
3. Make a list of things that need to be completed weekly.
This can be anything from homework, tasks for your job, career searching, or applying to schools. With a few exceptions, you probably have responsibilities each week. I recommend sitting down once a week (Sundays work best for me!) and writing down everything you have to do in your planner (or an online calendar, whichever you prefer). Planning out your week gives you a sense of relief, as you pretty much know what to expect. It’s hard to keep track of everything that is going on in your life only in your brain. Writing it out helps! Trust me.
4. Create a quiet, clean space for studying, working, and planning.
This is one of the most important parts of being successful, in my opinion. If you are distracted while you are working, then your quality of the work will decline rapidly. This is the reason why libraries are so popular on campus. They offer a clutter-free, clean space to work and study.
If you own a home or rent an apartment, try to find even just a small space that is just for working, planning, and organizing. I have my desk at my house in Cleveland and my vanity/ chair area (weird, I know) in Columbus. These spaces are meant to keep me organized without worrying about whether or not I will be distracted.
Note: this is also where I keep my important papers.
5. Declutter and get rid of things regularly
Ever heard of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up? There was a reason this book was so popular! Keeping a clean room and living space creates productivity. I’m not saying we should all be minimalists, but getting rid of unused clothes and household items regularly gives your home a cleaner, more organized feel (also please donate any clothes or goods– don’t throw them away!).
At the start of every season, my family and I try to go through our clothes and home goods that we know that we don’t need anymore and give them away to local charities, such as the Salvation Army and the Easter Seals.
Getting rid of unnecessary things in your home will lead you to have a cleaner, more productive space to be organized and successful!
Thanks for reading this post, guys! I really appreciate everyone’s support! I know this isn’t a typical organization post, but these tips have really helped me be successful in my personal and professional life!
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