Five Simple Ways to Get Organized and Stay Organized

You already know that Shoeboxed helps you keep your online receipts organized and your e-mail inbox free from the annoying clutter of spam and advertisements. But as I have learned over the years, there is actually more to life than just the Internet. For this reason, I made a list of a few easy habits that can help you stay organized in all aspects of life.

  1. Reduce before you organize. One of the main reasons that people get unorganized is that they just have too much stuff. Since it is much easier to organize 10 things than 100, it’s a good idea to toss out all the items that you don’t need before you start actually organizing. Recycle papers when you can’t remember what they refer to, give old clothes to charity when they don’t fit any longer, and then start organizing that desk or closet.
  2. Everything in its right place. Assign specific places for everything, and then make sure to always return items to those places. It’ll be a lot easier to find your sunglasses if you always put them in their “home” rather than just tossing them onto the table somewhere.
  3. Take care of things now. Small messes are easier to manage than large ones, so get rid of the “I’ll do it later” mentality and start putting things away right when you’re done with them. That way they won’t build up and leave you with an unmanageable mess on your hands.
  4. Write it down. I have personally perfected the talent of forgetting very important pieces of information until just after they are useful, at which point they miraculously come back. To keep this from happening to you, I recommend keeping a calendar or notepad with you and writing down important events as they arise. It is also not a bad idea to periodically go through your notebook and prioritize the things you have written down so you do not get bogged down by unnecessary tasks.
  5. Make a system. It is not enough to just clean everything up once—clutter always has a way of coming back. Make a system to stay ahead of the mess. Have a cleaning schedule where you do a little bit every day, have a set method for approaching your paperwork, and put your kids to work. Okay, that last one may not be serious, but it doesn’t hurt to have kids learn the basics of staying organized at a young age.