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5 Tips To Improve Your Organization TODAY

by Nellie

 

I am so excited to have Tara from FamilySportLife.net guest post for me while I am away! She is one of my absolute favorite bloggers and she has the organizational skills that I covet. She is sharing some of her organization tips with us today and I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

5 Tips to Improve Your

I recognize that not everyone is has a passion for organization like I do.  It has been my experience that people fall on a spectrum at any given moment in their (busy) lives: Over Organized, Organized, Wannabe Organized, and Too Overwhelmed to be Organized.  Even I don’t live in the land of organization all the time.  My pattern often looks like this: Organized –> With a tendency to be Over Organized—>  At which point I throw my hands up in the air and fall into Too Overwhelmed.

EXCEPT I don’t stay in the land of  Overwhelmed for too long.  I have a number of processes in place to help me get out of overwhelm and quickly get back to a place of organization.

For me, organization goes hand-in-hand with not only productivity but SANITY!  Making organization a core value in my life helps me manage my time. There is nothing worse than having to search high and low for something.

Here are 5 Tips to Improve Your Organization Today!

1. Avoid Over Organizing: yes, it is possible to over organize.  Over organizing adds steps, time, thought, and space which minimize the efficacy of the organizational solution.  Over organizing makes it hard to maintain your process and maintenance is KEY. An example of OVER organization:

  • Closet Organization: Don’t you just love when your closet is color coordinated?  All like colors with like colors? NO! This is over organized.  It takes too much time to maintain color distinctions and to think through what to do with patterned tops, etc.  I realize some of you are gasping right now but I maintain a more simple approach works just fine.  Group like items in larger groups like pants, tops, jackets, etc. Leave the nuanced groups behind.

2. Don’t be a perfectionist: We all like when things look “just so”.  Getting things “just so” takes time.  Time that can be better spent doing something you love!

  • I have spent a lot of hours making sure my organizational components look design magazine worthy.  Not anymore.  Good and done is better than perfect and undone.  At some point we have to define the difference between organized, functional and productive for ourselves.

simplebaskets

Simple baskets – not design magazine worthy but functional and pretty enough!

3. Be Flexible: Finding an organizational solution that works for you may take some time.

  • You need to be flexible and open minded in your approach.  If something doesn’t work, don’t get defeated.    I have executed a number of organizational solutions which failed.  Reasons for their failure – they didn’t perform the way I expected, too hard to maintain, too complex for others to use. You name it.  If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew: We have all done this.  In a moment of disorganized hysteria, you decide everything is offending you so EVERYTHING needs to be addressed NOW.  You turn drawers, closets, bins, and baskets upside down.

Now what do you have?

A big overwhelming mess! You can’t see the organization through the piles of debris.  At this point you kick it off to the side and leave it for another day, maybe 6 months down the line.  Sound familiar?

Pick ONE project and execute it flawlessly from thought to finish.  Plan it out.  Mull it over.  Do some research. Research saves REWORK.  Then set aside 15 minutes a day to work on the project.  I am always amazed at what I can accomplished in 15 focused minutes.

5.KISS – Keep it Simple Sally: Keeping you organizational solutions have a number of benefits including:

  • Everyone in the house, in my case this includes outside caregivers and children, need to be able to understand, get “on-board” with, and execute the organizational strategy.  This is especially challenging with kids.
  • Use simple, easy to find items.
  • Simple solutions tend to be friendlier on your pocket book allowing you tackle a multitude of projects.  Like me, I am sure you have no shortage of nooks and crannies that require a keen eye (and a few dollars) to organize.

workspace

Some of my favorite SIMPLE organizational items are:

  • A black garbage bag – the best way to organize is to have LESS stuff.  Fill them up and set them off to donation!
  • Clipboards – stick a push pin in the wall to hang the clipboard on and you have a office solution for about a dollar (see above picture).
  • Baskets – baskets hide a multitude of sins and are easy for storing “like” items.

workspacebaskets
Where do you fall on the Spectrum of Organization? What are some of your favorite solutions?

Tara headshot 2Hi! My name is Tara and I am a Performance and Lifestyle Coach.  I help individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and athletes leverage key strengths to achieve greater success in their personal and professional lives.  My blog, Family Sport Life, focuses on personal leadership, productivity, organization, healthy living, parenting and triathlon.  I hold a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and 15+ years experience in Corporate Leadership Development.
I am a skilled life juggler, a mom to “The A Team”, and a proud Sherpa Wife to my husband (and co-author) John.  I am passionate about living an authentic life.  In addition, I enjoy running, reading, skiing, paddle boarding, travel, organizing pretty much everything, and game night with my family.
Tara blogs at  Family Sport Life.
You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, & Pinterest!

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21 comments

Kristina Walters August 28, 2014 - 5:35 am

I admit that I am terrible with this. I try to be organized but I think the problem is too much stuff. I will have to take your advice and get rid of the clutter.

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Carla August 28, 2014 - 7:42 am

ahhh me too.
I need less stuff.
FAR LESS.

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Tara Newman August 28, 2014 - 7:58 am

You can do it Carla! Once you take some baby steps it becomes so much easier. Think about how much time you spend managing your stuff – what to do with it? moving it around? feeling weighed down by it? organizing it?

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Janine Huldie August 28, 2014 - 7:15 am

Tara, I need to thank you a ton, because all your tips recently, I have been storing up to use and will admit while I am not the best organize person I am trying to slowly change my ways and even yesterday I bought a larger pocketed folder to put all the important school papers for the girls in. I sat last night and organized it all so far. And at the very least feel a bit less anxious about next week, because of this. Thanks so much for sharing and seriously appreciate it!! 🙂

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Janine Huldie August 28, 2014 - 8:09 am

I totally do Tara and I love the timer idea. Seriously, I could get lost doing some of those mundane things and the timer would surely help me not to!!

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Tina Muir August 28, 2014 - 7:24 am

I can definitely see why you would want Tara to write a guest post on organization, she is the queen of getting it right. I always look to you Tara! I definitely agree there can be over organization….and biting off too much, I have been there a lot recently. Learning curve right? Thankfully right now I have quite a bit of time to just run, and organize, so I can do all this, but someday soon I will have a job, so it hopefully will be mostly done by then! Oh, and hi nellie 🙂 Nice to “meet” you!

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Tara Newman August 28, 2014 - 2:11 pm

Running totally helps me organize! Right? I think when we live with passion we will inherently bite off more than we can chew but as long as we have a process for self-reflection it will all sort itself out.

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Carly August 28, 2014 - 8:56 am

I think I fall into Wannabe Organizer. I am paralyzed by the amount of time I think it will take to tackle it all. I know I need to do a massive purge soon – living in a small Brooklyn apartment means purging is a MUST. Ps: I love that your coffee cup snuck into more than one of your photos! 😉

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Tamara August 28, 2014 - 11:10 am

I think we have two ends of the spectrum at my house – one extreme is Cassidy who would throw out his own wallet. The other is me – not quite a hoarder, but I do like to save greeting cards, which he doesn’t understand.
Because we have a thousand of them…

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Ana Lynn August 28, 2014 - 1:14 pm

Your approach is similar to mine! I really do like organizing and I use to tell my husband that if I didn’t do what I do I would be happy as pig in mud to be in a space that needs organizing! I wonder if I could add that to my job description lol!

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Tara Newman August 28, 2014 - 2:17 pm

I freely admit it is my coping mechanism for dealing with my anxiety :-). Feels like therapy every time I clear something out, group like items, put it in a space and wrap a bow on it (not literally).

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Britt August 28, 2014 - 2:29 pm

#4 is me! I did the color coordinated thing once and it lasted less than a week. I have a sorta of organization thing going on (dresses on one rack, work clothes on another, summer and winter casual clothes in another closet) and it works for me!

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Katie August 28, 2014 - 3:42 pm

I never realized how counterproductive being OVER organized can be, but it makes total sense! While I’m not over organized in my home, I do think I’m over organized with my lists, schedules, and to-dos. Sometimes I spend so much time making my lists, only to realize I could have gotten 1-2 things crossed off in that same amount of time.

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Kim August 28, 2014 - 3:58 pm

I really do think that we might be long lost sisters!!! I love things organized and in place – these days I don’t have as many systems but the ones I have help keep life a bit more stream lined!!!
Love all your tips and the pictures!!!

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Sarah August 28, 2014 - 4:29 pm

With my recent move, I am forcing myself to get more organized. Everything has to find a home, PERIOD. If that means things that we don’t use that often stay in boxes a little while longer, so be it. We still don’t have flooring down in our new basement so that is stalling out the unpacking process a bit, but it’s definitely motivating me to get to work and get that flooring done!

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Allie August 28, 2014 - 4:32 pm

Tara – you are like my angel this week! Seriously so many great ideas starting with not be overly organized or needing to be “magazine worthy.” Life is messy and my house reflects some of that! Baskets? Hell yes. Everywhere and to hide a multitude of things. I absolutely love the clipboard idea (needed asap!) and I have the exact same wipe-board/calendar Pottery Barn organizational wall hang but it’s in my mud room where everyone can see it. Really great stuff here. So glad Nellie as you to do this!

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Leslie August 28, 2014 - 11:41 pm

Oh, organization. I always long to get organized, but have never quite figured out a system that works well. And unfortunately, I spend far too long in the land of the overwhelmed. One of the few things that I’ve definitely found that works for us with the kids is to make use of those inexpensive fabric bins. They look nice and hide the clutter. I don’t care if the toys inside them are organized, as long as they’re in the bins and not cluttering up the rest of the house!

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Charlotte August 29, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Uhm, thank you so much for this. I have a habit of either falling short on the organization spectrum or being TOO organized and that’s no good either. And no good comes from organizing your clothes by color–I’ve learned this the hard way, too 🙂 Thanks for these great tips–love the pictures (and the clipboards tacked to the wall, CUTE!).

Have a great (LONG!) weekend 🙂

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Michelle August 31, 2014 - 6:37 pm

Where do I fall? Not in a very good spot, I’m afraid. I have a lot of work to do. Great advice, as always Tara!

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Andrea September 2, 2014 - 1:58 am

I am notorious for doing #4. I’ll take everything out of the draws with the intention of reorganizing or doing a bit of spring cleaning. I’ll look around at the mess and end up throwing more than half of the clothes back in the drawers unfolded. A mess.

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Lori Hil September 2, 2014 - 10:12 am

Great tips! I definitely need to let go of perfection for organizational sanity! Flexibility is key for me, as I tend to want things just so. You can spend far too much time “perfecting” rather than actually getting stuff done! Thanks for sharing !

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