Did you know that apparently the average American spends 55 minutes per day looking for lost stuff at home?
I didn’t either, until now. And, well …damn.
Do this math: that’s almost six and a half hours per week, 28.5 hours per month and a little more than 14 days per year spent seeking out misplaced items!
Beyond being simply a huge waste of time, trying to find things like keys or papers or (you name it, the list goes on), it can make you late, or even make you miss out on other things that could be filling your time.
… I mean, in reality, you could have spent 20 minutes getting in a bomb HIIT session, right?
Not to mention, it also seems being disorganized is a waste of money. Seriously — late fees, replacing lost items [Americans as a whole spend $2.7 BILLION per year purchasing replacements for things they already have!] and paying premium prices for last-minute purchases all cost you a lot!
Beyond the wasting of the precious resources of time, money and food, disorganization also causes stress. The visual stimulus of a disorganized home tells our brains that there is always more work to do, which prevents relaxation and focus, and can cause anxiety and guilt.
The list of reasons that personal and home organization should take priority goes on and on, but ultimately: messes make for waste; waste makes for chaos; chaos hinders productivity.
So let’s just start by focusing on organizing just one element of our lives: our homes.
Home organization is a process. And like any other process or structure that is hard to create and stick to [ahem, like waking up early], it is worthwhile and will reap badass benefits.
Here’s how to start cleaning up the chaos, preventing unnecessary purchases and improving efficiency, punctuality and peace of mind.
Clear Up, Clear Out
The one and only Marie Kondo, author of Tidying Up and host of the Netflix series of the same name, suggests that you start with a goal: define why and what you need to clean up. From there, organize your chaos into categories [i.e., clothing, office supplies, etc.] and then determine the joy each item brings to you. If none, you discard the item. For those things that make you happy, you keep — and then find a specific place for each one in your home. When that object is not being used, it remains in its place.
Start Small, Start Anywhere
You don’t need to wait until you have an entirely free week or weekend so that you can tackle every corner of your house all at once.
“Start small, nook by nook, cupboard by cupboard,” says professional home organization coach Alejandra Costello. Is your junk drawer overly junked up? Clean it out. Move through your kitchen one space at a time, rather than looking at the whole room as a must-do all at once.
Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, co-founders of The Neat Method – a home organizational group that comes in to help you, well, organize your home – offer this: before heading to bed each night, take five minutes to “wrap things up.”
No need to be crazy about it, just simply empty out your sink, tidy up your desk and/or clear off your counters. Not only will this set up your next day to begin with a truly fresh and clean slate, but you’ll learn to enjoy the visual clarity this offers and want to begin extending this peaceful aesthetic to other elements of your home.
Organize for Weight Management or Loss
You read that right. Organizational expert and author Peter Walsh found a connection between healthier living and being organized.
His clients shared that a healthier overall lifestyle resulted from becoming more organized, and vice versa. On the heels of that information, Walsh suggests eating dinner together as a family. Sitting down to a structured meal at a structured time is a positive process that extends to both home organizational and health-based efforts.
Regardless of which room in your home you’re trying to organize, create stations. Or, what professional organizer Vicki Norris calls, “activity areas.” In the office, for example, you need three areas: a work center (where you actually perform work), reference center (where you hold your books, manuals and other professional materials) and supply center (where you store supplies).
One last bit of advice Norris offers is to take inventory and measurements before purchasing any organizational tools. Clean out a space, figure out what tools will best serve your organizational needs and, if it’s a permanent fixture you need, make sure to measure the space it will fill – an organized approach to, well, organizing.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to Feng Shui your entire home as fast as possible, but as you can see, little things can make a big difference when it comes to organizing (after all, who knew it could actually benefit biological health?). Try a few of these tips and see how you feel, and if your time frees up!