The Organized Mindset: How to Stay Organized in 5 Steps

Recently, over at the Clutter Diet, Lorie Marrero had this to say:

People always ask me this question: “If there were just one small step I could take to get more organized that would have the most impact, what would it be?”

Often people are looking for a “tip” or some kind of expert trick, but my most authentic and accurate answer is to change your mindset.

I agree entirely. Change your mindset and you can stay organized. Many organizational “tips” are just about how store all of your stuff, or how to get rid of stuff – or how to psychoanalyze yourself and correct your organizational failings by psychotherapy. I believe that the most practical is the down-to-earth daily habit changes that will get you organized and keep you organized.

However, in her article, Lorie’s choices just don’t mesh for me; I’ve some of my own ideas. Also, these are not just ideas – but mottos to remember and apply. See if these don’t change your life:

One in, one out. We “collect” stuff; as long as more stuff is coming in than going out, we’ll keep gaining more stuff. To reduce, make it one in, six out…

“Where will I look for this the next time I need it?” If you apply this regularly, you will start finding things instead of looking for things. Every time you put something away, think of this question – and apply it.

Every time you leave a room, take something with you. This will whittle away at the dirty stuff in a room. Don’t leave a room empty-handed.

If it’ll take less than six minutes, do it now. David Allen’s GTD has the same rule, but he uses two minutes instead. Either way, this will whittle away at your to do list.

If you haven’t used it in six months, toss it out! If you haven’t used something for that long, when will you use it? You’ve not missed it, and you’ve not used it. So go ahead and toss it out or give it to good will.

If you start to indoctrinate yourself with these mottos, and apply them in your daily activities, the organization in your life will reach new heights.

For further steps in organizing, I recommend Organizing Your Life and Getting Rid of Clutter (by Carla Wolfe and DeLynn Copely) and Sink Reflections (by Maria Cilley). Both of these are very practical guides to daily organization; adopting their methods will help you stay organized.

3 thoughts on “The Organized Mindset: How to Stay Organized in 5 Steps”

  1. I con go with everything except the 6 month rule. Consider my lawn mower – I don’t use it from September through May, but absolutely need it for the remaining months. So maybe make that a 1 year rule to account for seasonal needs?

  2. Hello David, thanks for commenting on my post. I have written things like your list for years– tips and rules of thumb– I have a whole book and hundreds of articles of things like that. With my recent article I was trying to address the deeper beliefs that are rooted in the difficulties people have making these changes. The list I wrote has to do with what I have been personally saying to clients as they agonize over decisions for the last 10 years. I hope that makes more sense now that I have explained it.

    Cheers– Lorie

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