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13 Ways to Simplify, Organize and Relax
Misplaced your car keys again? Trying to remember where you filed those tax papers? You’re not searching alone. Most of us spend a combined total of two hours every week hunting for lost items. That’s a full workday each month! Leading an organized life doesn’t have to be time-consuming. In fact, organized homes and workspaces can save you time and money. Plus, taking control of your world positively impacts your overall health: The stress of a disorderly life can compromise your immune system making you more susceptible to colds and even more serious health woes. Looking to put a little order back into your life? Follow these simple steps.
• Think small. Spend 20 minutes a day (or more if you can find the time) sorting a room or section of a room.
• Keep one, toss two (or more). Use separate trash bags or storage containers to separately hold items to toss, donate or look through later. Then make sure the trash and donation bags make it to their respective destinations.
• Hang it up. When you wear an article of clothing, put it back in your closet with the hanger facing toward you. After 6 months, part with the clothes that are on hangers still facing the wall.
• Manage mail daily. Establish a top priority folder or in-basket for bills; a low priority area for fun stuff like magazines; and a recycle box to toss things that don’t interest you.
• Cut down on clutter. Use a large accordion-file folder or 3-ring binder to separate and store bank and credit card statements, bills, tax documents, and insurance papers. Use another one for appliance instruction manuals, warranty papers and rebate information.
• Keep a clean workspace. Allocate 15 minutes every day (preferably, at the same time each day until it becomes routine) to tossing, filing and taking action on paperwork and emails.
• Create a master list. List daily to-dos (no more than 10) according to priority and break down big projects into smaller, more manageable action items.
• Use a reference tool. Calendars, day planners, or even your phone can help keep track of important meetings and deadlines.
• Organize online. Sort emails into subfolders for easy retrieval and consider using a search toolbar to help locate documents.
• Tame the to-dos. Each night, prioritize your list of to-dos for the next day. Check off items as you complete them.
• Combine errands. Save time and gas by starting with the errand farthest away and then working your way back home.
• Don’t work alone. Kids (and spouses) can – and should – help! Put them to work emptying dishwashers, sorting and putting away clothes, taking care of the pets and helping out on errands.
• Enjoy yourself. Sandwich small rewards after you complete each big task. Just organized a closet? Enjoy an iced tea while sitting on the porch or read 15 minutes of a novel.