Do you love lists? I know I do. Do you get excited when you’ve done some wonderful feat of organization? Do you wish you were more organized? Do you wish you knew where to start? Well don’t worry, I’m here to help.
While I may not be one of those “everything has its place,” color-coded file labels, never experienced dust in my life type people, I enjoy organization. Filing cabinets are fun. PLANNERS. I like being prepared. So here’s some of the ways I have found (as an early 20-something) to get organized.
First, Make a List
To-do lists are a (wo)man’s greatest friend. They help you get organized. They let you point to something physical and go “look, look, I’m organized!” And the best part of lists is that when you finish something, YOU GET TO CROSS IT OFF. There’s no greater feeling of satisfaction in this world. And for bonus points, on days when you’re really just not doing much, put things like “shower” or “eat” or “call mom” on the list for an easy cross of bonus.
Get a planner.
I personally make my planners. Mostly because I’m a control freak, and very, very picky about my planners. But you can buy planners instore that work just as well. My personal recomendations for store bought would be The Moleskine 12 Month Planner, or the Planner Greenroom Eco from Target. I’ve used both, and they’re wonderful.
I used wall calendars in conjunction with my planners, mostly because I’m not always looking at the month views, and it’s nice to have a second reminder of big, huge, important dates. The great thing about wall calendars is that they’re all the same. Freshman year I had an awesome Audrey Hepburn wall calendar that I later tore the pages out of for wall decorations. Now-a-days I actually just make my own wall calendars using Word and print them out. But that’s because I’m a control freak. For example, here’s the one I made for September, using a design that I found on Tumblr of all places.
Actually Use Them.
This seems like a no brainer, but all this fancy organization means nothing without actually using it. Once you do, I promise that your life will change. Your friends will comment on your snazzy organization. Strangers will come up to you on the street and bless your list-making abilities. You’ll be glad you use it.
Find Something to Organize Your Computer.
I use Evernote– and I ADORE it. Most people use it for their phone, but I actually use it almost exclusively as a computer app. Unfortunately, you can only use it on your computer if you have a MacBook (sorry PC’s) but since getting the Evernote app, I’m in love. The web clipper is probably my favorite function of Evernote, as it lets me save pages to use later, and gives you a visual screencap, instead of cluttering your dash with bookmarks. Also, it functions on a “notebook”
process, allowing you create different files for your information, but they call them notebooks. Apparently I’m really easy to please. The thing I love about it is that while I don’t use it much on my phone, whenever I’m out an about and need the information that I’ve saved from my computer, it syncs perfectly to my phone and I’m able to pull it up. Love.
Okay, not really. But I’ve personally found that when stressed or having a bad day or freaking out or angry, cleaning and organizing is a GREAT way to get all that energy and stress out. That might just be me- but seriously, try it some time. You get the energy out, you get to do something productive, and when it’s done, you feel like your stress and freak outs have actually produced something useful. Your life may be falling apart, but at least all of your socks are now color coded and rolled into perfection. In my dorm last year, you could always tell when someone was stressed, because you would come home and the whole bathroom would be immaculate. But maybe stress isn’t your motivation- maybe it’s something else. Find that motivation, and use it!
I know that chalkboard paint on everything and 10-million color coded labels seem like a great idea. But chalk is messy and you’re going to forget what each of those colors means. You can be organized without having every single thing in place. You can have a disasterously messy house and still be organized. It’s just a state of mind. It’s not determined by how much chalkboard paint you have sitting in your shed.
Photo by Nico Nordström
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