A quote to get us started.
“…in a closed system, no processes will tend to occur that increase the net organization (or decrease the net entropy) of the system”. This is the second law of thermodynamics.
In layman’s terms, it means life moves towards disorder, not order. The second law of thermodynamics holds very true. You get older, not younger. You can’t unscramble an egg. Your home gets dirty, not clean, unless you balance the chaos with order, i.e. consistent efforts to keep things organized.
So, how can you get organized and stay organized if disorder is pretty much inevitable?
To begin getting organized, first you want to throw a hurricane at whatever the area is that’s disorganized. You want to empty everything out, clear all shelves, chuck the calendar and get a new one. What often happened when you were a child and asked to clean your room? Maybe you lost your dessert because you refused, or your room became a large mess. When your parent came back, your om looked much worse. Why? Because you needed to start over. These strategies are the same thing, except you can use them for closets, your desk, everything under your bed, and your life, in general. By clearing everything out you can see what you have, what you need, and what you don’t need.
Go through everything and write each item on a piece of paper or put it on a computer file. During this process, you don’t have to categorize anything or sort any piles. This inventory will just uncover what you already have.
After the inventory is complete, which may take a couple of hours depending on how much you have, now it’s time to look at what you don’t need. You’ll want to begin to reorganize anything after excluding things you don’t need. If you keep these things, you’ll need to reorganize more often, which will waste your time. Only keep items you absolutely need. If you struggle throwing away items, you’ll want to start very small. Many times, these items will hold sentimental value, which can hamper your ability to get rid of them. If something is a family heirloom, keep just one of each. You don’t have to keep every family heirloom. For items that signify important events, you can take a picture of these, keep a few, and get rid of the others.
Here are some basic criteria you can use to see what you need or don’t need. If you are organizing your desk you’ll want to get rid of anything that you haven’t used or modified in a month and that won’t be needed in the coming month. This can also go for your closet, bedroom, or car that’s cluttered. For instance, if you are organizing your clothes you’ll want to get rid of anything that you won’t use again or that isn’t in good condition. If there are rips or stains, the item has fulfilled its purpose.
After you’ve gotten rid of all the things you don’t need, categorization is needed to organize in a strategic fashion. Before you start organizing anything, you’ll want to plan out where you want to put it. You can you use this categorization method for both your things and your life. For instance, if you are cleaning your house you can group different items together and also group errands by location. By having everything planned before you go out this will greatly reduce the time it takes you to finish things and leave more time for you to do the things you want.
So, coming back to your things that need to be organized, you’ll want to group like things together and place these items in areas where they are easily accessible. While your toothbrush and toothpaste should be on top of the bathroom sink, shampoos and lotions can go under the cabinet. Bins are another great way to organize your items. You can group them by color, size, shape or make up a system that’s easy to follow when you need something.
Now, there is a philosophy called minimalism which cautions against storage bins. Minimalists feel that bins are just another way to keep things that you may not need. With minimalism, you only keep things you absolutely need and nothing more. One person, one towel. Two people, two cups. Some minimalists live with less than 30 items. They swear this lifestyle gives them happiness, freedom, and a lot less worries. But, you may not want to become a minimalist, and you don’t have to. With these strategies your home can become a lot more manageable.
Now that you’re planning is all done, you’ll want to start putting your items into their new places. Group things by function, alphabetical order, or priority. If you are clearing out your calendar, you can color-code or put shapes to organize yourself. If your desk is the focus of your organizational expedition, you can alphabetize or organize in a clockwise order. Scheduling your errands at a certain time on a certain day is another great way to become more efficient and have more time for the things you enjoy.
Whatever method works for you and is the easiest, is the method you should choose. This will help you stay organized.
A final tip: Put things back where they belong as soon as you are done using them. This will keep the clutter from returning.
Getting and staying organized is a great benefit for your life. It reduces the time of looking for things have not been able to find them. After you’ve done all this work, you’’ll want to maintain this organizational system through returning things to their places.