The truth about organizing

When you hear the word ‘organize’ do you immediately think of all the things in your life that need to be done? Do you think about the clutter on your desk, the errands you have to run this week or the project you were supposed to tackle a month ago?

Most people do. Organizing is stressed in our society because we are pushed to multitask, to abide a strict schedule and to complete things in a timely matter. While there is nothing wrong with this, it isn’t always feasible.

Life gets in the way: we need moments to breathe, relax and just be. We don’t always want to live by a pre-prescribed schedule. Some of the best things happen unexpectedly. We need to break free of routines in order to feel rejuvenated, otherwise we get stale and bitter.

So how do you find a balance between scripted and unscripted living?

I have the answer, but it might scare you: no. There is no way to find a perfect balance.

No matter what you do, no matter how much you plan, you are not in control of everything. Did you schedule it to rain today? Did you schedule a toothache, headache or stomachache? I doubt it.

There’s always going to be something that stops you from having under control. I’m not saying that’s an easy thing to accept or that you shouldn’t try. However, it is something you have to learn.

I struggle with it every day. I try to control how my day goes by setting goals and writing things down in a planner. Does it help? Yes, but eight times out of ten things don’t go that smoothly. Things I don’t plan – illnesses, emergencies, unexpected visits and things I want to do – get in the way of what I need to do.

That’s just human nature. However, while you can never have full control over everything (unless you play the Sims) you certainly have the ability to set standards for yourself.

Organizing made simple

Here are some simple, but effective, ways to organize your time:

  • Buy a planner that you like (I prefer pretty ones and got mine for cheap at Barnes and Noble) and keep track of important dates. Write down birthdays, due dates, and deadlines. Some planners offer a section in the back where you can write notes. I use this area for numbers I should memorize and passwords I shouldn’t forget. Set goals for yourself and write them down in your planner on the days you want them accomplished by.
  • Buy a calendar that you like and hang it in your room. Similar to a planner, you can write down important events on here so you will always have a visual for when you don’t feel like taking out your planner.
  • Invest in a nice set of sticky notes. Mine have flowers, plants and birds on them. This comes in handy in case you have to quickly jot something down or leave a message for someone.
  • Clear the clutter in your room and work space as best you can. Start by taking everything off your flat surfaces and cleaning it off with a re-usable cloth and some (preferably) eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Then look at what you took off your desk and go through it. Really think about what you need, what you want and what you actually use. Are you holding onto something just because you’ve always had it on your desk? If it’s just taking up space then it’s time to get rid of it. Start placing things back and re-arrange them in a way that pleases your eye. You’ll feel so much better afterwards.
These tips can’t guarantee your plans won’t get interrupted. However, maybe they’ll help you gather your thoughts better so that when interruptions do occur, you’ll be prepared.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


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