5 Simple Tricks to Organize Your Life

5 Simple Tricks to Organize Your Life

Is getting organized one of your New Year’s Resolutions? Was it one of your resolutions last year too? Are you tired of missing important deadlines and meetings, constantly losing your car keys and just generally feeling overwhelmed by the chaos?

You’ve come to the right place. While getting organized is a process–I’m not going to sugar coat it: it isn’t going to happen overnight–here are five simple tricks to set you on the path to an organized life.

Some of these are going to be simple—and some are habits that will take you some time and effort to master, but none of them are difficult. These really are simple tricks that will help you organize your life and banish the chaos for good. As for the car keys, well, we can try. . .

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Whether it’s the end of your work day, or the end of your day at home, take 15 minutes to review your calendar and your to-do list and plan out the next day before you call it a night. Knowing the night before what to expect for tomorrow—and prepping for it—will help you stay on top of meetings, deadlines and other important events.

Make ONE to-do list

Instead of having lists here there and everywhere—or no list at all—make one master list to keep track of all your projects, assignments, to-do’s and meetings. By keeping everything in one place, it will be easier to see what you need to do and when.

organize your life

Clean Up As You Go

Learn to pick up after yourself as you go along. Whether it’s putting dirty clothes in the hamper when you take them off or not leaving your dirty dishes in the sink hoping they will magically make their way to the dishwasher developing the touch-it-once habit will save you time and make your life much easier. Applying this habit to the kitchen, the laundry, and eventually to the rest of your life—eliminates messy piles and clutter all over your home

clean up after yourself

Open the Mail When it Comes

Whether at home or at the office, get in the habit of opening your mail when it arrives. Open every envelope and make a decision about its future on the spot. A “deal with it later” pile is not one of the decisions. I sort my mail into bills to pay, correspondence to respond to, and trash. Just think—no more late bill payments, overlooked invitations, and most importantly not missing that winning sweepstakes entry (yep, I nearly missed a prize notice once because I tossed it in the junk mail pile to deal with later).

Create Routines

Are your mornings a frantic rush as you try to get everything together and get everyone out the door on time? Create morning and evening routines that will help you unwind at night before bed and get going and out the door in the morning without having to think about it and without the stress. With school-age children, we made lunches at night after dinner, made sure homework was completed and in the appropriate backpack, and then took care of evening hygiene routines.  Having all these things done the night before made morning that much less stressful.

Your morning routine might include breakfast, working out and starting laundry or that night’s dinner. Give some thought to what needs to happen in the morning to get your day off to a good start and develop a routine around it, being sure to give yourself enough time to get it done.

Once you’ve incorporated these 5 simple tricks into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the organized life. I’d love to hear how these are working for you—and what other organizing challenges you want to master this year. Leave me your feedback and questions in the comment section below.

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  1. All super tips. When it comes to mail, I open mine over the recycle bin, which is outside my front door. Extra envelopes, fillers, etc., never even make it in the house. Great stuff!

  2. Funny I seem to follow your list but I don’t think I’m organised. I just think its a habit I got into to make my life easier. Guess its the same thing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Marie Leslie says:

      Funny how we’re so much better at things than we think we are, isn’t it? I think sometimes we get too hung up on those perfect magazine photos and that really isn’t what being organized is all about. It’s the making life easier (not prettier) that is the purpose of being organized.

  3. Marie, I am an organizer neat freak and so much so, it can be exhausting. My lists even have lists. I think it is healthy to have a few but when it is time to get to business.. have one list that you are working from or you will never get anything done. Love the suggestions.

  4. I wouldn’t describe myself as an organized person yet all your steps are my habits. Somewhere along the line, I had to have learned they would make my day, my life easier. Given I was a full-time career working mom & P/t for hubby & active in my community, I think I had to learn how to plan, juggle, get things done efficiently, delegate & enjoy life.

    1. Marie Leslie says:

      Being organized is all about whatever makes your life easier. Too many people confuse organization with cute matching containers and neatly labeled spice jars (I have neither–but I am amazingly organized). My organizing philosophy is that there is no one right way–it’s all about what works for you. Sounds to me like you have found that perfectly.

  5. Ariana Fernandez says:

    Marie- you had me at Clean as you go!! Ugh for real.. I am a mess. To many thoughts in too many places and I’ll do it later is code for do it never or in a week. and the lists everywhere is so me. I thought my mess was part of my charm maybe not lol

    1. Marie Leslie says:

      You are so not alone, Ariana. It can be a challenge–and it is for most people. Just pick one thing that drives you nuts and you’d like to improve and focus on that. And when you’ve mastered that, you can go on to the next one, if it’s going to make your life better and easier.

  6. Sometimes the simplest things are the most helpful things. Great list! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Some great ideas. I think that some people are naturally organized and others just aren’t. (I am.) This is good news for those who make their living organizing others (which I used to do as an admin). Getting organized and staying organized are two very different things. Your suggestions should help many stay organized.

  8. Looks like I do follow these suggestions fairly well! One problem. The touch it once is a good plan but not if you have kids – young or adult (which I have 2 returned home adult kids with me). They don’t have the habit like I have – and almost trained my husband into, hehe. Yes, the clean as you go, is a great tip! I know it works in the kitchen, but I need to be aware of it working in other areas too!

    1. Marie Leslie says:

      That training is an ongoing process for sure, Cheryl, whether it’s ourselves, our spouses or our kids. Mine aren’t great at it either, but I’ve learned to keep my area decluttered by delivering their clutter to their rooms where it ceases to be my problem and gets to be theirs. But–they are getting better at it.

  9. Routines and systems are something I’m investing in this year. As an entrepreneur for over 10 years, I’ve gotten away from them a bit — allowing a bit too much “freedom” in my life and biz. Structure is a good thing –which I forgot.


  10. Love this post! It’s what I tell people so it’s nice to see someone else saying too.

  11. I have got to be the most disorganised person on the planet. Heck, I don’t even get to sleep when I plan to! I get tired at night, then try to do just that little bit more, and then I’m wide awake for the rest of the night. Putting stuff in the dishwasher usually means having to empty it first, too. LOL.

    1. Marie Leslie says:

      That dishwasher thing happens a lot at our house too. Sometimes I think I must be the only one in this family who knows how to run a dishwasher. Just keep at it, Jeanne, and you’ll make progress. Being organized doesn’t happen overnight no matter what those articles in the home magazines make you think.

  12. I agree with your post 100%. I am an organizational ninja! Its what keeps me sane. Thank you for the tips and re-enforcement of good habits.