Discovering early in the New Year that January is Get Organized Month in the U.S., where I’m currently residing, could serve as the impetus for me to do just that. And I intended to. But procrastination prevailed until month’s end, even about writing this post on the value of organization.
Many friends and my siblings might question the need for me to get organized, saying I’m compulsively well-organized. In certain aspects of life, that’s true. Glen and I have yet to take a holiday, for example, in which I haven’t outlined our actions almost to the hour, especially on short ones such as our recent sojourn to San Diego. We bought tickets in advance for the Hop On, Hop Off Trolley tour and, of ten possible stops to explore, I identified our top four. Given time constraints, we only managed three (I can be flexible). But they satisfied our sightseeing that day.
I also book cultural events far ahead of the occasion and purchase the tickets accordingly. If we cannot go on the appointed day, we simply chalk up our unused tickets as support of the arts. iCalendar governs my schedule 24-7; I recall birthdays, anniversaries and my activities over the years simply by checking it.
In addition to organizing time, however, we also need to organize stuff. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I cleared kitchen cupboards of expired spices and condiments. Or bathroom cabinets of odds and ends. How about bedroom closets of unworn clothes? A tip for that particular challenge: begin the year with all hangers facing in the same direction. As you wear an item, hang it up the opposite way. After a year you’ll know which clothes you’ve not worn. After two years it may be time to stop by a donation bin. In general, attempt one room — or a part of it — at a time, trying to make big projects small.
Digital life also requires our attention. Apparently digital clutter causes more stress than messy spaces. My email inbox comes to mind with its unanswered messages and accumulation of unread e-newspaper subscriptions. Choose one digital area — email, photos, social media, files — and devise a system to stay organized. Tackle the others individually after that.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIZATION
- Increased energy. It can be tiring to deal with disorganization or clutter on our desks, in our homes, on our computers and in our heads. Organization creates clarity, which can increase our energy.
- Reduced stress. Less mess equals less stress. It’s that simple. To help defuse stressful situations, bring order to our lives.
- Healthy eating. Planning meals in advance and loading the menus with nutritious foods will lead to healthy eating. In keeping with my Mom’s tradition, Saturday night equals burger night — with a difference from the ’60s. Now we savour four ounces of grass-fed beef with no preservatives, no added hormones or antibiotics, served on a whole wheat bun. The burgers are also gluten-free! Not necessarily for religious reasons but fish Fridays also serve us well. Opting for the convenience of packaged and fast foods does our bodies little good.
- Finely focused. Being organized allows us to focus our minds on and take the right decisions about whatever might make us happy and result in our success.
- Improved fitness. Scheduling fitness activities — preferably involving at least one companion so we don’t cancel — boosts our well-being immeasurably.
We must allocate time regularly, not just in January, to organize the areas of our lives that need it. After all, organization is an ongoing process, a journey not a destination. •
P.S. I wonder what the month of February holds in store for us?