You might not be able to feel completely organized every minute of every day. But by forming good organizational habits and establishing a solid daily routine, you can definitely feel organized most of the time.
Here are 10 ways to improve your daily organization habits.
Leave Your Keys and Phone in the Same Spot
Leave your keys, wallet, cellphone, headphones, and other such accessories you carry daily in the same place every single time you walk through the door. Have a spot in your entryway for these items, so you are never running around late, wondering where your keys and phone are hiding.
Buy or repurpose something decorative to hold your “smalls” (e.g., keys and phone). Items such as an entrance table or wall-mounted key organizer are great for storage.
Create a To-Do List
Make a new to-do list every day based on the previous day’s list and anything that came up since the last list was created. Even if you’re not a big list maker and only jot down the big projects, look at it every day and cross off what you’ve completed (or what you’ve deemed no longer relevant). Not only will this help keep you on top of your tasks, but it will also make you feel productive when you cross off that item after it’s been completed.
Make your to-do list at either the beginning or end of the day. Mid-day is too late for the current day and often too early to have a real sense of the following day.
Check Your Bank Balance Online
Do a quick scan of your checking and savings accounts. Keeping an eye on your financial accounts allows you to see what you spent the previous day, so spending doesn’t get out of control. It also allows you to notice fraudulent charges as soon as they happen. Plus, looking at your savings puts you in the right frame of mind each morning to continue saving.
Carry a Small Notepad
A pocket-size notebook is essential to an organized life. Use this to write down items for your shopping list, errands, to-dos, and random thoughts, and carry it with you everywhere you go. It is endlessly portable, is user-friendly, and never needs recharging. You never know when you’ll need to quickly jot something down, such as upcoming events or shopping lists.
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Declutter Your Wallet
Organizing your wallet is one of the quickest and easiest organizing projects to instill as a daily habit. Tackle this one whenever you have some downtime—like sitting on a train or in front of the TV on a weeknight.
Declutter your wallet by first filing away any receipts you need to hang onto and then shredding and recycling the rest. Then, go through your cadre of rewards cards, making sure the ones you use the most are front and center. Don’t forget to remove any loose change and store it in a jar or other designated container in your home. There’s no need to carry around the extra weight.
Spend 3 to 5 Minutes on Your Meal Plan
Check with your meal plan either every single day or every few days to make sure you’re still on track. Daily is best because then it becomes a habit, and you can update it as necessary while you also look at your calendar.
Daily meal planning to-dos include checking out any meals you know you’ll need to make and adding the items to your shopping list. Then, cross items off your list you’ve already purchased. Finally, schedule time to grocery shop and cook.
Lay Out Your Clothing for the Next Day
Laying things out beforehand makes you feel more orderly and efficient. There is no time that is more critical than in the morning when you’re rushing to get yourself (and possibly others) ready for school or work.
That’s why we recommend laying your clothing out the night before. It saves you time in the morning from staring into your closet wondering what you should wear. Once you get into the habit of prepping things before you need them, you’ll never go back.
Prep the Launch Pad
Much like laying out your clothes, prepping your foyer or launchpad area is going to make you feel good about getting out the door quickly the next morning.
How you prep your launchpad will depend on your life and schedule. Maybe you need to lay out the ingredients for breakfast and lunch. Or you need to repack and refresh gym bags, work bags, and school bags. Check the weather report and locate umbrellas if necessary. The more you can do in the quiet evening hours, the less hectic your morning will be on the way to work and school.
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Follow a Routine
Have a plan of what you need to get done and when you’re going to check those action items off your to-do list. Sticking to a routine helps to automate tasks that need to get done —whether you dread them or not—because doing something every single day will make your brain happy and help to create good habits.
Try this out by making a general plan for your day, and stick to it for a week.
Do the Dishes
Many people will tell you to make your bed every morning to start your day off right. And you should—this can help set a positive tone for the day.
There’s another way for you to feel more organized and less cluttered: Do the dishes. If you cook most weeknights, make sure the dishes are done every night before you go to bed.
How organized are you? Take our short personality quiz to find out how organized you really are plus get tips for better organization.