Growing up, my grandmother would always say to me, "everything has a place, and there is a place for everything." While that concept escaped me as a child, as an adult, it has become something I tell myself to stay motivated.
In a household with two adults, two children, two dogs, one fish, and countless friends and family members visiting - it is a constant job to stay organized and on task. I battle junk drawers, piles of laundry, and often get overwhelmed by the clutter.
I am not a naturally clean and tidy person, however, I know that the benefits of being organized far outweigh those of cluttered, disorganized life. When my home is neat and everything is organized and less chaotic, I have time to focus on what matters. If you are like me and struggle to keep your life organized, here are some of the benefits of being organized that I have found work for me.
When I last visited my sister, my three-year-old walked into her pantry, looked around her disorganized shelves, and loudly announced, "This room is crazy." I looked at my sister, and an unsaid communication passed between us: it was time to clean. Three hours later, the pantry was scrubbed, organized, and everything was labeled and in bins. During the cleaning process, we were amazed at the number of duplicates and expired foods she had stashed in the pantry.
After this deep cleanse, she could now see every item in her pantry. It removed the clutter of items on the shelves, and the next time she cooks a meal or wants to pick up a particular item at the store, she will be less prone to make those last-minute purchases that creep up at the grocery store. Knowing what you have in your refrigerator or pantry is one of the benefits of being organized. In fact, you should take regular inventory of your fridge and pantry so you know what you have or what you're missing.
Not only will your clean cabinets thank you - but your wallet will as well.
A cluttered house is a stressful house. According to this study, clutter problems decrease satisfaction with life among older adults, and evidence suggests clutter negatively impacts mental well-being - especially among women. Clutter is found to induce a physiological response, including increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Essentially: clutter causes stress. With all this science talk aside, let's focus on a real-life example of a clutter problem: The junk drawer.
In our home, a junk drawer is a place for lost things that always seem to magically find their way back. It is full of pen tops, important documents, single Barbie shoes, play cars, ponytail holders, and other miscellaneous items. Whenever I have the motivation to clean up the junk drawer, I immediately feel better. The clouds lift, the sun shines, and the junk drawer is now just a regular drawer again. This feeling can be applied to any room in your house.
While science continues to prove that clutter and disorganization cause stress - the benefits of being organized will counter that stress and reduce its impact. Even if you begin the decluttering process with something as small as a junk drawer, congratulate yourself on a job well done and move onto your next project. Tackling one cluttered area at a time can pave the way to an organized home faster than you know.
I'm not going to claim that a clean closet will reduce your cholesterol. However, one of the benefits of being organized is discovering a healthy lifestyle. When you are organized, meal-prepping helps you stay on track and stick to a schedule. When I do not meal plan for the week, I find that we end up eating junk food from the cabinets, or we just eat out. When I am prepared and know what I have stocked in the pantry and what my family's schedule looks like for the upcoming week - we eat healthier. Period.
When I began my transition to remote work, I had an office desk that was shared with my family. When I say shared, I mean that my children often threw their art supplies, toys, or cups all over my workspace. Coupled with my business paperwork, I was quickly overwhelmed by the amount of junk on my desk. I struggled to get work accomplished, and I had a hard time sitting and focusing until everything was out of the way.
It turns out that the added clutter was indeed hampering my productivity, and according to this case study, our brains like order. The constant visual reminders of disorder around us create a drain to our cognition and reduce our ability to focus. The study also found that when distractions were removed from work spaces, their productivity increased as people had an easier time concentrating and processing information. So banish the clutter and welcome that productivity!
I like it when friends and family pop over. While I know they would love me no matter what condition my home is in, I have found that when my house is tidy and organized, I am more comfortable with any unexpected company.
I believe my aunt uncovered this benefit of being organized a long time ago as she would tell me to "always keep your home company ready." While I try to follow this theory - I am not perfect with it. I live in a house with children, and not a museum, so I don't rush to hide its lived-in condition. However, when I keep my house company ready and try to have it regularly organized and tidy, I am okay with anyone stopping over because I know that they won't feel uncomfortable in my house.
As I write this article, I'm sensing a trending theme from my family around cleaning. It seems as if these little tidbits have withstood the test of time, and to this day, I practice what they preach. From my grandmother to my aunt, not only do I remember and follow their advice, but I strive to pass that on to my children as well. Messy closets or dumped out toy chest still exist within our home - but my children are gradually understanding the concept of how to clean and organize.
It is important to practice what you preach and I find that If I instruct my children to make their beds, I must also make my bed. If I want my children to be clean and tidy around the house, then it is part of my job to show them that example and give them the guidelines to follow. The benefits of being organized in their lives will provide them with an environment to grow and get messy - and the tools they need to clean up.
When your life is chaotic and disorganized, there is potential to spend so much time searching for particular items or cleaning up your home. At one point, my daughter told someone that my favorite activity was "cleaning." While she wasn't wrong, I realized that I spent so much time picking up items around my disorganized home that if I spent the extra time to get it organized and tidy, my daily cleaning time would be cut in half.
To my shock, it worked. It worked so well within my home (using boxes, bins, labels, etc) That I opted to apply this theory to my digital work-life. I started with digitizing documents laying around my home and created an organized space within my own hard drive. I also began to upload pictures, documents, and personal items into the digital family organizer, Rosy. This gave me the flexibility to share personal moments with family members while also keeping my files safe, secure, and organized. While I had never expected one of the benefits of an organization would infiltrate my digital life - I was thrilled it did. Not only do I benefit from a less chaotic house, but I can apply the same organization model to digital file and photo storage as well.
It is okay if cleaning and organizing do not come naturally to you. In fact, for many people, that is the case. There is a reason why cleaning and organization companies exist - maintaining a constant state of both of these can be challenging to obtain. While it can be a challenge - it is not impossible. It just takes motivation and planning to achieve the benefits of the organization. If you are not a naturally clean person and don't have a knack for organization, that is fine. I sure don't. There are plenty of resources to help kickstart your organization to get you started.
If anything, start small and work up to more significant projects. Step 1: clean your junk drawer. Step 2: plan your weekly meals. Step 3: spend some time with your family and enjoy life. You shouldn't be stressed and overwhelmed with keeping an organized home. Start small, and once you discover the benefits of organization and how your life will transform and simplify, it will get easier.
To learn more about how Rosy can help organize your digital life, sign up for our Waitlist at rosy.com/waitlist.
About the Author
Julie Simpson is a freelance writer and SEO consultant from Mobile, Alabama. She is also the mother of two girls that constantly keep her on her toes. You can see her work at spilledcoffeecontent.com.