How to Get Organized

an array of tools for how to get organized - a planner, notebooks, and pens on a desk.

Being an organized person isn’t just about decluttering your house or buying storage bins for your kitchen cabinets.

It’s about changing the way you approach things to be more intentional, more deliberate, and more mindful about your time, your limitations, and your potential.

Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks that can help anyone discover how to get organized.

Start with a plan

Organized people always have a plan, whether it’s their daily to-do list or their monthly goals. Having a plan is like having a road trip mapped out in advance — you know your final destination, and even if you take a wrong turn or two, you will easily be able to get back on track.

If you’re not naturally a planner, consider picking up a goal planner (like the Ink+Volt 2021 planner, or if you’re not ready to commit to a full year, the three-month planner).

A planner will help provide structure to your goal-setting and list-making. I recommend setting aside time at the beginning of each month, and then again at the beginning of each week, to really think about your goals. Ask yourself:

  • What do I *need* to accomplish this month/week/day?
  • What do I *want* to accomplish this month/week/day?
  • What are the important dates and deadlines that I need to keep in mind? 
  • What are the key milestones in my monthly or weekly goals?

Revisiting your goals on a regular cadence will help ensure that you stay on track and meet your deadlines, and it will also allow you to make adjustments to ensure that your timetable still makes sense for everything else that’s going on in your life. 

Keep a notebook or notepad

How much of your clutter is random pieces of paper, to-do lists, grocery lists, and notes? By keeping a dedicated notebook or notepad with you (or one in your purse, one by your workspace, and one in your kitchen), you’ll save yourself the headache of having to go through a paper purge or wondering where that important note disappeared to.

Not only can a dedicated notebook be your repository for notes and reminders, it can also store your daily to-do list, morning journaling, or gratitude practice. 

We love the Ink+Volt notebooks and the Founders notebooks for lightweight, go-anywhere options. And if you’re looking for a pad for your desk, you can’t go wrong with these faceted foil animal notepads!

Take stock of your stuff

And that doesn’t just mean shoving the papers that have been piling up on your desk into a drawer. Pull everything out and really assess: do I need this? 

If you haven’t really gone through your belongings in a while, you’ll be surprised at how much junk you have stashed away. Make a plan to methodically go through each room, drawer, closet, and cabinet and take everything out. Then sort everything into things you want to keep, things you can donate, and things you should throw away or recycle.

And be honest with yourself! Are you really ever going to wear that dress that’s 3 sizes too small again? Or use the last few drops of the perfume that’s been sitting on your bathroom counter for years? A quick rule of thumb: if you haven't touched it in 6 months, let it go.

To help you jumpstart this process, here’s a link to our free spring cleaning worksheet that can be used all year round to help you tackle your home with a purpose. And if you want to make decluttering part of your everyday routine, try our free 30-day challenge worksheet in collaboration with Shira Gill that will give you one 15-minute or less activity each day to help you make meaningful progress toward decluttering and getting organized.

Find a place for everything

Once you’ve gone through all your stuff and decided what you’re going to keep, it’s time to find the best place for everything.

Identify, choose spots where you already naturally put your keys, wallet, and clothes at the end of the day, and put storage systems in place so it’s easy to put things away where they belong as you move through your home.

For your workspace or home office, we love desk organizers that can help you keep pens, papers, and folders neatly organized. (Here are some of our recommendations!)

It’s important to remember that staying organized isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a commitment to continuously plan and declutter, though the good news is that the more frequently you take small, regular actions toward organization, the less often you’ll need to do this type of deep work.

Set deadlines and check in on your progress

Besides having a tidy home and workspace, another hallmark trait of organized people is keeping deadlines. 

No matter what your goals are, whether they’re personal or professional, setting — and keeping! — deadlines is crucial to keep you feeling focused, on task, and to prevent you from getting overwhelmed. 

The key to setting good deadlines for yourself is to ensure they are realistic, that you’ve accounted for every single small step of the project (for example, setting a deadline for a first draft of a blog post is much more effective than simply setting a deadline for when it’s supposed to be published!), and that you have structures in place to hold yourself accountable. (Get more of our deadline-setting tips here!)

I put all of my deadlines — big and small, and work and personal — into my goal planner. Then I check in on them at the beginning of each week and month to make sure I’m still on track, or so that I can make any necessary adjustments. In fact, one of my favorite elements of the Ink+Volt Goal Planner is the built-in reflection points on each weekly page! 

Prioritize and delegate

One of our favorite lifehacks to ensure that you’re not feeling overwhelmed (so you can actually meet all those deadlines you’re setting!) is to take stock of your priorities and identify which tasks on your plate that you could actually delegate to someone else.

We have a whole blog post on the Eisenhower matrix (check it out here!), which is an organizational method to help you identify the items on your to-do list that are actually helping you move forward toward your goals, and which items are just time-sucks.

The Ink+Volt Priority Pad is a great tool that can help you get your priorities in order so that you are actually spending time on the things that matter to you. 

What are your favorite organization tips? We’d love to hear from you! Share them with us on our Instagram (@inkandvolt) so our community can learn from you!

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