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Did you know lack of organization in your life can affect not only your physical surroundings but also your physical and mental well-being?  Clutter affects your ability to think, to focus, and even to relax.  For children, having an organized space for homework allows for productivity and creativity.  For adults, having an organized work space allows for productivity and efficiency.  Having an organized home for children sets schedules and routines.  For adults, having set schedules and routines make it easier to balance work, family time, and responsibilities such as financial planning and grocery shopping.

To start 2019 off on a positive note, let’s take a look at some easy ways you can get better organized for a better you in 2019.

1.  SET GOALS

Goal-setting is an important life skill 4-H focuses on through the essential element, Independence.  4-Hers are taught goal-setting – an important tool that helps them state how, what, and when they are going to achieve something.  To get started organizing and decluttering your home:

  • Set 2-3 short-term goals
  • Set 1-2 long-term goals
  • Write them down – make them visible

Anything more than this will be too overwhelming and cause you to not start at all.

2.  MAKE LISTS

Making a handwritten detailed to do list is important in staying organized.

Written lists are very important in accomplishing tasks.  Most importantly, hand-written lists are more powerful than typed lists.  Why?  Handwriting requires more thought and motor skills which requires more cognitive and memory function.  By having written to do lists, your memory can conjure up the tasks quickly and prioritize them with little effort even when the list is not directly in front of you.  This allows you to plan your schedule to work on the list throughout the day, when time permits.  In addition, writing lists allow the satisfaction of achievement.  When you accomplish a task, cross it off the list and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done.

3.  DIVIDE AND CONQUER

One of the worst things you can do when attempting to organize a cluttered home is to look at the disorganized mess as a whole.  This can be overwhelming, defeating and make you give up before you even get started!  Don’t do this…instead, divide and conquer!

  • Start by dividing your home into sections.
  • Choose one room to start with.
  • Start with just one section of that room – like the top of the dresser.
  • Organize just that one area.  Donate or sell any items you do not want or use.

Once you have organized your first area in that room, congratulate yourself and move to the next area.  Begin the process again!

CUT CLUTTER WITH A CLOSE FRIEND

If you think getting organized is complicated, invite an organized friend over, and ask them to help.  Organized individuals will help you stay on track, discard what you don’t need, and help you find a place for those random items you don’t know where to put.  Some people just have a natural ability for organization, but for others, it’s just plain work.

ELIMINATE DUPLICATES

I’ve moved several times in recent years.The last time I was unpacking (for what I hope is my last move), I discovered I have nine hammers.  Nine hammers!!!  Apparently, each time I moved, I couldn’t find my hammer, so I just bought one.  Over time, that gets expensive and takes up space.  As you begin to organize and declutter, eliminate duplicates.  Think about what you need and begin to downsize.  You’ll be amazed at what you truly need versus what you think you need.

SAY GOODBYE…

If you haven’t used it in the last six months but don’t want to get rid of it just yet, box it up and label it with the date.  If three months goes by and you don’t miss it, donate or sell it.  Yard sales, selling apps or social media are a great way to make some extra money , BUT don’t hang on to it until you “get around to it….”  Donate it to charity, or you’ll end up back in the cluttered mess you started with!

Simply taking the time now to put these few actions into place will help create a more efficient, better balanced and stress-free environment in the home and workplace.  I hope that you find yourself healthier and happier in 2019!

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer your time to work with children in your area, please contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

Niki Crawson

Niki Crawson is the Holmes County 4-H Extension Agent in the NW District.