The Home Organization Life Cycle is an important concept to understand. Once you figure it out, you can finally end the cycle of (1) spend all day cleaning, (2) get frustrated the very next day at the messiness of your house, (3) give up the rest of the week, (4) repeat.
The good news is that you can jump into any section of the life cycle based on the state of your home right this second. However, if you’re the type that likes to have a suggested “starting point”, I personally think that Cleaning Surfaces is a great place to start. (You can click the previous link to read about that in depth.)
However, once you’ve read about and gone through the cycle at at least once, you should see your productivity skyrocket!
We all want to be more productive. But how?
We can focus on the important instead of urgent. We can manage our time better. Yes, those are both good things. But what I’ve found to be the best way to increase productivity is to eliminate. Eliminate as much as humanly possible. Eliminate time suckers that don’t matter. Quit doing things that you only do because “you’ve always done them.” Train other (i.e. kids!) to help around the house. Simplify as much stuff as you possibly can.
THAT is how you have capacity to focus on the important. That is how to get rid of all the trivial items that take up our time and energy. That is how we can begin to actually enjoy and use what we already own…but ignore (family heirlooms, books, unfinished projects, exercise equipment…the list can go on and on).
When we have too much stuff, we can’t find what we need when we need it.
We waste way too much of our lives looking for items we own, but are lost or misplaced.
Newsweek reports that the average American wastes 55 minutes a day (roughly 12 days a year) looking for things. US News and World Report sums it up by saying we waste ONE YEAR of our life searching for lost items.
Think about what you could be doing with all that extra time.
Of course, we don’t just lose time at home, we waste time at work too. OrganizedWorld.com says the average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for things. Typical executives waste 150 hours a year (almost a month!) searching for lost information according to Forbes ASAP.
Think about those stats. Can you remember the last time you were looking for something?
I sure can. In fact, it was this morning. My son and I had to search the house to find his school shoes because he didn’t put them where they belong. Even though we have systems in place, kids don’t always follow them. I don’t always follow them!
The fact is, when we are fallible human beings. We can be forgetful. There are seasons of life that are so busy that we simply can’t remember where we put something. Items fall out of bags. Family members will move items to the wrong area.
Thankfully, there are systems we can put in place and processes we can follow that make searching for lost items the exception rather than the rule.
The fears we have when it comes to letting go of perfectly good items are legit. We paid hard-earned money for those items. We obviously thought they would be useful when we purchased them.
1. You don’t waste time looking for items because they all have a home.
Specifically, each item you own has a streamlined, roomy, organized home.
- Your clothes are no longer crammed in a closet.
- There aren’t documents all of your desktop.
- You don’t have a pantry full of items you can’t even see.
- You don’t have unused appliances in your kitchen.
- You don’t have a stockpile of decade old toiletries clogging up your bathroom cabinets.
- Your kids don’t have an insane amount of toys spread all over the house.
- Your email isn’t full of unread newsletters that you want to read someday (but actually never will).
AND…each item you own is useful and purposeful.
When you only own items that add value to your life and they are stored in a proper location, you don’t have to waste time searching for lost items. You no longer have to dig through the cluttered drawer full of too small/too big/out of style/forgot you even owned items to find your favorite t-shirt. You don’t have to go upstairs/downstairs/look in the garage/dig through the cabinet to find the light bulbs you know you bought a few weeks ago.
Instead, you can open a cabinet or drawer or closet and immediately see all the contents. You know right away what’s hidden behind those doors.
Within seconds you can find what you need.
When your stuff (at home or at work) is orderly and streamlined, you save time. Which saves energy. Which helps you be more productive.
2. Our brain can focus on the most important time because there is less visual clutter.
Whether we like it or not, visual clutter clogs up our mind. The “stuff” is a constant reminder of projects left undone (even if the “project” is something simple like folding laundry). When surfaces are clear and our stuff is organized, our brains can be used for good instead of holding all the clutter.
When too much stuff is out in the open, it’s all clamoring for our attention (whether we realize it or not!). So we get bogged down and don’t make progress on anything.
Have you ever sat down to work on an important project, and then all of a sudden it became extremely important to organize your desktop files, or clean your office, or organize your closet? If so, you understand this concept completely. When you need to focus and be productive, all your mind can focus on is the visual clutter.
Repeating the “Get Productive” section of the Home Organization Life Cycle.
This is the one section of the life cycle that you don’t necessarily repeat. Being productive is a byproduct of tackling the other projects in the cycle.
When you clear surfaces, implement daily habits to keep those surfaces clean, simplify your stuff, and get that stuff organized, your productive can only increase.
And when you’re more productive, you have more energy to go through the cycle again…which will make you even more productive!
It’s cyclical. And it works!
We will wrap up this series next week when we talk about the final part of the Life Cycle…Deep Clean. If you’ve missed the first part of this series, make sure to sign up to get the entire series delivered straight to your inbox.