How discouraging is it to spend time carefully organizing an area of your home so that is looks nice and functions better, only to look back at it in a month or less and see it looking like a disaster zone again? Ugh. The worst.
Why can’t we just organize things once and have them stay perfectly organized forever after that? Well, because we live in our homes!
Organizing something once may take a few hours. Staying organized after that isn’t a one-time deal. It requires a lifestyle change to go with it.
There may also be a flaw in the way that you’re organizing things, which we’ll talk about in #2.
So let’s get to it!
4 Reasons Why You Can’t Stay Organized
1. Things Don’t Have a Spot
This might feel too obvious, but does all of your stuff have a spot where it belongs? And I mean a good spot.
Putting bills that need to be paid in a pile on the counter at least keeps them together, but it’s probably causing counter clutter.
Where do you put fresh fruit, school papers, your purse and keys, dirty clothes, and dog toys?
A big reason you are having a hard time staying organized might be because there are a tons of things that don’t really belong anywhere.
When things don’t have a spot, they end up in piles on the counter, stacked on the floor in the corner, or flopped on the chair that no one can ever sit on because there’s always something on it.
It can be easy to say that certain things don’t need a spot because you’re going to take care of them right away. Paperwork is a big culprit for this. It doesn’t have a spot because you’re going to fill it out ASAP, but then ASAP turns into “later” and then it turns into multiple piles covering every flat surface.
Work on creating a proper spot for everything so that you can get organized and stay organized.
2. Thing Don’t Have a Spot That Makes Sense
So to take #1 a step further, the spot where something belongs needs to make sense or else you’re going to have a hard time staying organized.
Example: If you have a coat closet near your front door but you always enter the house through the garage door on a different side of the house, coats and shoes are probably going to end up piled by the garage door and not get put away in their proper spot. The coat closet by the front door doesn’t make sense for you and isn’t convenient, so it’s going to be really hard to stay organized.
I think it’s important to work with your natural tendencies when getting organized.
In our old house, I created a small home organization station in our kitchen because that’s where it was most convenient for me to look at schedules and record our spending. I had a desk upstairs, but most days things ended up piled in the kitchen, so that’s where I made my home station.
In each of our homes, I’ve made sure to have a spot just inside the door where we can take off our shoes, drop off our keys, and put a wallet or purse. That’s just where we naturally drop things, so it makes sense to get organized and create a proper spot. We never need to look for our keys or shoes before we leave because they’re where they belong.
If you’re frustrated that tons of toys are all over the living room when they belong upstairs in the playroom, it may be time to rethink your organization. Your kids may naturally want to play in the living room instead of in their playroom. So instead of being frustrated by toys everywhere, you could try to create a small amount of toy organization in the living room so that they can play with a few toys in there and then they can be responsible for putting those toys away.
3. You Need Better Maintenance
If all of your stuff truly has a spot (that makes sense), maintenance might be why you can’t stay organized.
Organizing things may be a one-time thing, but staying organized is not. It’s lifestyle and a series of habits. Things only stay organized if you put them where they belong.
If you put something down in the wrong spot with the plan to put it away later, you’ve just created more work for yourself. If you do that with multiple objects each day, you’re on your way to having a messy home that will take a chunk of time to put back in order.
If you’re touching something, don’t set it down in the wrong spot, take the extra five seconds to put it where it belongs.
It’s a hard habit to get into, but it really does save you time in the long run. A few extra second here and there means that your home will stay organized and means that you don’t have to spend an hour later on putting everything away.
There’s nothing all that special about a home that always seems picked up and organized, it just means that things are being put away often throughout the day.
4. You Didn’t Declutter First
Don’t organize what you can declutter!
I have been guilty of this at times. It’s so much easier to stay organized when you have less stuff.
I have a lot of craft supplies. I have spent a lot of time over the years organizing and reorganizing my craft supplies. But here’s the thing: Every time I went to use the craft supplies, I had to dig around through tons of beads, sequins, and paper scraps that I never use to get to the items I needed. By the time I found what I wanted, everything was all unorganized again!
Once I did some serious decluttering, I was left with only the things that I used often. It’s easier to find what I want and I don’t destroy my organization digging through piles of crazy-old dried up paint and rubber stamps I’m not sure I’ve ever used.
Always declutter before you organize. That way, you’ll have less that needs to be organized and less organization to maintain.