“People don’t realize the impact clutter has on their lives,” says Summer Rose, founder of Star Organizers in New York City. “The extra fifteen minutes a day they spend looking for something they’ve misplaced or just threw somewhere because they didn’t have a home for it in the first place – those fifteen minutes add up quickly. What could you do with almost two extra hours every week? Imagine how often you say, ‘I wish I had more time,’ ‘I’m too busy,’ or ‘I have too many things to do.’”
Rose has found that living in an unorganized home or working in a mess also impacts people’s mindsets and energy. “When your space is cluttered, it often causes your mind to be cluttered, as well.” While there is a common perception that “being messy” has no impact on someone’s professional performance, Rose sees the exact opposite. Working in a cluttered office can make it more difficult to make decisions and think clearly.
“When your mind is focused on all the little tasks at home that you need to conquer, you’re not focusing on your business.” Organizational tasks that can clutter your mind include putting away laundry, going through piles of paper cluttering up the counters, and tidying up before guests arrive.
The solution is not always custom closets or organizational systems. Much like home gym equipment oftentimes becomes a family’s most expensive coat rack, closet systems can become fancy shelves to hide a mess. “A custom closet, while it may be beautiful, isn’t going to hang up your designer denims that you tried on before making a decision on what to wear,” says Rose.
Celebrity organizer Geralin Thomas of A&E’s Hoarders agrees. “There are many wonderful products available to help you get organized and stay organized, and although I don’t recommend running out and buying an expensive closet system, there are a few basic items that might be helpful.” These basics include things like hanging rods, shoeboxes, hangers, and a light fixture.
Here are 5 Tips to Eliminate Clutter and Be More Productive, courtesy of Summer Rose:
1) Pick out your clothes the night before. It may seem juvenile (hearken back your elementary school days), but many women try on at least three items before deciding what to wear. And if you’re rushing out to a meeting, imagine how much less stress you would have if you already knew what you were going to wear. “You will be able to focus on your upcoming meeting or project instead of your sartorial choices.”
2) Organize your computer files. Instead of saving everything onto your desktop or documents folder, use a consistent naming convention and a system for all of your files, especially photos. It makes it so much easier if you know your folder path to your files instead of saving everything to your desktop. You will also feel less cluttered each time you open up your computer. You’ll actually get to enjoy your background photo.
3) Store items in pretty containers. “I have aesthetically pleasing boxes stacked on my bookshelf and each of them contains various things of one type, like electronics, stationary, photographs, or office supplies.”
4) Give things away and throw things away. Purging what you don’t actually use is a great thing to do. “If you don’t need it; love it; and use it, get rid of it!” If you have a mess of papers on your desk or all over your home, scan them and file them on your computer or on an external hard drive. Don’t keep physical paper unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s just clutter.
5) Have a packing list for when you travel. We often waste much time writing and rewriting lists for all of our clothes, cosmetics, accessories, and travel items. “We spend hours stressing and wondering whether we forgot anything. You know what you need to take when you travel, and you can prepare a list on your computer, leaving blanks where you can insert numbers based on the number of days you’re going to be away. You’ll pack worry-free knowing you have all of your necessities.” It makes travel so simple.
Following these simple tips will give you more time to focus on your work. Once you take action and get uncluttered, you’ll have more time to take actions to increase the profitability of your business.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of purging and organizing your home or office, you may find that hiring an organizational expert will be valuable and beneficial to you. Rose recommends at least having a friend come over and help you go through your things as a start. “Having someone else there will give you the gift of perspective. Sometimes people have a hard time being objective with their own belongings.”
Rose explains, “Most of my clients find that once their home and office is organized, they love it so much and it feels so good they have a really easy time keeping it that way. You won’t want to make a mess of your home once it’s so neat.”
Summer Rose is the founder of Star Organizers, a Manhattan-based professional organization service. For more information, visit http://www.starorganizers.com.