Clutter & Chaos

Disorganization is Costing You


6 Minutes

The amount of time most Americans spend each day looking for their car keys, wallet or phone.

12 Days

The number of days per year the average American wastes searching for things they have but can’t find.

1 Year

The total amount of time Americans spend in a lifetime looking for lost or misplaced items.

Is it worth your time to be better organized?

Situational Disorganization occurs when circumstances keep you from staying organized and on top of things, such as a move, a new job, a newborn, a family tragedy, a challenging medical condition or a divorce.

We have a lot of “stuff.”  More than we need or will ever actually use.

Some people believe that it’s a waste of time to take time to organize. Why spend time organizing when you could use that time to get things done. The reality may be quite different. Trying to accomplish any task when you haven’t organized ahead of time is a recipe for disaster. In fact, a great chef will tell you that mise en place (French for organizing your work station and food before you start to cook) is the most important step you can take. If you’ve ever painted a room, you know that it can easily take more time to tape-off, cover and prep the room than to actually apply the paint to the wall. And what if a surgeon’s OR wasn’t well organized ahead of time …. “scalpel” “scalpel please” … “where the hells my scalpel?!” Being well organized saves time, results in a better work product and improves safety.


We have many ‘good’ reasons and that keep them from returning items to their proper places. We think they will take care of it later, but later never comes. We believe that they can find things if they really need to, yet we often can’t. We believe that they are unable to maintain organization.


 Are you chronically disorganized?

If so, a small investment of time on the front end will save you an exponential amount of time, and frustration, on the back end.  Getting organized is easy. Take a weekend to clean out some closets, rearrange your drawers, clear off your desk, and file some papers. STAYING organized, unlike getting organized, is a lot more difficult and requires a daily commitment to following a routine. That means that on a daily basis, that’s everyday, you must pick things up, put them away, throw things away, or file papers. Easy right?  If it were that easy people would not make getting organized each year the number one New Years resolution.  Most of these steps are common sense. The problem is we don’t follow them.

Getting Organized

Identify Disorganizing Behaviors

Create a written list (yes, actually write it down) of those behaviors that cause personal disorganization. Think small – it’s often numerous small things that together add up to a large amount of wasted time. Your list might include not placing car keys in the same location, lacking a system for processing incoming correspondence, or procrastinating with a time-sensitive project.

If you plop yourself down on the couch before you have completed your daily chores you will not stay organized.

Establish a daily routine for home and work responsibilities and follow that routine every day. If need be, calendar your routine or use a checklist.

Schedule Time Each Day to be Organized

Whether at work or home, actually mark off time in your day to organize what needs to get done and review tasks that need to be completed.  There is usually a small window of time in the morning that you could use to take out the garbage or clean up the kitchen. There are other windows of time such as at the end of the day to sort through the mail or pay bills.

Create Routines

Incorporate the most important organizing tasks into routines. A routine can be thought of as a procedure that you repeat … and with time, you’ll do so without even thinking about it.

Enlist the Help of Others

If there are some things that you will just never be good at or know that you won’t be able to commit to, consider hiring someone to help.  You know you just can’t routinely do the laundry, yard work, or the house cleaning, if you can afford to do so, hire someone to help – be kind to yourself.  Better yet, get your family into the process.  Chores and responsibility are good for kids and It will help you stay organized.

Start with realistic expectations.

If you are new to staying organized don’t set yourself up for organizing everything inside and outside and all around.  Start with a room or two and keep that up for 21 days then add more as necessary.  Set your self up for success.