Meet Jeni Aron: an organized person. Since how truly organized minds work are still a mystery to many of us, I set out to ask our top video organizers: what are the top 10 habits that you actually use to keep your own life organized? First up, Jeni!
1. Know what you like and stick to it. I know I only like Aveda shampoo and Kiehl's face wash. This seemingly shallow information actually creates less confusion and clutter in my shower. In the mornings I'm not wrestling with a test laboratory of 18 different bottles of lotions and potions trying to do the job of 2 perfectly awesome products.
2. Learn to say "NO". The holidays are a perfect example of Calendar Clutter which can lead to mind clutter which can lead to overeating and crying. I have learned to be selective (not snobby) with my social RSVP's which frees up time to focus on my closest friendships and my personal time.
3. Spend fifteen minutes every day staying organized. There are small daily efforts that I do to keep clutter at bay. I sort the mail right away, as soon as I retrieve it from the mailbox. I take out the garbage every day (because I have a tiny garbage can - which also encourages trash removal). I put things back in their "homes" once I'm done with them. This way, I don't have junk piles all over my apartment that I have to spend hours on a Sunday wrangling and cursing. Twenty minutes, max.
4. Let other people in your life have their mess (but in an organized way). My boyfriend doesn't live with me but he has his toiletries and his pj's and his extra pairs of socks, underwear and undershirts and a handful of work clothes here. I've given him a basket with a lid over the toilet to keep his bathroom stuff and a full drawer in my dresser for all of his clothing. He can do whatever he wants within these two areas as long as they're contained and I don't micromanage his stuff (all the time). It's a system that can work well with kids and pets as well (not that I'm comparing a 41 year-old man to a child or a dog. Let's be clear).
5. Let go. Often. This goes along with number 1. I just threw out three Urban Decay chubby eyeliners when I admitted to myself that I'm not a chubby eyeliner kind of girl. I freed up space in my medicine cabinet and created room for the things that do fit my life. When you're not using something but you're just holding onto it to "have it" that's the beginning seeds of clutter and I don't need those kinds of Gremlins in my house. Bye chubbs.
6. Make your bed. Unless you have 99 pillows, a solid bed-making in the morning should last 2 or 3 minutes. A made bed encourages me to hang up clothes and return magazines and books to shelves instead of piling them up on gathered sheets and tilted pillows. Plus, it's a beautiful little treat for me to come home after a long day to a bed that looks inviting, polished and all mine.
7. Create email folders. Email can be a monster if you don't keep up with it. Whenever I get a new client or start a project regarding my business, I throw it in my "Clutter Cowgirl 2013" email folder. I can keep those correspondences out of my main inbox and can find an email quickly without all that visual e-clutter. You can do this with doctors, kid's school emails (sort by year, teacher, kid) and every other area of your life. When the project or year is over, go nuts with deleting.
8. If something is broke, don't fix it. Unless there is major value attached to an item (either sentimental or monetary), consider how much time, effort and annoyance, it will take to fix something and weigh your options. If your time can be spent bettering your life, is it really worth gluing back together a $5 glass? I'm not encouraging waste, I'm asking you what is the value of your time.
9. I do leave home without my AmEx. Credit cards encourage mindless, spontaneous shopping that feels good in the moment but clutters up my closets with stuff I don't really need and it really messes up my finances. Using cash 9 out of 10 times relieves me of emotional, physical and financial clutter.
10. Be giving but only of the good stuff. I don't dump my clutter on friends or family. When getting rid of clothing, handbags, linens or anything else, I ask myself, "Is this of value to that person and would I personally want to receive something like this?" As the Clutter Cowgirl, it's my responsibility to not only live an organized life in my own home but to encourage others to do the same.
Jeni Aron is the Clutter Cowgirl, a Professional Organizer working in the NYC area since 2003. The goal with each client is to create solutions that work specifically for their needs which lead to a more productive and calm way of life. Challenging transitions like moving to a new space, welcoming a baby and combining households with a partner are just some of the situations where clients have used Jeni's organizing services. She has been described as "non-judgmental" and "focused" and many clients have even admitted to having fun during their organizing sessions! Change isn't just good...it's great.
Re-edited from a post originally published 1.21.14-NT
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