Get the clutter out: 5 things to organize today

by on Oct 31 2012 - 16 Comments

Personal finance and quality of life go hand-in-hand. When you feel that things in your life are disorganized or cluttered it’s hard to feel like you have control. When you feel like things are organized and “in order,” it is a lot easier to feel like you have control over your life and makes tackling your finances a little bit easier.

Today I want to share five things in your life that you should get organized.

1) Your Time


Photo by Dharmesh Patel

Nothing is more valuable than your time. I hate wasting time and constantly have to-do lists made for what I want to accomplish throughout the day. Planning out your day using Outlook, Google Calendar, or some other scheduling application can be invaluable.

If you feel like you never have enough time, one thing you can try is tracking how much time you spend on various tasks each day. You may be surprised that you spend 10 hours surfing Facebook. Imagine what you could accomplish if you cut that out of your life. If it’s not Facebook, there is likely something else you are spending more time on than you think. Keep track of your time and make sure that the way you spend your time is consistent with your priorities.

2) Your Computer


Photo by Dale Gillard

I will be the first to admit that I am the worst at this. I save everything to my desktop and then throw it into an “Archived” folder…which doesn’t accomplish much besides giving me the illusion that my files are organized.

Before you save a file, take a few seconds to think about whether it can be saved into a more detailed folder rather than a generic “documents” or “photos” folder. Start small – even generic folders can help. I have folders for Young Adult Money, Budget, Career, etc. If you are really ambitious, take a few hours to really go through your files. Organize the ones you need to keep and trash old and useless files.

3) Your Apartment/House/Bedroom


Photo by daviddl

I just moved into a house and there is literally an entire room full of boxes with stuff waiting to be sorted and put away. Assuming you aren’t currently in the middle of a move like me in which case you would be happy just finding a place for everything, consider making your home more organized. It makes a huge difference if you can come home to a house that seems in order and under control versus working all day and coming home to a place that has crap sitting in every corner.

4) Your Work and Work Space


Photo by EvelynGiggles

It’s hard to be efficient at work when your desk is covered in clutter and you are always doing things last minute. For your own benefit, clean up your work space (if possible…some people work in shared areas or in an environment they have no control over), track how you spend your time at work, and start planning ahead. Sometimes you don’t know what the next day will bring you, but if you are able to, before leaving work for the night write down what you need to do the next day. This works for school as well – make sure you know what you need to accomplish today, tomorrow, and beyond.

5) Your Finances


Photo by comedy_nose

You knew this was coming, right? It’s hard to feel in control of your finances unless you are intentional about keeping everything organized. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of time to really organize everything related to your finances. Thankfully there are some easy steps you can take to get started, such as: tracking your spending, getting a copy of your credit report, reviewing how much you are contributing to your 401k (or signing up for one with your employer), and getting bill payments set up so they auto-deduct.

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Regardless of where you start with getting organized, it’s important to simply make it a priority. Freedom comes with having things organized.

16 comments
MD Kennedy
MD Kennedy

I SO agree with the house/apartment and desk de-cluttering.  Sometimes, you'll find that the things you find will help you in the other areas, and there is nothing better when you have a stressful like otherwise than to come home to a neat and peaceful home!

seedebtrun
seedebtrun

Our organization started with our finances.  I now want everything in my life organized!  We're getting there.  I've noticed that when things are organized, they stay clean longer!  Also, I have so much more pride in my house knowing that there's not a "scary room" full of stuff we should have tossed long ago!

JustinatTheFrugalPath
JustinatTheFrugalPath

My big time sink are naps. I say i'm going to lay down for a fifteen minutes and an hour later I might decide to wake up. And those pictures of the room and desk could have been taken in my office.

Free in Ten Years
Free in Ten Years

Time is the ultimate thing to try to get more of. Ultimately you can have all the money in the world, but if you haven't got the time to use it then it's worthless. I am a huge fan of to-do lists, and use Google's to-do lists every day. 

RFIndependence
RFIndependence

Nice list! I suck at organizing my computer too, until I feel it's going to die, freak out, and do it in a hurry.  Doing pretty good on the house after so many moves forced me to take only the bare minimum, if not I think I would be a mess!  

Eyesonthedollar
Eyesonthedollar

I agree. I can't stand clutter at home or work, but my computer is a mess. I think clutter that is visual makes me more motivated.

Money Life and More
Money Life and More

I definitely need to be more organized in parts of my life but luckily my finances are in good shape :) Now to work on my work area... that's a nightmare haha.

SavvyScot1
SavvyScot1

I also like the pictures! good job.

 

I would be LOST without my calendar. The rest are relatively in check! :)

TacklingOurDebt
TacklingOurDebt

I love the images you included in your post! All very important points too.

 

I love being organized and my husband is even better at it. The one place where I am not so good at it is on my computer. My work files are organized well, but other stuff is on my desktop and shouldn't be and don't even get me started on all the crap that is in my Favorites folder from surfing the net.

Veronica @ Pelican on Money
Veronica @ Pelican on Money

I have to organize my computer's desktop every couple of months. Somehow the icons just keep piling up, then the documents get added, photos, music... then it takes me a minute to find a program I want to open, lol. I have yet to use a calendar in my life, it's typically in a form of a written note stuck somewhere in the house.

FrugalRules
FrugalRules

Great points.  I completely agree with #1. To me time is as much if not more valuable than money. I can't get enough of it and am always looking for ways to be more organized with it so I can stretch my day more.

MonsterPiggyBank
MonsterPiggyBank

I think I could benefit from all of these suggestions.

For me time is the killer though, I am such a procrastinator. In fact just tonight I have spent 2 hours reading PF blogs instead of investing time into a project I am working on.

 

GregatClubThrifty
GregatClubThrifty

Decluttering can be a huge boost to your productivity and to your attitude. For me, I'm always in a bad mood when I've got a bunch of things cluttered up. Actually, I just finished reading The 4-Hour Work Week. It is hard to aspire to that if you aren't organized.