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.