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There are two types of people in the world: the kind that are organized, and the kind that try to be. I’m definitely the latter. I make myself feel better about this by remembering that science shows that messy surroundings lead to creative thinking. Therefore, I’m not disorganized, I’m just a creative genius… right?

As great as that excuse may be, I hate it when I miss a doctor’s appointment, scramble to finish an assignment because I forgot it was due, or come home after a long day to clothes strewn across my room. So, I’ve come up with some ways in which we can streamline our lives and clear our minds through more organized living.

1. Clean up after yourself right away.
If left to my own devices, I would probably leave dirty dishes in the sink for a day before actually washing them or putting them in the dishwasher. Thankfully, I care about appearing clean, at least to guests and the people I live with. Instead of putting these tasks off until later, clean up after yourself instead of leaving behind a trail of destruction. It takes five minutes to rinse your dishes and a second to throw your dirty clothes in the hamper, and will make your space look a lot better.

2. Write down appointments or meetings as soon as you make them.
You may be smart, but in the midst of your busy life, you’re definitely not going to remember appointments. As soon as you get off the phone, write them in your planner or input them into your iCalendar, whichever works better for you.

3. Check your calendar daily.
Also very important! Check your calendar the night before to see what you have going on the next day so there are no surprises. This will help you plan what you’re going to wear, what time you need to wake up, etc.

4. Plan out your day, hour by hour.
By blocking out times, you know you’ll be as productive as possible. For example, from 10am – 11am you work on X assignment at work, and you’ll go to the gym from 5pm-6pm afterwards. By seeing these items visually laid out for you, you can’t help but actually do them and cross them off your list.

5. Have a place for everything.
One of my biggest issues with clutter stems from mail and receipts. I just let them pile up on my desk instead of dealing with them. A good way to combat this is to come up with a filing system to keep you organized! As soon as you receive mail or get home for the day, go through everything new and either throw it out or put it away into a folder.

6. Designate specific days to clean portions of your room or home.
By targeting different areas of your space each day, you can minimize the time you spend cleaning (say, 20 minutes a day) while still maintaining an organized room or home. Monday could be spent cleaning the bathroom(s), Tuesday, de-cluttering your desk… you get the idea. This way, a messy person will not be overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do.

7. Take your time.
Getting organized isn’t going to happen overnight. Whether you’re cleaning out old clothes or going through the most cluttered areas of your home, it won’t happen instantly. Just chip away at it each day, and you’ll get the cleaner space you’ve desired.