Get Organized: Great Ways to Declutter Your Life

Let’s face it — life gets messy, and when our lives are out of order, it’s easy to fall out of sync with what really matters. In addition to the dreaded reorganization of your closet, we’ve found some additional, not-so-obvious ways to help declutter your life. So go ahead and start today. Success is just around that tidy corner!

1. Trim the fat

Men cleaning files off of computer

If things in your life are no longer serving a purpose, get rid of them. | Thinkstock

Get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Things that are not serving some sort of purpose in your life probably don’t belong there, anyway. We’re not vain enough to think that everything you have or do in life should have certain benefits, though we do think that the important things should at least provide you with some sort of return on your investment.

No one ever started a workout routine hoping to become less fit. So, toss the things, or people, that aren’t as invested in your life as you are. If you have a friend who constantly hits you up for big favors but never repays your kindness and has no intention of doing so, then perhaps you’d be better off without that “friend.” On the flip side, if you have a buddy with whom you get nonstop belly laughs with every time you two are together, then that’s one of the best benefits of all, and definitely worth keeping around!

2. Devote a space in your home for work and bills

man working on laptop on office desk

Have a set space for your work-related stuff. | iStock.com

It’s easy for the kitchen table to become our work space, and many of us are guilty of looking at all that work-related stuff throughout the day and night. However, having one devoted space (i.e. desk in a spare room, home office, etc.) in which to keep all work materials, personal bills, to-do lists, and the like is a total game changer. Not only will having everything organized and in one set location make you saner, it will also help you get in the habit of not looking at it all the time. Easier said than done, we know, but give it a try — you might end up reclaiming non-business hours for yourself.

3. Become an Excel ninja

Excel spreadsheet on a computer

Learn how to use Excel to keep yourself organized. | Microsoft.com

For the typical nine-to-fiver, the thought of using Excel when you’re not in the office might make you break out in a slight rash. However, creating documents for your own use, such as personal finances, will help keep things clear and concise. We also like using all things Google-related. Not only will the calendar help you keep track of your social life, bill payment dates, and birthdays, but the shared documents feature might very well change how you coordinate plans for the rest of your life. Think back to the last time you took a vacation with a group of friends and how many emails were exchanged back and forth trying to work out every little detail. Next time, simply create a Google document and share it with your pals. Everyone can edit everything all in one place … oh, the possibilities!

4. Slim down your social media concern

Man holding smartphone and smiling

Try taking a social media break every now and again. | iStock.com

Believe us, we love our social media, too. We’re not saying that you should delete your accounts and fall into a black hole, but we are saying that creating a little distance between you and your app-riddled smartphone might be worth trying out. We’re lucky to live in such a technologically advanced age, and our ability to have a strong social media presence is quite incredible. However, it often seems like those in our social networks have become our latest competitors in the social media rat race. If seeing a news feed cluttered with weddings and baby photos ticks you off, then either remove those people from your network, or take a break for a few days. You’ll probably come back feeling refreshed, not to mention you’ll realize that you really haven’t missed much while you’ve been out there living your own life.

5. Plan your meals for the week

family eating dinner together

Learn how to plan your meals to free up your weeknights. | iStock.com

Whether it’s you and your significant other or you’re enjoying the bachelor life, we all know it’s a struggle to get home after a long day of work and decide what to make for dinner. Sure, it’s way easier to pick up take-out on the way home, but that can get expensive and unhealthy. Try to make a point of jotting down some meal ideas on Sunday, then hit the grocery store before the workweek begins and get only the essentials for what you’ll need that week. Having dinner already picked out for the night will ease your after-work dilemma, and the fact that you’ve already got all the ingredients at home should deter you from wanting to simply grab something at the end of a long day.

6. Purge your personals

Messy drawer

Go through your personal items — if you no longer use it, get rid of it. | iStock.com

This is certainly no new idea by any means, but there are many of us who often put this essential task off for months, even years! For those who keep all things sentimental, purging the nonessentials can be a huge task. Try to abide by the six-month rule — if you haven’t worn or used it in the past six months, chances are, you won’t over the next six years, either. Will you ever wear those dated pants again? Are you keeping those dress shoes simply because they were expensive, even though you’re now working at a casual office on the beach? Create piles and stick to them: give-away, throw-away, sell on eBay. You might end up making some money for the things you don’t need anymore, not to mention the added bonus of writing off your donations come tax time.