I talk about organizing a lot on the podcast (It’s called Organize 365 after all!). I’ve covered everything from discovering your why to the Psychology of the Sunday Basket and how to know Which Workbox is Right for You?
But surprisingly, I’ve never addressed what living an organized life actually feels like… until now!
In this episode, I reveal what an organized life looks like. No unrealistic expectations. No idealistic dreams. None of that. Just an honest look behind the curtain of an everyday, organized life.
Setting Realistic Expectations
I’ll be honest with you. There was a rather delusional time in my life when I pictured a perfectly organized life to mirror Martha Stewart’s.
You know, with everything neatly packed into pretty containers, angelic children floating around the house and waking up to an adorable puppy licking my nose as he waits for his morning walk. Like I said, delusional.
Once I started to declutter and focus on living a more organized life, my previous expectations were, for lack of a better phrase, shot to hell.
I realized that you’re never going to have everything you want just perfect. You can drive yourself crazy trying, but it’s like trying to reach the end of the rainbow. It’s never going to happen.
The sooner you get rid of unrealistic expectations and focus on the achievable, the sooner you can start living not only a more organized life but a happier one, too.
A Perfectly Organized Life is Boring
Perfection is not only unattainable, but it’s also kind of boring. If everything in your life is so perfect that you walk into your house and you can almost hear the angelic harp music playing in the background, you’re going to get bored really fast.
Sometimes living an organized life is boring.
Before you reach the “bored state,” you’re spending a lot of time decluttering and organizing your projects. You keep busy because you’ve got lots to do.
But what happens when you’re done?
You’ll have nothing left to organize, at least for a while. You might be a little bored, but now you’ve got your TIME back.
So, what are you going to do with yours?
An Organized Life Looks Different in Each Stage of Life
An organized life may look different to you depending on what stage of life you’re in. But one thing stays the same. Functional organizing means everything has a place and everything’s in a place.
I’ve broken the stages of life into sections (yours may differ from mine, and that’s fine, these are just guidelines).
Age 0 – 21 – Childhood
Age 22 – 40 – Accumulation
Age 40 – 55 – Survival
Age 55+ – Downsizing and Legacy
So, the childhood stage of life is when you’re living under your parent’s direction.
From around age 22, you may have moved out of the family home, and you’re starting to accumulate everything from houses to spouses, jobs, kids, and everything in between. Basically, Target is your best friend at this stage.
The more you accumulate, the more you have to organize. The accumulation stage is pretty exhausting, but hey, at least you can do most of it (if not all of it) from home especially, if you have kids and they are still young.
Once you hit the survival stage of life, it’s when the kids are growing up and you’re driving them around all the time. When the last kid “leaves the nest,” you regain control of your schedule. You’re in the downsizing and legacy stage of life… and it’s wonderful.
An Organized Life is Being “Company Ready”
I’ve had a lot of people tell me that an organized life them means having a home that is “company ready.” When you can open the door to a friend or family member and invite them in without worrying about what they’ll see or find in your home.
Or, it’s when you get a call that someone’s heading over and you’ve got 20 minutes to make sure the first floor of your home is clean. It doesn’t take you long because most of it is already organized. You could probably just put the last few items away, give the floor a quick mop, and you’re done.
It’s the stage when you’ve got 90% done and there’s just 10% left that you can easily address next week.
Living an Organized Life is Having More TIME
I’ve talked about this a few times on the podcast. I spoke about how organizing pays you in time in Episode 273, It is IMPOSSIBLE To Be Behind When You Are Organizing
, and how it can help give you more time to parent in Episode 257, Time to Parent with Julie Morgenstern.
with Julie Morgenstern. And here I am talking about it again.
Because it’s true!
The problem is that while we all say we want more time, what do you do with it when you get it? If you had a whole week at home with all your projects done, what would you do?
I think the thing that keeps holding us back is not using our time for the new big projects we’re supposed to do. We use it for the little things that maybe don’t need to be done at all.
What Does an Organized Life Feel Like?
An organized life feels like all your basic needs are met and all of the things in your house are done. I’ve achieved this stage in my life, but I loved the release and the creativity of the organizational process so much that I wasn’t ready to let it go.
So, I thought about how I could help other people live a more organized life, too. And that’s when I came up with The Productive Home Solution. Freeing yourself up from your physical stuff and your to-do list gives you so much more time.