Article Tips on how to stay organized in a small space to reduce stress, fatigue, and anxiety! 0 2019 Life coaching https://www.lifecoachhub.com/img/uploads/articles/thumbs/1036_1581703811.jpg Organizational coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Staying Organized Through a Downsize: How I Won The Battle To Unclutter, Part 1

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A Good Nights Sleep

Being organized is a conscious effort

As a teenager, I was so messy and lazy. It got to the point that I had just accepted that that’s the way I was going to be for the rest of my life. When I made the move into my own apartment, however, something clicked. Living in a mess wasn’t fun at all.

It’s like a switch flipped in my brain and I went from sloppy teenager to a total neat freak. I soon discovered how good it felt to be clean and organized, and it’s since become an obsession. Unfortunately, I don’t always have a lot of time for this.

I love my life but I’m very busy all the time, which seems to be the case for most people these days! There are times when I let things slip a little and some mess and clutter develop. I find that this always makes me feel frustrated, annoyed, anxious, and even somehow manages to drain my energy. 

Turns out there’s actually science behind this. This concept is gaining momentum and publicity in the wake of Marie Kondo and her popular TV show about staying organized and living minimally. As a total book nerd I may not agree with her opinion that you should “keep less than 30 books” (enter my two overflowing, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves) but overall, she has it right. 

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Health Benefits of Staying Organized

The list of benefits you’ll experience by staying clean and organized is long and may differ slightly from person to person. Below I will highlight some of the most significant things I’ve noticed since I began keeping things clean. 

Reduces Stress and Depression

Living in clutter is proven to increase depression, fatigue, and stress. This stems from the feeling of being surrounded by constant “to-does” and half-finished tasks.

The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin did a study on this. They discovered that those who lived in a more organized and peaceful home felt better and had lower levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.

This is because coming home to these piles of unorganized clutter and mess actually prevents the natural decline of cortisol throughout the day. This will cause you to stay stressed and unhappy which affects everything from your mood to your energy, and even your sleep at night.

Coming home to a clean, peaceful, and clutter-free space will allow your mind to continue functioning normally. This means cortisol levels will drop as the day progresses. Thus, less stress in the evenings and more enjoyable personal time.

So, if you’ve been lacking in motivation lately, use science as your reason to get started. 

Improves Energy

WebMD suggests cleaning up your desk and workspace for an energy boost during the day. By clearing away clutter and creating a neat, tidy place to work and live, you’ll feel happier, more energetic, and more motivated to work. This will, in turn, increase your productivity.

The Journal of Neuroscience explains why this is: Having too much to look at all at once actually overloads your brain. This impedes its ability to effectively process information. This slows everything down, distracts you from your work, and leads to frustration.

Declutter your space for serenity

Whether you’re at home or work, low energy leads to low productivity. If you can change your mindset and get things done in a timely manner, however, it will give you more time for yourself to relax and enjoy.

Organizing your space has a virtuous circle effect that lasts throughout the whole day. 

Improves Sleep 

Lastly, it will help you sleep better. The reason behind this is simple: less stress means less on your mind, which makes for a more restful and relaxing sleep.

A good night’s sleep is the backbone of any day. If you don’t sleep well, you’re already off to a bad start. This one is especially important if you’re approaching a day you know will be long and difficult. Being tired will have a significant impact on your ability to focus and function effectively.

Stay Organized with Uncluttered Designs

Staying Organized in a Small Space

With these things in mind, I’ve been working hard to keep things tidy. In addition to leading a busy life, my recent move into an even smaller apartment has presented its own set of challenges. I sacrificed some square footage for a nicer place in a better location. Overall the right decision, but it’s been difficult to cram all my belongings into one less room!

I’m always on the lookout for products and tools that will make this easier. Thankfully, I have found some useful, versatile options that have been real game-changers. 

Cleaning Up 

Part of staying organized is keeping things clean. Dust, dirt, and grime can be just as bad as clutter when it comes to either stressing out or feeling calm. I’ve always been a fan of microfibre for the speed and efficacy with which it cleans. So, you can imagine how pleased I was to find some great quality, refillable microfibre mop heads.

Made by Re-up Your Stuff, they are sturdy, easy to use, and the perfect size. They get the job done fast, which is always my goal. They attach most easily to Bona brand spray mops but are compatible with many others as well. They can also go in the wash to be used over and over. This is much kinder to the environment than the disposable attachments.

They also get the job done right, which is important to me as the owner of several animals! I have two horses who I spend a lot of time at the barn with. While the horses themselves stay at the barn, most of the dirt, dust, and sometimes hay comes home with me. This builds up on the floor fast. 

I also share my apartment with four rabbits. I love their fluffy butts to death, but they shed almost constantly. You can imagine how much fur is sent flying through the air some days! 

Organizing starts with a good clean!

Sweeping and mopping the floors is often a daily requirement, so I can’t afford to spend hours on it all the time. With this microfibre solution, I don’t have to.

Bathroom

The bathroom has always been one of my biggest struggles. I have a lot of products that need to be kept in a small space. I don’t have the luxury of multiple drawers, cupboards, and endless counter space. For keeping my products organized, I have found two amazing solutions. 

Makeup

The first is the expertly designed makeup organizer by Uncluttered Designs. It has everything I could imagine needing to organize the amount of makeup I own.

Organize your makeup with panache

I’ve been blessed with fantastic skin and therefore have never been one to wear foundation. This means my collection is a little smaller than most women. However, I do love my eye and lip colors, as you can see. 

Rummaging through all of them has always been annoying. Now, they’re all accessible with no fuss. The open concept allows me to see them all at the same time and make my selection without having to search. 

I’m also currently on a mission to grow my hair out as long as it will possibly go. I’ve invested many hours researching the best ways to help this happen faster. This has resulted in the collection of oils and sprays you see on the little shelf. 

I was probably more excited about this mini shelf than I should have been, but I couldn’t believe how perfect it was to keep all these little bottles together in one convenient place. My nightly and weekly hair routines will be so much faster.

My DIY Obsession 

The same company also has these amazing customizable organizers. They are commonly used as drawer dividers, but the options are truly endless. With each bin, you get two long dividers and four short ones. When they are all used, it gives you a maximum of 15 compartments. However, the pieces can be manipulated to create fewer compartments of varying sizes. 

These dividers work wonderfully but it is important to note that they must be installed in the proper order. You need to put the long dividers in first with the slits up. Otherwise, the short pieces will bend. The short pieces then need to be installed over the long ones with the slits down. 

When done correctly in this way, the compartments are secure. Even tiny items like beads can be placed inside without worrying about them slipping out. 

I’m a bit of a naturals nut who renounced harmful chemicals and synthetic ingredients years ago. This means that if it touches my hair or skin, I probably make it rather than buy it. This has had my counter overrun with mason jars for a long time. 

This little organizer fits perfectly in the cupboard under the sink, which is my only real bathroom storage space. It was able to accommodate all my products, both large and small since I can customize the size of the compartments. 

Get the clutter off your counters and organizer your space

This keeps them organized, off the counter, and easily accessible. I don’t even have to take a single step to find what I want. They are made of firm, sturdy plastic that looks like it will hold up over time. The smooth surface makes for easy cleaning when that time comes. 

Kitchen 

For such a small apartment, the kitchen is pretty nice, though quite small. The cupboards are sufficient for basic things like plates, bowls, cups, and mugs, but storage for everything else is lacking. 

Aside from limited counter space, I have another large cupboard underneath the counter with two shelves. That’s it. Since moving in I’ve pretty much just kept everything piled in there, every so often making attempts to straighten things out. It never lasts. 

Get your kitchen organized and decluttered

Once again, these customizable organizers from Uncluttered Designs have come in so handy. I put one on the top shelf and it does a great job at keeping all the little things organized. This frees up the bottom one for larger items like pots, pans, and my blender. 

The Hooks

Another thing that has proven useful for the kitchen are these awesome little metal hooks. They’re magnetic so they’ll easily stick to any metal surface. The magnets are extremely powerful and can hold a lot of weight. 

The hooks can swivel around and be used in different ways. In the vertical position (hanging from the ceiling) they can hold up to 30 pounds. When used horizontally (hanging on the wall) they can hold 7.7 pounds.

I started by putting two on the fridge. 

I’m not sure yet what I’ll put here but these little hooks sure are strong so there are many possibilities. Recipes, notes, reminders, lists, or additional decorations to complement my already strange collection of magnets.   

Sturdy magnetic hooks for your fridge

The instructions also say you can put a nail in the wall and hang the hook on that. I have to admit I was skeptical about this. I wasn’t sure if it would hold anything with such a small metal surface, but it works!

I have a small plastic holder for my sponges but I also like to use a larger brush when cleaning certain dishes. One thing I don’t have is a dishwasher so I do a lot of handwashing. While useful, the brush is tall and was constantly falling out of the sponge container. 

Hang things anywhere with sturdy magnetic hooks

This hook plus a single nail gave me my solution. It won’t be falling all over the place anymore. 

Bedroom

The extremely versatile organizers have come to save my bedroom as well. 

The Night Table

As soon as I saw them I knew I had to have one on my night table. I’d been balancing a surprising number of things on there, so I finally threw them all into a little basket. This kept them contained but not accessible. 

Get your bedroom organized with adjusable drawer dividers

I replaced the basket with one of the organizers and not only is everything secure and available, but I have room for even more things

The Bookshelf Things

Another place where I keep a lot of small, random trinkets is the top of my bookshelf. I had so many little things, I needed to dedicate some space for them. Until now, they’d mostly been thrown up there with no rhyme or reason. 

In addition to the large dividers, I was also able to get my hands on a few small, skinny dividers that are perfect for these. I put two of them together to hold all of my “bookshelf things”. 

Organization for your shelves

Not only does it look much nicer but I can access the items easier should I ever need one of them. 

Small Jewelry

Another use I found for these small dividers is my jewelry. Necklaces and earrings fit great, but I love it even more to organize my other jewelry. I have several piercings and many pieces of jewelry for each. I keep them in small, individual bags that keep them clean but are easy to lose. 

Tidy up your office drawers

Now, I can keep track of everything while organizing them by jewelry type at the same time. The divider fits perfectly in my desk drawer which is where I like to keep them as they are so small. 

Closet

Lastly, is the closet. Much like the small but functional kitchen, I was impressed with the inclusion of a walk-in closet considering the size of the apartment. Organizing this to maximize the space has been one of my biggest challenges. 

I’m always on the lookout for items and products that can make it easier and more efficient in there, but it’s not easy. Thankfully, the versatility of these amazing organizers has put me one step closer to being fully functional. 

My Many Socks

I mentioned before that I spend a lot of time with my horses. This means I wear what we equestrians call “boot socks” more often than regular socks! They are specialty socks that both fit into riding boots and can be worn over the breeches. I must own 100 pairs and yet, I can never find any when I need them! 

I decided to use the organizer to separate my riding socks from the rest for easier access. I’m quite pleased with this new system as I won’t be digging through baskets of socks before I have to go ride! 

Get your closets tidy and organized

It fits nicely into one of the closet organizers I already have in there but hadn’t fully filled up yet. 

The Under Garments

To finish off the closet improvements, I used one of the bigger organizers with no dividers to arrange my assortment of bras. It may not seem like a big deal but I’m actually pretty excited about this one. Different ones work better for different outfits/occasions and I’ve always struggled to track down the correct one at the correct time.

The old arrangement had me reaching into a bin blindly, pulling out one after the other hoping to eventually see the one I was after. And that’s if they weren’t tangled together! 

Bra organization with drawer dividers

This makes them perfectly visible and easily accessible. I can’t even tell you how much time this is going to save me, not to mention the anxiety that comes with frantically dumping every bin in the closet because I can’t find the only one that will work.

Get Creative

Beyond what I’ve done, these organizers have so many potential uses. I can see them being great for those with even more jewelry than me, or a perfect way to layout hardware in a workshop - nuts, bolts, nails, etc for an ongoing project. 

Or, you can use it to store the kids’ toys and electronics. Use your imagination and get every single room in your house organized - this is my ultimate plan. 

BONUS: Front Door Hook 

The set of magnetic hooks came with four. I put three in my kitchen, and the last one has solved a small but ongoing problem. I had yet to find a good place to keep my keys. Like the scrubbing brush in the kitchen, all I had to do was hammer a single nail. 

Never lose your keys again with this handy hook

My keys will now permanently live beside the door where they belong. As an added bonus, I will never lose track of my favorite hat. If it’s even slightly chilly, I love this hat because it’s warm and cute at the same time. In the summer, I’ll replace it with my go-to baseball cap. 

Such a small change has added such a great convenience to my everyday comings and goings. 

These Products Were a Godsend 

Organize your space for serenity

The versatility and functionality of these things have made an improvement to almost every room in my apartment! None of them created a huge, monumental change. But, the number of small changes I was able to make is going to be significant overall. 

Multiple things that I use on a daily basis are now more accessible and most importantly, more organized. 

Not only are they organized, but everything looks great. The products are designed in such a way that they are simple, neutral, and aesthetically pleasing. White goes with everything so I don’t have to worry about clashing colors. 

I’m also impressed with the quality. I don’t always love plastic, but in addition to looking great, all of these items are strong, sturdy, and durable. They also come with the advantage of being super easy to clean, should they ever get dirty. And knowing me and my zoo, they probably will! 

My mission for total order and serenity is far from over, but I’ve taken a few more steps in the right direction.

****

Check out my next steps as I tackle the kitchen in my second article in this series on organizing my new apartment: Organizing the Kitchen: How to Save Time and Space!


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