7 Tips For Adapting Your Organization Strategies To Different Life Phases

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The older I get, the more I realize that our lives have distinct chapters which are defined by different life phases.

But there is a common thread throughout  the basic organization remains the same.

As a professional organizer, I remind my clients that organizing is never one and done. You can not ever organize once, walk away, and expect to never organize that spot again.

You are living your life. Living means growth and changes. The organizing you use must change with you or it will not work for you.

The trick is to embrace flexible organization in your different life phases so that it serves you best instead of you serving the system. Acknowledge the habits and routines that work for you.

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Here are 7 things to keep in mind as you embrace flexible organization in your different life phases.

1. What is the best time of day for you?

Are you a morning person? Great!

Understanding that can turn into a habit of getting up early which will serve you well. Use that time to do some light chores, meditate, or exercise.

Maybe you use that time to prep the evening meal or make lunches for school. Knowing that this early morning time is your time to use as you see fit will only help in the long run.

If your best time to get things done is at night, don’t force yourself to do things in the early morning. You’ll just get frustrated.

2. Do you like to keep things put away or where you can see them?

Are you more comfortable with a neat stock of goodies that are hidden behind drawers and cabinets? Or do you prefer to have everything in a place where you can see it and access it easily?

Figure out where you like to keep everything and what's comfortable for you.

If you like things to be put away and out of sight, teach the members of your family where to return things. Before even having children, you may need to teach your partner that you like things to be put away.

When children are very young, you do this for them. As they grow up, they can do this for themselves.

On the other hand, if you like to have things out in the open, the organizational strategy will be to use vertical spaces and open cubbies.

Most of the places to return things will be visually obvious. The trick here is to make sure these open storage spaces don’t get cluttered with things that don’t belong.

3. Embrace flexible organization when a life event happens.

Life events can be happy: marriage, a new baby, moving  or sad: divorce, death, accident, extreme weather.

How you deal with them in large part depends on the strength of your organizational skills.

Evaluate the routines you can maintain in this new phase of your life and decide which part of the organizing strategies you can tweak to work for you now.

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4. Adjust your habits and routines.

A new marriage means you need to get ready to compromise.

Between the two of you, you create new routines and habits for your home life.

If your partner leaves dishes in the sink and you don't like that, do you cave and do the dishes? Or does the person who put the dishes in the sink do them without complaint when it's brought up?

The same can apply to laundry and other household chores.

5. Children add an entirely new element.

When you have a child, you are organizing yourself and for your child until they are old enough to organize themselves.

Allow the organizing you and your partner have created together to expand to include this new person.

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Factor in more time for your morning routines, or think about adding a strategy or two in the evening to prepare for the day to come.

6. Make decisions.

If you inherit a lot of stuff because of a death in the family, you must make a decision.

Do you rent a storage unit temporarily to take the surplus? Or do you decide to get rid of some of your furniture to make room for the things you’ve inherited?

It’s important to think about these things and to review your options before it happens.

Unfortunately, something like this usually occurs when you're also grieving the loss of a loved one, making it one of the worst times to make decisions.

Rely on the good habits and routines you’ve cultivated over the years to help you reorganize your belongings.

7. Flexible organizing means you need to be adaptable

When you don’t adjust the organization to fit each new phase of your life, the organization falls apart.

Be flexible and honest with yourself. Just because something doesn’t work for you now doesn’t mean that it's wrong forever.

Take the parts that still work and then mindfully create new habits and routines to follow in this different life phase.

Think about organization as a tool that you incorporate into your daily life to allow you to live your best life possible.

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Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone consultation.