Disorganization can happen in our lives for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is what Vicki calls Situational Disorganization. This type of chaos is often brought on by a life event – or series of events – that cause a downward spiral as things get more and more out of control. The result is often seen in our homes as once-organized areas suffer from the onslaught of clutter.
Situational disorganization can be precipitated by anything ranging from unexpected illness to divorce to family crisis to even just a really long stretch of busyness. Regardless of the reason, one of the first and most common types of clutter comes from the buildup of paperwork. Home offices, kitchen counters, and dining room tables begin to bear the brunt of what’s going on in your life. They become general catch-alls, holding piles of unsorted paperwork, unopened junk mail, and important documents.
The constant influx of paperwork can be overwhelming, but the solution is to simplify the task of filing it as much as possible. You can accomplish this by doing a few things:
1. Create a runway for paper to land and take off. Whether it’s a desk in an office or a corner in your kitchen, carve out space to be the “landing zone” for any and all paperwork. This will be the designated place for all incoming mail, documents, receipts, etc.
2. Set up a simple sorting system. For most people, all you will need is a “To File” bin, a “To Do” bin, and a “To Read” bin. Pretty much everything will fit in one of those three categories. A fourth bin you might consider is one specifically designated to collect tax-related documents.
3. Establish an easy filing system. After macro sorting, your papers will need to be further organized into one of four common categories: Personal, Finances, Household, and Medical. Within each of those four categories, create subcategories such as Auto, Baking, and Home in finances. Assign each sub-category folders with the same tab position to make things easy to find.
Another part of your home likely to suffer from situation disorganization are the “out of sight, out of mind” spaces – like closets. Reclaiming these areas of your home starts with these steps:
1. Clarify and simplify. Before you can get the mess clean, you might have to make it worse – AKA pull everything out of the closet so you can sort it. As you sort, remember your goal: to simplify your stuff.
2. Keep the system simple. Your organizational system doesn’t have to be fancy to work. In fact, the simpler and more functional, the better it will serve you and the more likely you’ll be to keep it up.
3. Prioritize consistent use. Make your life easier by creating easily accessible space for the items you reach for most often. It’ll save you time not having to search for things and money not accidentally buying duplicates simply because you can’t locate it.
Situational disorganization can easily happen to the best of us. No matter what curveball life has thrown at you causing your home to suffer, there is hope always hope! For more tips and real-life inspiration, be sure to watch Vicki’s segment about Situational Disorganization on More Good Day Oregon:
- Learn more about our Professional Organizing Services
- Read Vicki’s book “Reclaim Your Life and Get Organized for Good” to learn about more causes of disorganization and what to do about them. Available in paperback or as a download.
- Want to do-it-yourself? Check out our Paper Organizing DVDs