It may not sound as pleasant as a long hot bath with a glass of wine, treating yourself to a facial or journaling, but organizing really is a form of self-care. If your finances, your home and your life in general are disorganized, it can be difficult to move forward or even to keep treading water. The good thing about organization is that once you’ve completed the initial process, you don’t have to keep doing it over and over again; you only need to maintain it. The tips below can help you improve and simplify your life throughout organization.
It’s no wonder money is such a big source of anxiety for so many people. It seems like you’re perpetually spending too much, not saving enough or not making enough. However, getting your finances organized with a budget and plans to pay off debt and build savings can quiet some of the low-key anxiety running in the background of your life. There are a number of apps that can help you with budgeting. As for debt, conventional wisdom is that you should focus on paying down the high-interest debts first although it may give you a psychological boost if you can quickly pay off a few small debts whatever their interest rate.
You should also look into whether you can reduce the amount you owe through other means, which means both attacking your debt aggressively and saving money. If you have student loans, you can change your relationship with them by refinancing. It only takes a few minutes to find out whether you could shorten the length of your loan through refinancing and take on a more favorable interest rate. The money you save could be put toward a home, emergency savings or a retirement account.
There are professional organizers who can come out and help you get your home in order, and if you genuinely feel overwhelmed, this might be the place to start. However, you may be able to do it yourself if you just have the right mindset. One way to break down the task is to work in zones. This would mean that rather than attacking an entire room, you might just deal with your desk in the corner to start with or maybe even just the paperwork piled on top of it. Have three piles or boxes that represent discard, keep and maybe, and sort things as quickly as possible. Be ruthless, and try not to get stuck with too many things in your “maybe” stack. Once you have decluttered your home, avoid returning to the previous chaos by making sure there is a place for everything.
If you feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels for a while, it might be time to take stock of your life and goals and whether you are doing what you need to do to achieve your dreams. Think about creating a five-year plan and what kind of short-term goals you’ll need to put in place to support it. Write down your medium-term and short-term goals, and return to your goals list from time to time to make sure that you are still on track.