It may seem a bit 'new age' but you need to change your relationship with your stuff.
Acclaimed declutterer Marie Kondo sees tidying as a cheerful conversation in which anything that doesn’t “spark joy” is to be touched, thanked and ceremonially sent on its way towards a better life elsewhere, where it can discover a more appreciative owner. Instead of deciding what to get rid of, turn it around and focus on what to keep. Think about each item and whether it sparks joy or usefulness and whether it is truly necessary.
1) Have less stuff – sounds obvious but the less you have to organise or distract you, the more productive you will be. Simplify your belongings and have a strict one-in, one-out policy for new purchases. When clearing out cupboards or putting things away, take a moment to decide if you really want that item and don’t put off decisions for another time. Don’t allow clutter to build up and stay away from bargains – ‘three for two’ and ‘50%’ off’ doesn’t always represent good value if you didn’t need it in the first place.
2) Choose simple solutions that can become incorporated into your daily habits and routines. You don’t need to spend a fortune on storage solutions or complicated systems, just simple, practical and common sense tools that make your life easier. Have hooks on the backs of doors in utility areas, a shallow dish by the front door for keys and loose change, a basket at the bottom of the stairs for taking things up and down, and separate in-trays for paperwork that needs to be looked at and filed. Ziploc bags have a multitude of uses around the home and are cheap and simple.
3) Organisation needs constant upkeep - don’t leave things to build up, just spend a few minutes each day staying on top of things. Never drop something in a random pile to deal with another time, it will take twice as long to look for it when you need it, than to put it away properly in it’s place in the first place. Make sure you start and end each day with everything in its place.
4) Set priorities; don’t waste time – have a clear sense of what is important and use this to create deadlines and set goals. Start the day with a clear plan of your most important tasks and don’t get sidetracked. Review the plan throughout the day if needs be and adjust or re-prioritize but stick to the plan.
5) Being organised will help you to get back in control of your life and reduce the anxiety and guilt associated with not being able to see tasks through. Think of every minute spent as an investment - it will save you twice the time in the long run of constantly chasing your tail to put things right.
6) Get rid of your "just-in-case' items. In most cases, any item you've been hanging on to "just in case" can be replaced in less than 20 minutes for less than £10 from a charity shop or online, for example an out of date travel guide to France kept just in case you ever visit France. Many JICs will never see their save-the-day moment.