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Systems & Habits, the 2 Halves of Organizing

One of the most jarring realizations many people have as they work to get organized is that the process involves not just systems--weeding out what's not needed and then creating effective storage for the stuff that is--but also the development of habits that will keep those systems running smoothly and working like they should over the long term.

Finding the perfect sheets and comforter for your bed doesn't preclude making the bed each morning, and working with a personal trainer to develop a customized exercise plan doesn't mean you don't actually have to get yourself to the gym on a regular basis. By the same token, even the greatest organizing system will fall apart--quickly--if you don't get in the habit of using and maintaining it.

Here's a look at three common types of organizing systems, along with some basic maintenance habits, to get you thinking about organization as a two-part process.

System #1: Mail Processing System--those baskets, letter sorters, inboxes, or other containers you've labeled and placed near the door to collect mail that arrives.


System #2: Clothes Closet System--that neat setup with rods, drawers, and other clothes-organizing gadgetry.


System #3: Time Management System--your calendar (whether paper or electronic) and list of tasks and priorities.


You get the picture: every organizing system you have in your home or office, from the utensil drawer in the kitchen to the filing system at work to the shelves holding tools and sports gear in the garage, requires some essential maintenance habits to keep it working like it should.

This week, give some thought to the habits you can put in place to keep your systems free of clutter and running smoothly, and then challenge yourself to adopt a few of these habits by the end of the month.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Emily Wilska. All rights reserved.
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