Does your life feel pretty chaotic? Would you like to learn how to organize your life so that it is simpler and less stressful?
Well, this blog post is for you!
Life can be difficult, and I completely understand that.
It can feel quite daunting to manage everything from paying bills, family life, retirement planning, and more.
On top of financial stress, many of us live with a lot of disorder and chaos. Some of us fill our houses with things we don’t need or will ever use. Some people have spending problems, live with debt, feel unsatisfied with their job, etc.
There is also a lot of emotional stress that comes when you live with so much mental chaos and clutter. You might feel depressed, anxious, have low self-esteem, etc. You may also start to compare your life to others — thinking that they have it so easy and are so much happier.
If you are feeling overwhelmed from the clutter of physical, mental, and financial stress, one of the best things you can do for yourself this year is to find ways to organize your life.
Learning how to organize your life can reduce stress, give you more time to focus on the things that matter most to you, and help you achieve what you want from your life.
Depending on your situation, organizing your life may sound difficult, but it starts with small changes. There is no reason to do everything on this list at once.
By starting small, you can begin to take control of your life. You will find that learning how to organize your life will help you waste less time and be more lively.
Today’s post has lots of tips for ways to simplify your life. Again, you don’t need to do everything on this list. Find one small thing that will improve your life — even if it’s something small like watching less TV.
I want you to think about your goals, what you actually appreciate in life, what makes you happy, and work towards eliminating the things you dislike and those that aren’t as essential.
As you start eliminating things that are wasting your time and causing you stress, you’ll find it much easier to work towards your goals and enjoy life more.
Here’s how to organize your life.
Spend less time on social media.
This one is my #1 tip for this year because I know we are all spending too much time on social media.
Stop and think about all of the social media sites you use throughout the day, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Then, think about when and where you’re doing it, like waiting in line somewhere, procrastinating at work, eating lunch, spending time with friends, etc.
All of those little amounts of time really add up, and I’ve read many statistics that say that the average person spends over five hours a day on social media!
FIVE HOURS A DAY!
I’m completely guilty of spending too much time on social media too. I use Facebook and Instagram to connect with friends and family while I travel. It’s also how I keep in touch with my readers.
But, there are times when I find myself scrolling through my feed and just zoning out. This is completely unproductive!
Besides wasting your time, spending too much time on social media can cause you to compare yourself to others or try to keep up with someone in a different situation. Those things can lead to negative feelings about yourself.
If this sounds familiar, I recommend getting off of social media. There are also apps that delete your Facebook feed, you can create time blocks so that you cannot access your accounts during certain periods of the day, and so on.
Related content: 100+ Things To Do Instead Of Social Media
Physically organize your life.
One of the best ways to organize your life is to start with the physical stuff in your home. These are things like going through closets, junk drawers, getting rid of clothes you no longer use, cleaning out your kitchen cabinets, and so on.
Because these are things you can see, you will feel some instant gratification and be motivated to keep organizing.
This is one of the best ways to make life easier, because being unorganized can cause you to waste a significant amount of time and can lead to late fees, stress, lost items, and more.
Here are some surprising statistics I found from Simply Orderly about being unorganized:
- The average person spends 12 days per year looking for things they can’t find.
- Every day, the average office worker spends 1.5 hours looking for things.
- In a recent survey, 55% of consumers stated they would save anywhere from 16 to 60 minutes a day if they were more organized.
- 23% of people pay bills late and have to pay late fees because they are unable to find their bills.
These statistics are all nuts! I can’t believe how much time the average person wastes because they’re unorganized.
As you simplify your home, you can donate or sell things you are no longer using. And, going through your stuff and seeing how much clutter you have in your life may help you think more carefully about purchases you make in the future.
Organize your finances.
Just like physical and mental clutter, many families have a lot of financial clutter too.
Financial clutter is stuff like having many different bank accounts (savings, checking, retirement accounts, student loans, credit cards, mortgage, car loan, and so on). Keeping track of all of those accounts can become very stressful.
One of the most helpful things you can do to organize your financial life this year is by downloading an app like Personal Capital.
Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your entire financial situation in one place. You can connect accounts, such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more. Plus, Personal Capital is FREE.
Declutter with the hanger trick.
The hanger trick is when you hang all of your clothes in the same direction. Then, as you wear something, you flip that item’s hanger so that it is opposite from where you first started.
At the end of the week, month, or season (whatever timeframe you want to use), you will see exactly which clothes you are wearing. Then you can decide if you want to get rid of some items, reicorportate things back into your closet, and so on.
Not only will this help you get rid of some clothing clutter and organize your life, it may help you save money by showing you how easy it is to buy clothes and only wear them a couple of times.
Watch less TV.
I am a huge advocate of watching less TV because I’ve seen what a big difference it has made in my life.
We cut out TV entirely when we were living in the RV, and while we go through short phases when we will watch a lot of TV, we have spent the last few months watching zero hours of TV.
The thing is, though, I used to watch way too much TV, and I have been so much more productive since cutting back on TV. That’s because I’ve been able to reclaim all of those hours I was wasting.
Considering that the average person watches about 35 hours of TV a week, just think about what you could do if you reclaimed just half of those hours every week!
That’s more time to spend with your friends and family, work on side hustles, get outside and enjoy the world around you, and more.
Related: 59 Things To Do Instead of Watching TV – Stop Watching TV!
Unsubscribe from useless emails.
Subscribing to emails is really easy to do. We’ve all done it to get a coupon code, at the cash register to get a receipt (isn’t that annoying?!), and sometimes you just mysteriously land on an email list.
Over the years, I’ve subscribed to plenty of different websites and companies. I used to get hundreds of unnecessary emails every day, and even though I set up tabs to organize my email, I was still spending so much time filtering through them.
It was tedious, and they were mostly junk. But, sometimes real emails got lost in the mix as well!
So, I unsubscribed from almost all emails, except for blogs that I enjoy and whatever is absolutely necessary.
Everything else has been removed.
Unsubscribing from useless emails is one of the simplest ways to change your life. That’s because you can cut down on the time it takes you to check your email.
If you find that you are spending a lot of time everyday checking, reading, and deleting emails, then I definitely suggest unsubscribing from the ones that aren’t meaningful to you.
You can find an unsubscribe button on the bottom of most emails, and it just takes a couple of clicks to get off an email list. This is one of the ways to organize your life that you’ll wish you did a long time ago!
Have a separate email to save on online shopping.
This is one of my favorite hacks to organize your life — have a separate email address for online shopping.
Simply set up a new email account that you give out to stores when they ask for it. You will still get promotions, coupons, and learn about sales, and those are things that can help you save money. But, those emails won’t clutter your regular inbox.
So, if you are sick of being inundated with sales emails but you also don’t want to miss out on a sale, then this may be something for you to try out.
Related: How To Simplify Your Financial Life – 12 Best Tips
Pay off your debt.
Life is so much easier without debt!
I know it’s easier to say pay off debt than actually do it, but paying off debt really is one of the best ways to simplify and organize your life this year.
Paying off debt isn’t just important to me as a personal finance blogger, it’s important to me because I actually know how being debt free allows you to finally start living the life you want.
When thinking about all the mental clutter we have, debt can be a huge contributor to that clutter. If you have debt, you are probably spending a lot of time stressing about how much you have, how you will ever pay it off, and so on.
Debt can cause a crazy amount of stress, and eliminating your debt as a way to simplify your life has endless benefits. Paying off your debt will lead to reduced spending, and that means you can set more aside for your long-term financial goals, like through investing or saving for retirement.
Whether you have student loan debt, credit card debt, car debt, or whatever else, paying it off will make managing your finances easier — there’s just less debt to stress about.
Related article: Want To Live Your Best Life? It Starts With Saving.
Meal prep for the week.
Meal prepping is an easy step to organize your life, and it’s something that anyone can learn how to do. Meal prepping can reduce stress thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner each night, help you save money on take out, and reduce food waste.
To make weekly meals easier, you can start meal prepping in advance, do a meal share with friends, sign up for a weekly meal planner, and more.
Note: If you’re looking for easy weeknight meals that are full of budget recipes, I recommend checking out $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every week for just $5.
Spend less time getting ready.
How much time do you spend getting ready each day? 20 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour or more?
I used to be someone who spent a lot of time in the morning picking out what I was going to wear. However, since we had to downsize to travel full-time, I had to get rid of a lot of my clothes. It was a little hard at first because I had so many, but I hardly spend any time getting ready now because I just don’t have as many clothes.
Downsizing your closet is one way to organize your life and reclaim some of the time you spend getting ready in the morning. If you’re not ready to downsize your closet, you can also pick out your clothes the night before or try a capsule wardrobe to save time getting ready.
There are many small things like this that are often overlooked and can add up to a lot of wasted time.
Start saying no more often.
One of the ways we add clutter to our life is by agreeing to more than we can actually handle.
So, if you are looking for an easy way to make your life easier and live your best life, then start saying no.
While I am a big fan of stepping outside of your box and saying yes to everything, there are some situations when you should probably say no.
Saying yes to everything can fill up your already busy schedule, force you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable, do things that don’t fit with your goals, and so on.
Think about everything you have said yes to in the past year, and ask yourself these questions:
- Did that bring me joy?
- Did the benefit of the task outweigh the stress it caused?
- Was I able to make a meaningful difference for myself or someone else?
If you find that the answer to these questions is mostly no, then perhaps that’s the answer you should be giving in the future.
Saying no may allow you to have more time to focus on what you truly want this year.
One of the biggest misconceptions about time management is that you save time by multi-tasking, but that’s not always the case. In fact, multitasking causes many people to waste time and become unproductive.
To change your life, you may want to try single tasking as a way to organize your life.
When you are switching back and forth between more than one task, you spend a lot of time and mental energy trying to refocus and restart what you were doing. That’s why many people cannot successfully multitask.
Think about your strengths and weaknesses to understand whether or not multitasking actually helps you save time. It’s possible that you can multitask some things, but other tasks will need your full one-on-one attention.
For the most part, you’ll be more effective if you focus on one task at a time. This will help you get things done faster so you can spend more time doing what you love.
Start waking up a little earlier.
Waking up just 15 to 30 minutes earlier than you need to get up in the morning can be an easy way to improve your life. Giving yourself a few extra minutes in the morning can help you start your day in a positive way.
You can spend that extra time doing a little cleaning around your house, responding to emails, organizing what you’re doing for the rest of the day, etc. Or, you can also spend that time enjoying a cup of coffee, reading a book, sitting in the quiet, and so on.
Waking up a little earlier will help you get in the right headspace to handle the rest of your day.
Pay expenses annually or semiannually.
There are some bills that you have to pay each and every month, but paying some of them annually or semiannually, is one of the many ways to organize your life.
There are bills like car and homeowners insurance that you can pay every six months or once a year. You will probably qualify for a discount if you set up annual or semiannual payments.
If you switch from monthly payments for those two bills, that’s two less bills to worry about each month!
You will probably have to adjust your monthly and yearly budget to do so, but looking at your budget and making adjustments is another good way to organize your life.
Have regular money talks with your partner.
One of the reasons that so many people have financial stress is because they aren’t talking to their partner about what is happening with their money. There are many couples where one partner doesn’t know how much the other makes, are unaware of how much they have invested, or have no clue how much debt they have.
How are you ever supposed to reach your financial goals if you have no idea what’s happening with your money?
Money shouldn’t be a taboo subject, especially for couples. Having regular money talks will start to make these conversations easier and help both parties understand what is happening with your finances.
Money talks can help you and your partner organize your life together, set goals, pay off debt, and save money. Instead of one person feeling like they are carrying all of the financial stress, both partners can work together and reduce that burden.
Your money talks should include things like creating a budget, talking about short-term and long-term goals, how to adjust your budget to make those goals happen, your financial fears and successes, and more.
If you’re nervous to start talking with your partner about money, you can start with just 10-15 minute conversations. Always go in with an open mind and try not to pass judgement.
Talking about your finances will make life more simple for both you and your partner because you can get on the same page and work on goals together.
Learn more at Check In On Your Finances With Regular Money Talks
Automate your payments to organize your financial life.
Automating your payments is a great way to organize your life because it’s something you can do in just a couple of hours. And, automating your payments will clear up a lot of the financial clutter I’ve already mentioned.
You can have your paychecks directly deposited into your bank account (many people still deposit their checks manually), you can auto pay your bills, you can even auto pay your monthly credit card payments. Sometimes, going paperless will give you discounts on some of the payments you make on a regular monthly basis.
Automating your payments can even make managing your budget easier!
Even though I check through all of my transactions and expenses, I still automate many of my actual payments so that I never have to worry about forgetting something or being late. Most of my expenses are similar from month to month, so I can usually just check the payment to see if everything is correct.
Save for your future.
Saving can make your life easier because you are making a plan for your future self!
Starting to invest for retirement now is incredibly important if you don’t want to work for the rest of your life, and you might even be able to retire early.
Investing is a powerful way to save because it means you are making your money work for you. If you weren’t investing, your money would just be sitting there and not earning a thing. Plus, the earlier you start investing, the more you’ll end up earning because investing is long-term financial planning.
The problem is that many people don’t know how to invest or don’t think they have enough money to get started. If you’ve never started investing, this is a great year to start, and you can learn more in How To Start Investing For Beginners With Little Money.
Set reminders on your phone’s calendar (or any calendar).
One of the things I regularly do to organize my life is to set reminders on my phone.
Anyone who knows me knows that I live and die by my to do list, haha!
If there is something coming up that I may not remember, I will create a reminder. This makes managing my life easier because I don’t have to worry about forgetting things, missing payments, etc.
Here are some of things I create reminders for:
- Business tasks and to-do lists.
- When it’s time to pay estimated quarterly tax payments.
- Renewing license plate tags for our cars.
- Paying semiannual bills, such as car insurance.
I’m always surprised by the number of people who don’t set reminders for things, because you can use them for anything! Plus, they do more than simplify your life, they can help you save money because you’re less likely to encounter late fees.
Be more positive.
I know what you’re thinking — How will this help me organize my life?!
Well, according to the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. (statistic found on Medium)
That is a lot of time wasted on negative thinking!
I spent some time thinking about these statistics and realized that I was wasting a lot of time on negative thoughts, too. I had no idea how easy it is to turn something so little and simple into something negative.
Changing your mindset from a negative one to a positive one can be hard to do, but adapting to positivity will really help you in the long run.
Negative thoughts like regret, guilt, and comparisons can cause a lot of mental clutter. All of that can prevent you from seeing what amazing things you have happening in your life.
When you find that you are thinking in a negative way, take a moment to think of something that makes you happy. Is it your family? Do you love what you do? Did someone do something nice for you today?
A positive outlook can be life changing. It gives you more time to focus on your goals, you’ll feel more confident, and you’ll realize that you can achieve much more than you realized.
Pay yourself first.
Paying yourself first is when you put money into savings as soon as you receive your paycheck. Another idea to pay yourself first is to put extra money towards paying off debt before anything else.
Paying yourself first is about prioritizing your long-term finances. You are putting your future first, and it’s something I definitely recommend.
The way it works is that you put money towards debt or savings before you pay any other bills or spend money on anything else. Try to think of savings (or debt) as the very first bill you have to pay each month.
Here are my tips so that you can pay yourself first:
- Take a look at how much you are currently saving and spending each month. Start tracking your spending a little more closely, and see if you can start reducing some of your spending. Calculate how much money you should be saving each month and set that aside at the beginning of each month.
- Make it automatic. Setting up automatic deposits from your paycheck to your savings account can make it easier to pay yourself first, and it’s just a good way to organize your life.
- Start with a small amount and work your way up to paying yourself more each month.
- If you feel like you don’t have enough money to pay yourself first, then you may want to find ways to cut your budget or make more money.
If you talk to anyone who has been able to save a lot of money, paying yourself first is most likely one of the things they have done. It quickly becomes a regular habit, and most people stop noticing the difference in what they have left to spend each month.
What are you doing to organize your life and simplify this year?
Milan @ Witty Companion says
You make some great points here! Thank you for sharing.
I have found that decluttering – both physical and digital, works wonders for my sense of organization and day-to-day productivity. It’s like a reset button that you can press every few weeks and get your personal, digital and your head space sorted out and ready for action!
All the best,
Milan from Witty Companion
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner says
Great to hear! I agree, it can definitely feel like a reset button.
Thanks for this article! It really is difficult sometimes to organize your life.
I really like the hanger trick, as well as using Personal Capital!
Andrea Russo says
You know, I didn’t realize how much the current world situation has affected me and my mental health. I woke up when I received my next order of breakfast cereal for six months and various jars of body products that I already have a lot left unused. My stress turned to mindless spending, and I don’t get that much money now that I can afford to make rash purchases.
And now I’m trying to find a balance in this situation, to regain control. Cleaning and decluttering help quite a bit.
Half of my stuff (which I haven’t worn in a very long time and probably would never wear again) I gave away for recycling and to those who need it more than I do. I threw out half of my unnecessary beauty products, old curtains and rugs, and all the stuff that keeps piling up with the idea that I might need it later. I also try to make separate lists of things I need as well as things I want. I buy the items I need right away, and the items I want are waiting in line on my list – if a week or two later I still need that product, then I’ll consider buying it.
I think the other tips in your article might be helpful for me too. I’ve never considered myself too stressed, but this pandemic has shaken my stability.
Being positive is crucial.