Ditch the chaos: creating the environment for effective planning

Hey darlings! I've taken a spontaneous and unannounced hiatus from blogging and the lingering silence just got to me: it was time for a new post! On that note, no spoilers involved, but check out Mrs Brimbles's blog on Wednesday or Thursday for an upcoming guest post I've written for her, Filofax and planning-related, of course!

So on to our next order of business, I've taken a two-week vacation that involved an animation workshop and a lot of work on my end, and came back to a studio-room that was hit by a storm of post-packing disaster, paired with a suitcase full of things I've yet to put away. I am a tidy person by nature, but sometimes life just happens and I don't have the time to keep all of my stuff in their place, let alone my room in ship-shape. With my Filofax setup still unfinished, I kind of got into a slump of unproductiveness, just when, ironically, I have a shitload of work to do. I think all of you can relate to the feeling of unease and the struggle of planning your day-to-day life in an environment that's, well, not quite so planned out. So the natural next step was to dedicate 2 entire days for cleaning, tidying and organizing in order to create a favorable environment for planning out my work and actually doing it. I always struggle to do as I preach, so I've compiled a few tips for you guys that help you getting your life on track again with organizing, planning and having a work- and living space that doesn't enable lazyness and unproductiveness.

1. Take your time with organizing
This may be second nature for people with mild OCD like me, but for some of us, cleaning and organizing is merely a chore that has to be done as quick as possible in order to achieve apparent tidyness and to get on with our lives. That being said, effective cleaning and organizing should not only involve dusting off the surfaces and putting everything lying on the floor in closets, it should create an environment that helps, first and foremost, with saving time while tending to our day-to-day activities. A couple of things to consider during organizing (without spending a buttload of money on bins and other types of home-organizing systems):

2. Organize your closet effectively by season and use
This involves putting the clothes you tend to wear on the most reachable shelves or parts of you closet, ideally grouped according to types of clothing.

3. Put the things you don't use everyday away to avoid clutter
This may be obvious for those of us that have separate storing space or storage units in our home, but my room is quite small, I live and work out of it, and the things I tend to put away are photo albums or other memorabilia, sporting gear, electronics that I don't use, books that I don't read at the moment and don't fit on my bookshelf, camping gear, suitcases etc. I also don't like packing my shelves with knick-knacks, as cute as they may be, in a small room designed first and foremost to function as an office/workspace they just don't work.

3. Keep your desk and immediate workspace as clutter-free and tidy as possible
Without getting too OCD about it, your workspace is definitely the place to group, organize and label the tools you use regularly for work, in order for everything to be at easy reach. The system you use for organizing is obviously different for everyone, but for me, a graphic designer, animator and student, the most major trick is to keep only what I need for work and studying on and near my desk. I keep art books and textbooks at easy reach on my shelve, I keep the office supplies I use in a nearby drawer, I keep my university notes and works in binders labeled with the year and subject of those particular notes. A workspace is also the place to put inspiration, planning tools, and don't forget your beverage of choice and a scented candle for a more homey atmosphere!

4. ALWAYS organize by category 
This needn't only apply for you closet, it should be the core of your organizing system throughout your workspace, room, and whole house really. We are sometimes prone, especially in dealing with smaller spaces that tend to get cluttered easily, to shove things where there is space for them. My room, as I've previously said, serves both as a bedroom and as a working studio, this basically means two categories: grooming area and workspace. My grooming area contains my bed, two closets for clothes and a vanity, and my workspace is made up of a corner with my desk and two book shelves. I strive to never make the mistake of combining the two in any way, in order to keep both my personal and work life effective and make finding things that I need as easy as possible.

5. Be consistent with keeping up a tidy space
This seems to be the hardest aspect for all of us. Sometimes we have the boost, energy and time to clean and organize our spaces, but then life happens and clutter and dust builds up. This is something we just have to deal with, especially if we work or/and study full time. Consistency in organizing is essential, however, regarding the system we use. This goes also for our planner setup that I'll be discussing in another blog post shortly. Creating an effective organizing system in your workspace or any space really, is basically finding the place for everything, keeping surfaces as clutter-free as possible and organizing by category. That being said, achieving consistency in organizing means turning to that same system, over and over again, when we start to tidy up our space yet again. Putting your things away in their place yet again, categorizing it in the same way you always do will make finding them so much easier. Of course, you may change up your system from time to time to suite your needs better, when circumstances change, but be sure to stick to your core system as well as possible in the long run.