Get Organised: Lessons From a Declutterer

Being organised is key to a clear mind and productive workflow. A messy desk (for me) is an extra stress I don’t need. Sure, sometimes things need to get messed up in the process of creativity. However, being able to return everything to its set place, will save you so much time in the long run.

An organised desk with diary, lamp and pencils

Ease

The aim of the game here, is making your life easier. I used to organise people’s homes through Task Rabbit. At the end of each job, I could see the look of contentment on the clients’ face. Having an organised space gives you room to breathe and saves you time, as you can actually find things! I took a lot from watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. When sorting, she takes the time to acknowledge each item, which although takes a while, makes you consider if you really need it.

Another particularly inspiring show is Sort Your Life Out. Stacey Solomon and her team take absolutely everything out of a home, lay it out in a massive warehouse, grouped by category and then start pairing down. The amount of things people stuff into their houses is astounding.

You can do this at home, on a smaller scale (as not all of us have warehouses). For example, take everything out of your kitchen cupboards and lay them out, grouped by category. Decide how many ketchups you actually need, then choose clever positioning to re-organise. Then use clear storage jars to decant your food, so you can see how much you really have. Then store any ‘overflow’ foods/stock in a dedicated area. Keep the things you use most at an accessible height and anything else higher up. Finally, re-asses often if everything is working, or could something make sense if it was elsewhere?

Kitchen organised with glass cabinets

Organisation in Business

Being organised can save you time and hassle in your business. Here are some ways it can make you more productive:

-Having your files named and saved in the correct place means you can find them quicker.

-Noting down which meetings you are having and with whom, can stop you from forgetting.

-If all your employees can access files easily in a shared online space, and you know who made what edit, this negates confusion.  

-If your employees work shifts, moving to an online system to track who will be in, when, will save you on a lot of admin time.

Health Benefits

Beaumont.com lists the health benefits of being organised as:

Stress relief. As an endless to-do list that doesn’t get tackled is a headache we don’t need.

-Better sleep. Clutter in your bedroom can cause you to lose sleep and makes worrying more prevalent.

-Increased ‘me time’. Having more time to focus on the things you like to do rather than worrying about a lack of cleanliness/organisation.

-Healthier lifestyle Prepping your meals for the week and writing a shopping list helps you stay on track with any health goals, and avoids overbuying.

-Being more productive at work, you can be more focused on your work and limit distractions with an organised space.

“As you work hard to clear away the piles and never-ending projects, your brain will rest easy and make it easier for you to feel relaxed and happy.”

Intermountain healthcare

Now my partner might tell you that I am too organised. Often sorting his papers and things that have been lying around, only to forget where I organised them to. So, there is such a thing as over-organisation, maybe I need to be less precious about the order of things. A happy medium between a few files out of place and a space that doesn’t allow you to let your hair down is preferable.

Attention to detail

Along with being organised comes attention to detail. I do call myself picky when it comes to getting jobs done. It is this attention to detail that can put you streets ahead of your competitors. Actually, clarifying what the client means on a point you find vague, rather than guessing, won’t show you to be incompetent, but rather, shows that you care about your clients’ project.  

On every voiceover job, I send my clients a list of questions before I hit record (these can also be discussed over the phone). These include how they want phone numbers grouped and checking the pronunciation of complicated words. These negate the need for unnecessary pickups and makes both of our lives easier. My clients often say that I ask the right questions on jobs and am thorough. Two things I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t so organised.

During the build of this website I was very pernickety about things like spacing and text sizes. The wonderful Helen Bee wasn’t phased and took on all my comments and requests. I now have (what I like to think) is a well organised and easy to navigate site. It’s easy for clients to listen to my demos, find out more about me and contact me, which are the main three goals of a voiceover site.

I credit my organised nature to my mother. Tidying up became a part of daily life and I always had to put one toy away before getting out another. I am even more organised than her these days, recently sorting out her messy cupboard. See the before and after, with everything grouped by category.

Voiceover Profiles

Voiceover Profiles is a directory of voice talent for all sorts of projects, that puts voice first. Our home studios were quality control checked and only 14 voiceover artists got through the first round of auditions. I am proud to say that I made it into that first group and have no doubt that this was because of my organisational skills. We were asked to name files in a certain way and upload a particular file type. It is this attention to detail that shows you will take care of a clients’ project, and meet all their specific needs.

There is a real variety of voices on there, with different accents and tones. If my voice doesn’t suit your project, there is a pool of vetted voices that might.

Top Tips

Now a lot of us are working from home, it is more important than ever to think about getting it in order. There is no point having an organised home office only to step out into chaos on your lunch break.

Tips for keeping organised at work

-Take five minutes at the end of each day to clear your workspace. Sort your papers, take your mug to the kitchen and put the biscuit crumbs in the bin 😉

-Sort out your desktop so you only have the most used apps on there, and limit them to two columns.

-Set aside time once a week to sort your emails into folders (or delete).

-Start naming all your files in the same way, this will make it much easier to find them later.

-Periodically go through all the notes you have on different scraps of paper, type them up or write them in a dedicated place.

-If you find you are asking the same questions on projects, have a template of these in a word doc/draft email so you can grab them easily.

-Use a CRM system to organise your contacts and prospects. I like Nimble, as you can move people around in your pipeline and set reminders to follow up.

-Find a planner that works for you, whether that be a paper one, open on your desk or in electronic form. Set yourself reminders to check in with your goals and tasks.

-Use a site like Trello or Notion to make to-do lists and see all the projects you are working on at once.

A desk with a to-do list and planner

Tips for keeping organised around the house

-Use clear boxes for storage so you can see everything you have, as out of sight really is out of mind.

-In your kitchen, keep all similar things together, one cupboard for glasses, one for plates etc. Don’t let random things creep in.

-Use Lazy Susans for your bottles and plastic steps for tin cans in your kitchen, so you can see and access everything easily.

-For your wardrobe, take all your clothes out, group them into similar items. Go through each item one by one and asses if you wear it and love it, if not, out it goes. Then hang them back up, keeping similar items together.

-Your issue might be that you simply don’t have the space to put everything. Could you swap your bed for an ottoman storage one? Have your loft boarded? Add shelves to your cupboard under the stairs?

An organised wardrobe with clothes hanging and a white chair infront

Conclusion

The health benefits and knock-on effects of being organised are clear. Consequently, organising your space and your workflow saves you time and hassle in the long run; so putting aside time to declutter your workspace/home should be given more of a priority. If you feel overwhelmed there are always professional declutterers that can help restore calm to your space.

As an anecdote: I was once sent a message by a nudist about organising his home. He offered me a very good rate, but I politely declined!


Feature Image by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

Desk photo by Kris Gerhard on Unsplash

Kitchen photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Bed photo by Logan Nolin on Unsplash

Cupboard photo by Sophie Dean

To-do list photo by Marissa Grootes on Unsplash

Wardrobe photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

Like this article?
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn