Note: I originally wrote this article for Mandi Ehman’s popular Organizing Your Way site. I didn’t want you guys to miss out on the tips, so I’ve included it here for you.
Being organized has all kinds of benefits – greater productivity, saved time, less stress and more motivation, to name a few.
But some organizing tasks give you a happiness hit, too. What a cool bonus!
Here are three of my favorite organizing things to do – all guaranteed to put a little spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Just try them and see – and let me know if you agree!
1. Make your bed
I’m not talking hospital corners and 25 fluffy pillows, here. Just the covers pulled up neatly and the pillows fluffed will make a difference.
There’s something about starting the day with your bed made that tells your subconscious you’re ready to face the world, and that adds a little pep to your mood.
It’s a lovely way to end the day, too. How nice to enter your bedroom after the day is done, and find a nice, inviting bed waiting for you.
If you aren’t a regular bed maker, take 3 minutes today to try it.
2. Savor surfaces
People who’ve lived a long time with clutter invariably get a happiness boost when they uncover the surfaces buried underneath. They love the clarity, the order, the absence of chaos.
Another reason clear surfaces make you happier is that the stuff lurking atop surfaces can prompt unpleasant feelings.
Like worry over bills left on the counter. Irritation about dust on ornaments that no longer bring pleasure. Stress that you haven’t gotten around to fixing something.
If you have a surface that’s muddying your mood – perhaps a counter, coffee table, dining table or dresser – then make today the day you give it a facelift. Spend 15 minutes today getting rid of anything you don’t use or love, putting away things that have a home, and finding a home for things that don’t.
3. Exchange too much past and future for more today
If you constantly feel disorganized then ask yourself these questions:
• How much of your disorganization relates to the past or future?
• How much of your clutter is pieces of the past you’re clinging to – clothes, mementos, yearbooks and journals?
• How much of your stuff is for a future that’s not part of your life today – sports or hobbies you’ll start one day, things you may need some time in the next century?
There’s nothing wrong with mementos or plans – both can add meaning to your life. But if these things are crowding out your life today, then you’re paying for them with happiness.
Instead, let some – or all – of them go, and make room for a little more of the present. Spend 30 minutes today clearing away the things in your life that are keeping your focus on yesterday or tomorrow, instead of today.
A 48-minute happiness prescription
So here’s my happiness prescription for you today:
• 3 minutes to make your bed
• 15 minutes to clear a surface
• 30 minutes to release past- or future-focused things from your life.
Take your happiness temperature after completing these steps and see how you feel.
But please don’t wipe the smile off your face.