Productivity Tip: Time To Tidy Up…Efficiently!

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Several weeks ago I covered the word “tidy” in The Hidden Power of Words series here on the blog. (You can revisit the entry here, but I’ll quickly recap: the original definition of the word “tidy” meant “timely,” or “opportune.” It was only later on that the meaning of the word changed to the definition with which we are familiar today). I thought I’d do a little productivity tip today on how to be efficient at tidying…thereby saving you time!

When it comes to doing a tidy-up in a room or small area, I suggest working with similar items at one time. Doing so frees up your mind to deal with the task at hand, and not tax your brain with the extra step of identifying an item, then another item, and then what to do with them all.  For example, if you set out to tidy up a pile of clothes you’ll most likely make one of the following decisions: 1) Is this piece of clothing dirty or clean?, and 2) Do I need to hang it back up or fold it? Most likely you’ll be working in the same general area too; the closet, dresser or hamper in or near your bedroom.

Now, compare the former approach to trying to figure out what to do with clothes, a stack of papers, the contents of your bag and your favorite sets of DVDs, all the while flitting about from one set or type of item to another. Your mind has to do a bit more processing in the latter method; so why make the work harder for yourself?

Having said that, what are the different ways you can tidy up a room? You could tidy items of a similar kind:

  • Clothes
  • Papers
  • Shoes
  • Mail
  • Office supplies
  • Canned food stuffs
  • Books
  • Those receipts you never get around to

Or you could decide to tidy up a small, defined area:

  • Top of a dresser
  • Top of a vanity
  • Small area of the counter in the kitchen
  • Desktop of your computer
  • Small section on the top of your work desk
  • Section of a shelf in a bookcase
  • Contents of your wallet
  • One pocket of your bag or purse

Whatever similar items or small, defined area that you decide to tidy, remember this isn’t a full-blown organizing session. It’s just a little tidy session to get your belongings back in order.

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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