How to Organise a Chaotic Life: 8 Quick Tips

A white room with a white Eames chair to the left of a white container unit, on the top of which is a cactus in a white pot. Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash.
Organising chaos can feel daunting, but it’s actually done in small, manageable steps. By focusing on the big picture, it’s too easy to become overwhelmed and give up. Instead, take it one step, one area at a time. The benefits gleaned from this approach will carry over into other areas of your life.

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Having an organised life can feel liberating. And save you time. The same can be said for a tidy home. For many of us though, attaining any such level of organisation can feel out of reach. That’s because we tend to focus on the overwhelm of everything as a whole, without zooming in on the much more manageable baby steps it takes to get there. I’m still learning every day how to organise a chaotic life myself!

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If you feel like you’re swimming against a tide of chaos at home, being consistent and simplifying things wherever possible can help. Here are eight super simple tips to help keep the chaos at bay and live more simply.

1. Let Good Be Good Enough

Swedes live by a philosophy of lagom or “just enough,” and the French have their laid-back attitude of laissez-faire.  Both lines of thought can be adopted to live more simply. Striving for less perfectionism not only takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders—it also helps clear the chaos in your life because it reduces overwhelm.

Let good be good enough and allow things to unfold. You won’t be spending hours upon hours perfecting or correcting something, and it really makes a lot of things in your life easier. A-type personalities might struggle at first with a mindset like lagom, but it does help make life less chaotic when you stop overthinking and just let things be.

2. You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

When it comes to organising things around the house, a great question to take as your north star is: would others also be able to intuitively find this item if they were looking for it?

You neither have to get ultra creative when organising, nor do you have to copy ideas that don’t suit your household. Simple solutions do the trick at home more often than not. For example, if you live alone and are tight on space, you probably don’t need to have three different hampers and elaborately label them all for separate white, coloured, and hand-wash laundry. One hamper will likely do fine. Get a nice one you like!

3. Bid the Ballast Farewell

Don’t hang on to any junk just because you have nowhere to toss it. Get a compartmentalised waste bin so you have a place to dispose of recyclables, paper, and old batteries in addition to regular trash. When you have an organised garbage system in place,  you’ll be far less likely to let things pile up around the house.

Get rid of advertising gimmicks and freebies you have no use for. Also, toss out flyers and advertisements as they come into your home. This way the chaos has less of a chance to build up on your flat surfaces like countertops.

4. Everything In Its Place

Imagine every item in your house is magically attached to where it’s stored. Every time you grab the shoehorn from the shoe cabinet, pull out a book from the shelf, or fetch a screwdriver from the toolbox, put it back when you’re done. It’s that easy to keep your place tidy.

You might have some things that don’t really have a home yet. Perhaps something someone gave you, something broken (more on this below), or a random item you purchased to give as a present at some point. For stuff like this, use a small basket or container to corral it all. Then make a concerted effort to sort it out every month or so, and find a place for everything.

5. Store Like With Like

Things that belong together should ideally be stored together. It truly makes life easier. If you stow your sewing machine in a cabinet near your desk, keep its pedal and all your thread, fabric scissors and other sewing utensils in the same cabinet. Next time the craft bug bites, you have everything at hand, all in one place.

You can easily apply this principle in the kitchen or bath, as well.

6. Keep Frequently Used Stuff Within Reach

Keep your most-used stuff at arms’ length at your desk, hobby area, and in the kitchen. Go to your workspace and spread out your arms. Pretty wide, right? That’s your main zone. This is where you should keep everything you use regularly. Your notebook, writing utensils and mobile charger would all be within this range at your desk, for example.

The rest of this main zone should be relatively clutter-free so that you can focus on your tasks at hand. That means clearing out any superfluous decor, rubbish, and anything else unrelated to this zone.

7. Don’t Forget Your Evening Shift

Don’t worry, I don’t mean you have to start working nights. But when you’re about to go get ready for bed, do a quick tidy-up before you turn out the lights.

Bring any cups, glasses or empty crisp packets (😬) from the sitting room back to the  kitchen. Tidy the pillows on the couch. Wipe the countertop. Toss your dirty clothes into the hamper, and put your work or school bag by the front door for the morning. Doing these micro tasks makes a huge difference to how you start your next day. Plus, getting into this habit at the end of every day makes cleaning throughout the week a whole lot  easier.

8. Stay on Top of Small Repairs

That light fixture which fell over and broke last spring? Those boots in need of new soles? The tablet with the cracked display? How long have they all been waiting for their repairs? If it’s been over half a year, it’s time to get ruthless and make a decision.

If you’ve had broken things lying about for months, you might not really need or want them  anymore. After all, if they were important to you or if you missed them, you would have had them repaired by now.

Let them go! If you can’t bear the thought of parting with them, get them repaired within the next couple of days.

It’s amazing how a few simple habits and routines can make a big difference in your day-to-day. If you’re wondering how to organise a chaotic life, remember you don’t have to do everything all at once. You don’t have to do things perfectly either. Just pick one or two areas to start with. Create daily micro habits to stay organised, and build from there.

Asian woman with long dark hair pulled back, wearing an all black outfit and black apron, tidying up the pillows on her cream colored couch as part of her tidying routine in how to organise a chaotic life.
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