10 Signs It's Time to Get Organized

an organized desk

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How can you tell when it’s time to start organizing your space, your schedule, and your life? The signs are quite clear once you begin to pay attention. Often they involve feeling a lack of control, having a slip in productivity, or making preventable mistakes.

Here are 10 common signs you need to get organized, along with tips to manage them.

  • 01 of 10

    You Accidentally Miss an Appointment

    person writing in a planner

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    Missing a meeting can happen for a legitimate and unpredictable reason, such as a family emergency. But if you forget an appointment for no good reason, it could be a sign you're lacking some organization. This is especially true if it happens more than once. If this sounds like you, aim to develop a daily routine, so you're used to following a schedule.

  • 02 of 10

    You Don’t Know What You Own

    closet cleanout

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    If you keep finding items you forgot you bought or you've purchased duplicate items because you didn't remember buying them the first time, it's a sign you need to organize your stuff. Regularly clean out closets and other storage in your home. Take inventory of your possessions, and get rid of anything you're not going to use anymore to reduce clutter.

  • 03 of 10

    You Keep Misplacing Commonly Used Items

    catch-all basket

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    Yes, everyone can be forgetful and make mistakes. But if you’re regularly losing track of your keys, wallet, glasses, or other everyday necessities, it might mean your organizational system is breaking down somewhere. Consider using a small storage basket in an accessible spot where you can place such items, so they don't become scattered and go missing around your space.

  • 04 of 10

    You Get Frustrated by Mundane Tasks

    organized closet

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    When mundane tasks, such as putting away laundry, become stressful, that could be an indicator that something about the process is disorganized. For example, maybe putting away your laundry is annoying because your closet is overstuffed. If that's the case, try to pare down your wardrobe and invest in a closet organizer.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    You Find You’re Always Shopping

    sorting items

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Sometimes when you think you need more stuff, it’s just because the stuff you already own is so poorly organized that it's not functional for you. Decluttering and organizing your belongings, especially those stashed in storage areas, will clarify what you already have and whether you’re unintentionally accumulating duplicate items. Many professional organizers suggest "shopping" in your own closets before you shop at stores.

  • 06 of 10

    You Can’t Locate Items You Know You Have

    putting items away after use

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    If you’re always searching for items you know you have somewhere, it’s time to establish an organization system where everything you own has a dedicated “home.” Get in the habit of returning everything to its proper place once you're done using it. That way, you'll know where to look the next time you need it, and the rummaging will stop.

  • 07 of 10

    You’re Easily Distracted

    organized workspace

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    Clutter isn’t just unattractive; it can also be a big distraction. If you can’t seem to get anything done, clear the clutter from your workspace and see what happens. Remember that even hidden clutter—e.g., documents inside a storage box waiting to be sorted—can drain your mental energy. And keep in mind that clutter isn’t just a problem when it comes to concentrating at work. It can also be a visual or mental obstacle to relaxation.

  • 08 of 10

    You’re Feeling Drawn to Organizing Products

    storage items

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Feeling the need for new shelving, storage baskets, or other organization products can signal dissatisfaction with your current organization system (or lack thereof). But you can't just stock up on myriad storage bins and expect your organization woes to resolve. First, you must sort through your disorganized items and get rid of things you're not using. Then, use organization products to store what's left.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    You Feel Overwhelmed

    person writing out a to do list

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    At some point, almost everyone feels like they have too much to do. And it is possible that you have more things to do than the hours in the day allow. But you can’t know for sure until you learn to manage your time. Create an organized to-do list for yourself, and prioritize what needs to get done each day. If there are too many priority items, you'll need to step back and determine how you can change that so you're not overwhelmed. However, you also might realize you have time for all of your priority items if you plan ahead and strategically space them out.

  • 10 of 10

    You’re Ashamed of Your Space

    messy bedroom

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Maybe you're avoiding inviting people to your home because you don't want them to see your disorganized space. Or perhaps you personally feel guilty every time you look at your messy home. These are surefire signs you need to get organized, so you can feel proud of your home. You don't have to tackle your entire home all at once. Do a little bit every day organizing room by room, and before you know it you'll have control over the clutter.