A simple way to stay organized and create new habits is to become mindful of the things you add to your home and life. For each new item you add, decide to remove something old. So, if you add a new shirt to your closet, take out an old one. If you add an exercise class to your weekly schedule, subtract the equivalent amount of time from another activity such as web-surfing or watching television.

1 New Thing Minus 1 Old Thing = Zero Clutter Added

This strategy can also help you stay focused on achieving a goal, organizing, or otherwise. Instead of working on ten new habits at once, pick one new habit that moves your life forward, and find a competing old habit to subtract. For example, you could add the habit of drinking green tea in the morning, and eliminate your mid-morning diet soda. Or add the habit of spending fifteen minutes a day decluttering, and shed the habit of waiting to tackle your organizing projects in longer, more laborious sessions.

It all adds up to this simple formula for getting and staying organized:

1 new thing minus 1 old thing equals zero clutter added

Now that’s an equation that works for me! How about you? What’s one habit or goal you’re trying to add into your schedule, and what’s something you can let go of to make time for it?

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

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