Several years ago I read a book titled The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark. The topic of the book was home organization, but the author took an approach that was entirely new to me. The gist of it was this: instead of spending so much time cleaning up your house as is, take the time to set up your home in a way that it will clean itself.
She recommended you take time to really evaluate your home, including taking pictures to give yourself a new perspective, keeping an eye out for messy spots in the home, and to get really, really specific about the types of things you were always cleaning (be it toy blocks, laundry, shoes, school bags, etc.). Once you knew what was causing most of the cleaning issues, you could brainstorm extremely specific solutions for those issues.
She shared one story of how her kids' backpacks would always get dumped in the hallway after school, meaning the entrance to their home was always cluttered looking. Instead of trying to train her kids to walk their backpacks to their rooms, she thrifted a thin chest she could keep in her hallway and voila, the cleaning issue went away. Her kids could just as easily plop their backpacks in the chest as they could the ground, and suddenly the home looked nicer, with practically no effort given to "cleaning" in the way we typically think about it. The author even admitted that the chest would have never been a piece of furniture she would have chosen for it's aesthetic qualities, but it was far nicer looking than the consistent clump of backpacks that were previously in her entryway. A little investigation, a little brainstorming to find a solution, and a thrifted piece enabled her to have a hallway that "cleaned itself".
How Mental Organization is Like Home Organization
By now you might be wondering why I'm spending so much time talking about a cleaning book, when we're a company that focuses on planners and productivity. The reason is that it occurred to me this week that our planner does for your brain exactly what this book encouraged you to do for your home... it teaches your brain to organize itself, in a way that becomes increasingly intuitive (in other words, in a way that will take a lot less work once established).
Just like the concepts behind The House that Cleans Itself, there is some upfront work that is needed to get to a point where your brain will organize itself. You have to know your problem areas, you have to be willing to do the work to brainstorm solutions, you have to let go of perfectionism and go instead with what works for you, and you have to find rhythms that fit into what you already intuitively do, instead of trying to fit yourself into cut-and-paste productivity solutions.
But if you're willing to do the work, then you will find increasingly that you're giving less mental bandwidth to keeping everything in order, and more mental bandwidth to the things you care most about, whether that is your business, homeschooling your children, volunteer work, or a favorite hobby.
If a brain that organizes itself sounds exciting to you, and you're ready to put in the work to get to that point, check out the resources below to get started!