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I’m not one to be too organized. I love the idea of organization, and I start out every year with the idea of making this the year to be organized. I stick with it for a while, and then…well, you know the rest.
If organization is not in your blood, don’t fear, it’s still possible. The key is to start small and work your way up. If you take on too much, it can become overwhelming, and you give up.
If you plan to start out the new year with a new plan, try implementing a few of these steps, and see if you’re feelin’ a bit more organized and less overwhelmed come June.
Use a Planner/Calendar
I bought a gorgeous planner from Living Well Spending Less and I love it. I’ve also used Lang Calendars in the past. I don’t need anything super detailed. In my case, the planner or calendar becomes something that I have in front of me to remind me of upcoming appointments, blog posts I want to write, or something I know I will forget if I don’t write it down.
Spend a Few Minutes Picking Things Up
I tend to get distracted easier when the house is a mess. After I drop the kids off at school, I come home and spend about 20 minutes picking things up around the house. It makes me feel a little bit accomplished, and I can sit and get started on a blog post without distraction. Don’t feel like it needs to be perfect. Save perfection for another day, and just do a quick pick-up.
Plan Out Meals In Advance
One of my biggest challenges is planning a meal in advance. I tend to start thinking about dinner around 3 p.m. By that time, it’s too late to take something out of the freezer. I end up having to run down to the store, purchase some chicken or meat, and come home and scramble something together for dinner. Not planning ahead creates a lot of wasted time running around trying to find things to cook. It can also get costly to go out to eat at the last minute.
Take time during the week to plan out some meals for the coming week, and shop one time for all of the items that you will need to prepare the meals. Trust me, you will save a lot of time and money.
Learn To Say No
Saying no is something I have a terrible time doing, simply because I love to help others. I used to spend a lot of time volunteering and let me tell you, I loved every minute of it, but it’s easy to get involved in too much. You will experience burn-out, and your family will suffer.
It’s easy to put the kids in too many sports activities, spend too much time at events, or volunteer too often. We love it, but eventually, it will catch up with you. I need my down-time, so I have learned to say “no” a little more. Find that balance and work with it.
Stick to a Schedule
Create a schedule that you can stick to each week. For example, plan to clean on Mondays, do laundry on Tuesdays and Saturdays, etc. I have a friend that is uber organized. She has a plan for each day. When she plans a vacation, she is able to get a little bit extra done each day, and it doesn’t put her behind in her schedule.
Make a List
I’ve always been a list gal. Growing up, I had a list next to my bed, so if I remembered something I could lean over and write it down. Nowadays, I email it to myself. Although, that’s not fail-proof. I check my email often, but sometimes emails can be easy to overlook.
I have found that keeping a list on the counter in the kitchen works for me. I can write things down as I go by, and at the end of the day, I can still see what needs to be done. Use what works for you.
Pack School/Work Lunches on Sunday
Packing school and work lunches on Sunday have been a game changer for me. It doesn’t seem like it would save a lot of time, but it does. I’ve spent plenty of nights tired, and when I remember that lunches are already done, it gives me a burst of happiness.
I bag up veggies, chips, snacks, etc., and put them in an easy to reach place. Each night, I grab what’s needed and put the items in lunch boxes, and into the fridge. The only thing I make each night is the peanut butter sandwiches. In the mornings, the kids (and hubby) know where their stuff is, and can grab and go. It makes for a much easier morning.
Invest in Some Organizational Tools
I’m not one to spend a lot of money on organizational tools, but a few items can help. I bought a few inexpensive plastic bins to stick in the pantry to keep lunch items and snacks separated for easy access. In the bathroom closet, use old jelly jars to keep extra toiletries like Q-Tips, or toothbrushes. In our old house, we used baskets to hold towels and items in an open linen closet. It looked and felt more organized.
I keep a basket underneath my bathroom sink for the hairdryer and brushes. That way, I have easy access, and the items stay out of sight.
Get some old school folders to keep restaurant menus, or bookkeeping items. You can place them on a shelf and keep them out of the way.
Set Clothes, Keys, Purse, Etc., Out the Night Before
When I was working full time, I was fanatical about setting out my clothes, keys, purse, and whatever else I needed, the night before. I would always put things in the same spot each night, and when I was ready to leave in the morning, I didn’t have to search for anything. I was never once late to work, and I felt organized and ready to go. I even went so far as to put my coffee cup by the pot, after all, coffee is the most important part of the day!