It is just about 2013! In fact, in less than 18 hours, we will be ringing in the new year. As usually happens at this time every year, people begin talking about their New Year’s Resolutions and things they want to do to make the next year better. One thing that I hear over and over is that they want to get more organized.
That actually lead me to do some thinking about a question I am asked all of the time — “How do you do it all?” To be honest, I don’t. I just can’t. However, the one thing I can say is that I am highly organized and I think that makes a difference. There are things do each and every day which keep me on top of things. These simple tasks keep my life in order and help me stay relatively organized (and have a clean home). Here are my easy tips:
1. Do laundry at LEAST every other day.
It may sound too simple, but it is the truth. When you wait and do your laundry once a week, you end up with what 6, 7 or more loads of laundry? That is a daunting task for anyone to complete. By simply tossing in a load each evening when you get home from work, you will stay on top of that and won’t become a slave to your laundry on the weekends.
If you find you don’t have enough laundry generated in your home to do a load each day, make sure you do it every other day. (Note: I usually take Sunday off and make up for it on Monday with an extra load or two).
2. Pick up nightly before you go to bed.
If you pick up the toys, shoes, blankets, etc each night before you turn in, you wake to a clean house. This doesn’t mean full fledged cleaning. This is simple picking up and decluttering. It is put the toys in the toy room. Put your shoes by the door so they are ready to for the morning. Make sure the mail is where it belongs.
Having a clean house can actually help you start off your day feeling less stressed. When you wake to an organized home, you can find the things you need and start the day off on the right foot!
3. Don’t touch items more than twice when they come into your home.
When that bill comes in through the mail, how many times do you touch it? Most people open it and set it aside as soon as it arrives. Then, they move it somewhere else (usually at least twice) before the touch it for the last time when they pay it. That is picking up the same item up to 4 or 5 times.
Whenever I get a bill, I open it and look it over right away to make sure nothing stands out such failure to credit for a payment, incorrect charges, etc. Then, I set it aside in our hanging folder where we keep all of the bills which need to be paid and receipts from recent purchases. One tip is that I only keep the bill and place the return envelope and outer one into recycling – keeping only what we really need.
Once every 2 weeks, we sit down and we pay the bills and also file the receipts and other items. This way, we are ensuring that we pay things timely (because we can find the bills to be paid) and we can also find those receipts and items as they are filed away in one place.
This same concept goes with items you purchase from the store. When you walk into your house, try to put them away where they belong right away, rather than shuffling the bag from the counter, to the table to the stairs and finally, to it’s destination.
4. Keep your kitchen clean.
This “sort of” goes along with number 2 above, but since it is the most used room in the home, it gets it’s own tip! Many people just set the breakfast or dinner dishes aside and figure they will just do them later. When you can carve out just 5 minutes to put them into the dishwasher (or quickly wash them up) and then wipe down your table and counter tops, your kitchen is clean. This includes the clutter that takes over your counters. Just don’t do it!! Make sure you always put everything where it belongs and you will quickly have a clean and organized kitchen – which can make for a more organized life!
5. Keep a shopping list on your fridge at all times (or use a phone app).
How many times do you have to stop by they store to pick something up or do your shopping and realize you forgot that you needed that one item. Or, if you are like me, you get home and your spouse says “I forgot to tell you, we are out of ___________ (fill in the blank here with just about anything and everything) .”
I recommend that you create a weekly shopping list and put it on your refrigerator (you can download the Penny Pinchin’ Mom form here – for free). Help your family learn to write down the things that they need and then, before you head to the store, you can grab the list from the fridge and won’t forget those much needed items.
Of course, there are phone apps, such as Don’t Forget the Milk. However, by creating a paper list in a central location in the home, your entire family can use it to help make sure you don’t make multiple trips to the store.
What organization tips do you have to pass along?