I saw this article today, “Confessions from a Messy Mom” , and it inspired me to take stock in my current situation of organizational crisis. Nothing about having a messy or disorganized house, car, or meal is appealing to me. I understand that some people are perfectly happy to be messy and I’m perfectly happy for them. For me, things are a little different.
In order for my mind to turn off at night, for me to be able to get a full day or work in, for me to be able to enjoy time with my children, I NEED to be organized. I need our house, our cars, our closets, our lives to be organized. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I will never be a laid back, go with the flow mom because the only way my laundry list of tasks that need to be completed each day finds itself neatly thrown into my recycling bin each night is with total organization of my life.
I have multiple friends whose New Year’s Resolutions are to get and stay more organized in 2016. They want to know what my strategies for keeping organized while working, building a house, and wrangling the babies. I’m working on creating an in depth how-to guide for moms looking to get a little more organized but for now, these are some of my absolute must-knows when it comes to organizing your life:
The simplest solution is almost always the best solution
Keep Notes, to-do lists, appointment reminders, events, and updates in your phone. Having one central location to store everything you need to keep track of is central to organizational happiness. Keeping everything on your phone is also the only reason to know that you will ALWAYS have your list keeper with you because our phones are now surgically attached to our hands. Making paper lists, managing a planner, and an electronic calendar leaves too many places to check and too many opportunities to forget something. I’ve tried keeping day planners and find that they are NEVER around when I need to add something to one list or another.
Make a habit of checking your lists every night before you go to bed
I update my to-do list every night by erasing tasks I’ve already completed, adding new tasks for the next day, and setting reminders for things that I need to do first thing in the morning. If the kids need something in their bags for school or I need to run an errand right after dropping them off at school, I set an alarm for it. I do this so that in the hustle of the morning, I don’t forget to send the permission slip or stop by the pharmacy.
Put your grocery list in order
When I go to the grocery store, my list is organized by category according to how the store is laid out. The entrance I use is right next to the produce so my list starts with produce and is followed by meats, canned and dry items, dairy, and frozen. I think it’s more popular to group your list by recipe but when I do that I end up having to double back and go down aisles and sections I’ve already been through. Since I’ve been making my list in order, I’m not skipping around on my list trying to remember to grab asparagus when I’m actually by it instead of seeing it at the bottom of my list when I’m already across the store.
Take the time to organize your closets
Mornings go MUCH more smoothly with littles if you know where everything is. Once your kids are old enough to dress themselves, a good time saver is to have them pick out their outfits the night before. Until then, I’ve organized their closets by category. There is a section for school clothes, church clothes, and weekend clothes. I put ALL clothes that are out of season away so that they aren’t taking up valuable real estate. I also have a basket for socks, a color coded bow holder, and shoe bins. Since everything is organized, in the morning I just grab an outfit, socks, bows, and shoes and have the kids dressed in no time. I apply the same organization to our closet so that it’s not full of summer clothes in December or sweaters in June. Taking away the clutter and only being presented with viable outfit options makes getting dressed much easier.
Put up dishes and groceries ASAP
As soon as the dishes are dry, put them up! As soon as you get home from the grocery, put up the food! This might seem little (and it is) but having a backlog of little chores to do around the house are what creates a backlog on bigger chores. I HATE putting up dishes so I can tend to just let them sit in the dishwasher once they are clean…but then we can’t load the dishwasher with new dishes, because it’s full of clean dishes. This creates a pileup in the sink of dirty dishes…the bigger the pile grows the less likely anyone is to do them because it will take more time than they readily have available. Cleaning up and doing chores as they arise help keep this backlog at a minimum.
If you don’t use it, THROW IT OUT!
This applies to everything; kitchen gadgets, shoes, makeup; Stop holding on to the “might use it one day” stuff in the back of your drawers and closets. You will be surprised as how refreshed you will feel when you get rid of all the stuff you aren’t using. Your drawers and cabinets will be roomier and the ease that you can find the things you are ACTUALLY using will make life make any task less stressful.
Look, I know that happiness isn’t all spreadsheets and a label maker, but having some semblance of control over our hectic lives is important to me. These small daily activities keep our family running smoothly. What do you do to keep your household going??
What about you? Are you an organized mommy? What are some of your favorite organization tips?