Get Organized Now. Do room by room to clean, organise and declutter. Do one room a month
Getting organized and staying that way are difficult jobs for most of us. We try other people’s tools, methods or ideas for organizing our lives, then end up frustrated because we stop using those tools. Using complicated methods and planners which are more work to maintain is likely to make you give up quicker.
Over time and with practice, these 10 simple tips for getting organised will help you. Keeping them simple is the key to finding tools that will work for you.
Ever had so much stuff to remember, that you forget one or two? Like remembering to send a package or birthday card? Or did you forget 5 out of 10 things you needed from the store?
Making lists can actually be a good way to relieve stress because you won’t have to work so hard at remembering everything. You won’t have to worry about forgetting something. Committing things to writing puts YOU in control; that’s a BIG stress reliever. Enjoy the satisfaction of scratching off tasks as you complete or delegate them! Having lists of different types can also be a huge relief!
List making can help you prioritize tasks so you won’t miss deadlines, appointments, events, etc. Reviewing your list often can help find items you can delegate or even decide that you don’t need to do, too!
- A Master To Do List. If you don’t have a to do list, you use the sticky note method, or you have several forgotten lists, it may be easier for you to start with a simple Master To Do List. Everything goes here ~ work, home, kids, hobbies, medical, pets. If you need to do something, add it to this list. Get it off your mind! It’s a brain dump ~ list EVERYTHING!
- A Daily To Do List. Take items from your master list and add them to a daily list. Ideally, 3-6 items at a time will help you get things done quicker than you might think. Looking at your master list every day could be overwhelming unless you have nerves of steel. Taking 3-6 items from it and working them into your day, every day, will have you buzzing along at a comfortable pace daily.
A diary is one of the basic tools for getting organized.
- Keep track of everything that has a date to it. Doctor’s appointments, garbage pick up days, school events & holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, conventions, brush pick up days, recycling days. If you need or want to remember it, write it down.
- It doesn’t matter what kind of diary you use, so long as you USE it. It helps if the blocks are big enough to write several things in them. You can use a daily, weekly or monthly diary – whichever is most convenient for you. That’s the secret to our diary success; make it convenient enough that we WILL use it.
- Ideally, you should only use ONE diary. This keeps things at the simplest level. Use the one diary to combine school activities, medical appointments, volunteering activities and household schedules.
- Use your diary as a tool for saving time and money. Do you have a doctor’s appointment? “Schedule” your errands for that day too and save gas. Do you have several calls to make on your to do list? “Schedule” a morning of phone calls. Are there several birthdays or other special occasions in one month? Plan ahead and do all your shopping at once. You control your schedule ~ it shouldn’t control you.
- Review your to do list to remove or mark off any items that are already done. Enjoy that feeling of accomplishment! Add any new tasks that you can think of now. Enjoy the feeling of knowing you’re in control of your time!
- Look at the diary for the week ahead. Double-check that you haven’t missed any new appointments or errands. Incorporate some items from your to do list for each day. Are there any school activities this week? Do you need to do anything special for those activities? Doctor or dentist appointments? When is trash day? Need to schedule an errand day?
Don’t waste time, stress or energy looking for what you need
- Find the most comfortable method of maintaining a to do list, whether it’s a notebook, planner, or even a small spiral note pad. The easier it is for you to use, the more likely it is you’ll keep using it. Pick a diary that will be convenient to you. Whether it’s a small pocket diary, a desk diary, a planner or a wall calendar, make it a habit to use one. Ideally, try to find a way to keep your to do list and diary or calendar . Do you have people or businesses that you call frequently? How many of them do you have to look up every time? A simple one page list of frequently called numbers might help. Or, if you prefer ~ add all your phone numbers to an address book. No more loose business cards, sticky notes, numbers written on the front of the phone book. Keeping these numbers all in one place where you can easily get to them will save you time and stress. While you’re at it, add some of the more important ones to your cell phone address book.
- Some handy & important numbers to add to your cell phone and address book: your primary care physician, your health insurance provider, your home and auto insurance agent’s number, lost or stolen credit card number/s, a local locksmith, a towing company or your NI number, a trusted neighbour or two. For your immediate family, include work and home numbers. Keeping these numbers where you can quickly get to them will go a very long way to providing peace of mind. Being able to get to them quickly in an emergency will reduce stress.
- Choose ONE “workstation” place to keep mail, bill paying items, stationary & supplies, household information & possibly a simple filing system. It can be in a closet or an extra room. You can keep everything in a pretty basket or set up a desk. At one point, I used a microwave cart as an impromptu “home office.” The important part is to bring everything you need for home management, time management and reference together into one place to save you time. Always keep new mail & bills at this station in an in basket, folder or box. No more leaving it all over the house.
The best way to go about getting organized is to START simple. Then, as you go along you can add another tool you need. The best thing I ever added to my “system” were my notebooks (binders). What a revelation! Once I built them, each for their purpose, I found that it takes very little time to keep them current. I love my binders so much, I made lenses about them too! You’ll find links to them elsewhere on this page.
- Consider whether you want something easy to carry along or something to keep at your workstation. If carry along is what you want, remember that it should be light. Who wants to lug around a brick for the sake of getting organized? There are small, medium and large binders available where you can insert your lists, calendar and address book. Pocket folders are also handy ways to keep your information handy. Take some time to think about what you need most ~ think hard about each topic to keep yourself from going overboard.
- Depending on how much “life” you want to organise, consider *what* you want to keep track of. Including your children &/or spouse’s needs, your household management needs and especially YOUR needs are probably the most important.
- Some tasks you do every day, some every week, some monthly. It’s easy to say we have our daily routines memorized and we remember everything we need to do every day. But how many times do we actually remember to get those things done! Establish and keep to daily, weekly & monthly routines. Your house will become cleaner, the stack of unopened mail & unfiled paperwork will disappear and the huge pile of laundry will be gone. Daily routines are a good way to remember what to do DAILY that will help you keep your house clean or your work flowing, etc. Have a Morning Routine, Afternoon/after school/after work routine, and an evening routine. You could write them out and keep them in a household notebook. It takes time to create the habit for your routines, but it is extremely worthwhile.
- Routines help us accomplish more over time, without feeling overwhelmed. For example, laying out the next day’s clothes as part of your evening routine takes only a few minutes, but the time it saves in the morning is much more obvious. Doing a load of laundry every day divides that effort more evenly, saving you time overall. No more whole days spent washing, drying and folding. A daily “swish and wipe” routine done after a shower helps keep the bathroom clean, reducing the time spent on the weekly bathroom clean.
- Weekly routines help incorporate those tasks that we might otherwise forget. For example, Saturday could be Bill-Paying Day, Mondays could be whole house cleaning day), Sundays Plan and Play days, do the weekly calendar and to do list review on Sundays ~ then PLAY!
What is it that you would like to accomplish?
The SMART method of setting goals:
Specific; The more specific the goal, the better chance of reaching it, because you can clearly see what it is you want. Saying I want to lose weight, quit smoking or go to the gym isn’t very specific. Setting a goal like, “I want to lose 25 pounds.” is much more specific. It gets your mind to work visualizing and figuring out how to get there.
Measurable; Which is more measurable? “I want to lose weight.” or “I want to lose 25 pounds?” Know exactly what the mark is that you want to reach. For a goal to be measurable you need a way to measure how close you are and when you’ve reached your goal. Seeing your progress is very important for staying motivated.
Achievable; Make sure that your goal is achievable. If you set a goal of going to the Moon, it’s not a very realistic goal and not likely to be achievable. Make the goal challenging, but reachable.
Rewarding; How will you feel when you reach your goal? If something is important enough for you, visualize what reaching that goal would be like. If you could see yourself losing those extra 25 pounds. you would feel better and look better. Feeling and looking better are the rewards for achieving the goal.
Timely; Challenge yourself with a deadline. Without a firm deadline for your goal, other “stuff” will get in the way of your achievement. Having a deadline is related to the goal being measurable. We focus and prioritize when we have deadlines. You won’t have time, unless you make time.
Cut the chaos!
Clutter around the house usually consists of trash, clothes, books, magazines, dishes, and newspapers. Actually just anything that doesn’t belong, doesn’t make you happy or you don’t want or need, is clutter.
If left to pile up and keep growing, it just takes all the energy and joy out of our spirits!
Make it a habit to declutter daily. It feels wonderful to look around at the things you have and know that you have them because you love them or use them.
- Every day, toss 10 items you no longer want or need. This can be trash, paper, clothes, kitchen items…whatever.
- Donate it, sell it or trash it.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and TOSS CLUTTER!. It’s fantastic & Fun.Set aside a block of time when you can work uninterrupted – no phone, no TV, no kids (if that’s easier for you). Get 3 bags or boxes. One is for trash, one is for donate and one is for ‘belongs somewhere else.’ If you have a big job in front of you, break it down into manageable pieces. Just work on the closet this session for example. Or your dresser. Or one set of kitchen cabinets.It’s easier if you start at one point and work your way left or right, up or down. Never take out more than you can put away during that session.When you’re done for that session, put everything away! Items to be donated should go in the car immediately, for your next trip out. Or if your favorite charity picks up, schedule the pick up right when you finish. Take the trash out! Go through the ‘belongs elsewhere’ box quickly & return items to where they actually belong. Take a good look at your handiwork! WOW! It looks great!
You deserve it!
We deserve to treat ourselves to special rewards. Giving ourselves a treat provides a morale-boost. Rewards encourage us to keep going & not burn-out. What kinds of rewards? Here’s some ideas. Can you think of more?
- How about a spa day? Take a bubble bath. Get your nails & hair done & a pedicure. Don’t want to spend the money? Do it yourself & enjoy doing something a little special for yourself.
- Treat yourself to that new book you’ve been wanting to read & spend an afternoon reading outside (at the park, at the beach, in your backyard).
- If you have a hobby, indulge yourself with a hobby day or afternoon.
- Whip up your favourite beverage and sit down to enjoy it. Coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Take time to really enjoy your break and the beverage.
- Take a walk. Just walk around your neighborhood or down to the park. A 30 minute walk can refresh the brain, not to mention how good it is to get some exercise. Listen & watch for birds, kids playing or pleasant landscape.
- Watch a movie. DON’T fold clothes, open mail or pay bills while the movie is on. Enjoy a good comedy and have a belly laugh.
You are worth the effort!
Don’t think about the things you can’t do. Think about the things you can do. There are no limitations to what we can do except the limitations we put on ourselves.
We all have the ability to totally transform every area in our lives. Nothing meaningful happens by itself, though. We have to make it come our way, by our own efforts. Organize your thoughts into plans. Then make your thoughts reality by taking some action.
Be patient with yourself . We can do anything…one baby step at a time.