Thursday, January 12, 2012

my thoughts on organization {a list}

As we start off the new year, let's all hunker down and get organized. Let's get a little OCD with our cluttery selves. Ok, whatever. I found a nice list of how to iron out the confusion of life.

I got the following list HERE.

My own thoughts are interjected in red (because I simply cannot not tell you my own thoughts).

1. Utilize a list notebook.

Often chaos ensues because we are trying to juggle too many things in our brains. We can’t focus on any one thing because we are trying to remember everything. It’s exhausting to say the least.

Grab yourself a notebook and just start brain dumping all that needs to be done. Be very detailed with this list because the more steps you list out, the less you have to try and remember. It makes a huge difference to your mental clutter even if you aren’t able to get everything crossed off that list in one day.

I love, love, love my little notebook. It's a mess, loaded with lists, ideas, and nonsense! But it keeps me on-track, when I use it. And I do use it frequently, but not always. Everyone around me knows when it is or is not being used. Although the resulting attitude, it is often confused with PMS. And should the two ever coincide....well, God help us all.

And yes, this is an actual picture of me.

What were we talking about? Oh, organization notebook.
list notebook

image credit: organizing junkie

2. Update your family calendar.

Now take your list to your calendar (and if you don’t have a central family calendar, get one quick!) Make sure your calendar is updated with appointments, school events, things to bring, etc.

For instance, if you need to bring cupcakes to school on Friday, add a note to Thursday’s square to pick them up or make them that day.

A big ol' family calendar is a MUST. Write down every single detail that you need "to do" that is time-sensitive. Then make sure you LOOK at the calendar periodically, like, every day would be good. Don't be like me.

3. Menu plan for today.

You may not be menu planning for the whole week yet, but you can menu plan for TODAY. Instead of waiting until the witching hour (isn’t that the worst!), plan what you’ll eat that night in the morning.

Check your freezer, pull some meat out, look up a recipe and you’re all set. 10 minutes of pre-planning will again allow you to stop worrying about it for the rest of the day and free up all sorts of head space. See the pattern here?

Mental clutter = overwhelmed

Yes, yes, yes. This is so good and makes the day go so much smoother if dinner is decided upon and underway early on. I do do this on most days. I do. And when I don't, it's obvious. But everyone knows not to complain. I've set it up that way.

4. Never leave a room empty-handed.

One of my best tips for staying on top of clutter is to make sure you take something with you every time you leave a room. Do it as you go…dirty dishes, laundry, toys, mail, you name it. If it belongs in a room you’ll be going to or passing, bring it with you!

This is perhaps the best one of all. The beauty of it is, when you are going, say, to your bedroom to get something, you pick up something, say, in the kitchen, on the way, that needs to be taken to your bedroom. Then when you get in your bedroom and forget what you went in there for in the first place, grab something in your room that needs to go back into the kitchen on your way back there to remember what you went into your bedroom for. Are you following me? Then when you remember, grab something else to take with you. Everything in your entire house will be it its rightful place by nightfall.

If you didn't understand that, don't worry. I tend to analyze things a bit more than anyone else. Just don't leave a room empty-handed, OK?

5. Assign a task to your children.

Too many moms are trying to do it alone. Get your kids involved. Start today. Assign them each one task off your list to complete. I know it’s often faster for us just to do it ourselves but the training has to start somewhere.

I do this occasionally...but the controller in me just won't have it. And the result is, a bunch of kids who are waited on. It's all gonna backfire one of these days.

kids chores

image credit: threeifbybike

6. Create a donation station.

Every home needs somewhere to collect the things we no longer need. Grab yourself a big box, mark it with the words donation station and let everyone know what it’s for.

My donation station is a corner of my bedroom that creates quite the eye-sore. I need to figure out a better place. But every single inch of my home is taken.

7. Add 5 things to that donation station everyday.

Have every person in your household collect 5 things today to add to that donation station. Set a timer and make a game out of it. See who can be the first to collect their 5 things. Before you know it, that donation station will be full!

Umm, five things? I need at least four of those things, thank you very much.

8. Create an “I’m Outta Here” shelf.

Similarly you need an errand bin by your front door. I call it my “I’m Outta Here” shelf and it’s somewhere I can collect things that need to be returned to a friend, mailed, returned, etc. That way when I’m heading out I can easily remember what needs to be done and tasks don’t get backlogged.

This is a good idea. But I don't do it. Nor do I know how/when/where I will ever do it.

9. Do a 10-minute tidy before bed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Do a 10 minute tidy each night before bed to set up your next day for success. Plug in cell phones, check and update your calendar, tidy surfaces, make lunches or whatever it is that needs to be done in order to start the following day on the right foot. It makes a world of difference!

Ten minutes? Oh that's adorable. But it's a good "idea". Really, it is.

10. Check your attitude.

Finally, stop beating yourself up! Coming down hard on yourself does nothing except make you miserable. Tomorrow is another day. Celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small.

Attitude: See first picture above.

Happy Organizing!!


Faye Verquer said...

I love these ideas...makes me wonder who created them, someone with maybe 1 or 2 children perhaps...or some big family with SUPER organization going on!! Whichever it is I am copy/pasting it and going to start that ASAP! I need to really really get my kids involved...I have a Senior who has NO clue how to see something that needs to be done and do it!! BAD BAD I know!

Have a GREAT Day Lori...we really need to hook up sometime!


Joy said...

Re: #5, I'm the same as you. I have three able-bodied girls who sit around while I cook supper, etc. Sometimes I get upset about it, having to do it all, but I've created that monster myself. I have just started letting them set the table and it's always askew but I guess they'll never learn if I don't let them do it. :-) They do already fold and put away their laundry and the towels so that lightens my load a smidgen. It is hard to let go and let them do things!

Tesseraemum said...

I have such good intentions but my pms/ocd/add tend to derail them!

I have a giveaway pile in the garage. Can't get the car in because of it! I was wondering why this seems to be a problem.. then I remembered that where we used to live they called every month and I just put the stuff out on the porch! Thank you very much!Now I have to load it up and take it somewhere. Umm yea, we still have hubby's uncle's tables in the garage from Thanksgiving too. Did you say its going to snow? Well, just be sure you have a scraper and 1/2 to warm up the car!! Sheri

Jean said...

I have a bit of a problem with #4 - I randomly end up in rooms! oh well- I'll call it exercise when I walk from room to room not remembering what the heck I was here for in the first place!

#5 The key to this one is to assign it- make sure they start and then LEAVE the room! I can't watch them- I go crazy... and then do it myself!

Great list... can I start next year!

Karin said...

Well, I WOULD do all those things but I got too tired after I read the list. SO I'll just enjoy the PMS joke. hehehehehe

Jodi said...

haha!!! I wish I could so many of these - but I do like #8 - we call it the "Launch Pad" Anything that needs to launch out of her for the day - goes there - kids permission slips, mail, library books... If the kids don't put it there it's not my fault that they don't get it turned in or delivered. :)

#9 -hahaha!!! Laughing out loud!!! All I ask from my family is that there is an open pathway from my doorway to the back door -so I can let the dogs out in the middle of the night without falling over toys and shoes! :)

Chris said...

#9 We used to have to pick up the toys before bed b/c dad was a volunteer fire fighter. Mom always said "Clean up the toys, in case there's a fire during the night, dad will step on your toys" Today I would probably ask if that is a similar to the "always wear clean underwear"

Guess if you become a firefighter you could use that excuse

The rest of the list are good ideas...but...yeah...

Anonymous said...

by the time I read through #4 I was laughing outloud only for my 16 yr old to comment... oh you must be reading that blog again:)

loved it!! Mary

Anonymous said...

so funny... mine says Anonymous said... but I only picked that option because I don't know how to do the others... you will have to tell me sometime... my 16 yr old has already retired to the basement now:)

Anonymous said...

I love "Take Something With You". Every single time my children head upstairs, I remind them to take something up. The bottome of our stairs is the catch all for things that need to be taken upstairs.

Joanne Reddell said...

What a great post! (Not sure how I missed it yesterday......anyhoo!) Thanks for all the wonderful ideas! I love to be organized, but sadly it doesn't always happen. Can you relate to that, my friend??

I've spent most of the evening organizing photos and posting them on FB.

Hope you're organizing goes well!

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