I am not the most organized person in the world. Therefore, I do not profess any kind of expertise on the matter! I have, however, met some improvements in the area of home organization since becoming a mother. Being a primary caregiver to two children continually urges me along a quest to find more efficient ways to get things done. If you are a parent, you understand this importance. Disorganization leads to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and constantly behind.
Earlier this year, I led a round table discussion on the topic of home organization at one of my MOMS Club meetings. I presented some suggestions from professional organizers, and club members shared their own organization tips. I have since incorporated several of these ideas into my daily routine. And you know what? They work!
Here are ten great home organization tips that can help you “get it together.”
1.) Utilize your peak energy level. Are you a morning person or night person? Organize or clean when your energy is highest. You will work faster and get more done with less effort.
2.) Keep only one planning calendar. Writing down to-do tasks is a great organizing technique. However, jotting down ideas here and there as they come to you is problematic in that you can lose your notes or not have all of them handy when you need them. Keep one planning calendar, and carry it around with you as much as possible.
3.) Get a “landing strip” container. When you come home through the door, have a container nearby to place your keys, wallet, purse, etc. This way, you are not searching for any of them whenever you need to leave again.
4.) Tackle similar tasks all at once. To schedule appointments, for example, set aside a block of time each week for it. Do all necessary phone calls or email communication pertaining to appointments at once rather than throughout the week. By consolidating tasks, you cut out the time it takes to “prepare or clean up” every time you do it.
5.) Do quick organizing/cleaning “bursts” twice a day. Quickly straightening up an area of the house each morning and night goes a long way, even with just 10 minutes at a time. Letting it build up turns small tasks into a huge tasks that require time and energy.
6.) Set a timer when doing tasks. It may sound silly to use a ticking timer, but knowing that you have a limited amount of time to organize or do a household chore makes you work faster! It can increase your motivation as well. It’s hard to feel burdened by a task if you allot 15 minutes to it. A timer can also help you remember to do things. Sometimes when I am having a busy morning full of distractions and need to be somewhere in an hour, I set my oven timer. Because I know the buzzer will sound when I need to leave, I don’t have to make myself more stressed by checking the clock every 5 minutes!
7.) Plan your meals as much as possible. During weeks that I don’t plan out meals, I spend more money on food and waste time scratching my head and taking extra trips to the store. Planning out the week’s dinner menu and buying what you need for the week sounds like a task in itself, but it will reduce costs and efforts.
8.) Open mail right over the recycling bin. This practice avoids junk mail clutter. Eliminate it before it becomes a pile on your counter!
9.) Play the “Ten Second Tidy” with your kids. Get your kids to pick up their toys or clothes by making it into a game. Set the timer for a minute or two, and watch how fast they can tidy up. (In our house, we do it like “Loonette” on The Big Comfy Couch.) If you have more than one child, make it a friendlly competition by announcing a winner and awarding a prize like picking the DVD to watch that night.
10.) Bribe or reward yourself. In order to accomplish things on your to-do list, make it worth your while. Offer yourself a treat you really enjoy but only if you get your tasks done first. Your guilt-free reward could be watching a favorite tv show, computer time, or going shopping.