There is a saying that the little things can sometimes make the biggest difference. This couldn’t be more true than with organization. As a busy mom, I have found myself time and time again wishing I could whip my butt into gear and start getting organized. You don’t need to try to tackle everything at once to make some significant changes in your life. This is why I put together ten ways you can seriously get yourself organized without having to break your back and stress yourself out trying! For those of you who don’t know where to start, this is a great place!
Important No Qualms Mom Tip: Restrain yourself from perfection here ! Implement these 10 easy steps without buying organizers from Container Store, buying fancy Meal Planning systems and (most importantly) getting lost down the oh so fun rabbit hole of Pinterest !
Spend around 1 hour total on all these, try them for a week and then adjust as you need to or invest in a fancier answer once you’ve discovered the specifics that best help you.~ Elizabeth Curtiss, No Qualms Mom Founder
Start Writing Things Down
Writing things down might sound like an outdated practice, but this small thing can lead to significant results! Writing things down will not only help you remember it better, but it will also ensure that your family can see appointments and other essential things you are storing in your brain. There are endless complex apps for this but for now, choose between a small notebook and attached pen or using your notes app on your phone.
If you already do this but want to up your game, I’d suggest a free version of Trello on your phone and desktop. You can divide your board by family member or by category (like work, house, kids, projects, etc.). It can be shared too with your husband.
Meal Plan and Meal Prep When You Have Time
Planning your meals is not only a great way to stay organized, but it can also help you save money! When you plan out your meals in advance, you don’t overbuy food at the store, and you can keep your pantry and fridge better organized! Meal prep allows you to take those items you just bought and save yourself some time on busy nights by having those meals ready to go!
Before you groan and say “No! I’ve tried this before and failed…” hear me out: you CAN do this if you keep it simple! Meal planning is extremely popular right now so there are zillions of systems and options out there, including paid services that tell you what to make each week. Skip them for now.
Start super basic: paper and pen. If you have a chalk board or white board you can transfer it when you’ve made your plan. Make dishes that are very easy and that you’re very comfortable making. After 2 weeks of success then we can talk about a better system that suits you well. I’ve got an upcoming post on excellent system options.
Use Containers to Organize Small Objects
Small tiny objects are usually what makes a space feel cluttered and disorganized. Instead of digging through drawers and shelves to find what you’re looking for, use containers to organize smaller objects. This will help you find the things you’re looking for faster, and make it easy to stay organized.
I’ll repeat here to NOT buy containers right away. Use what you have to be sure the system works first! Kids shoe boxes are a great size, gift boxes, baskets, tupperware containers without lids and glass jars all work to test things out. Then, have fun on Container Store or Amazon getting what ever perfectly sized and styled container later on.
Create Lists for Important Details You Want to Remember
Google Keep is a great app to have handy on your phone because you can share lists with your friends and family, use it on your computer or phone, and you can easily take it with you wherever you need to go! You can use this to keep a running list of groceries or errands you need to do. You can also use it for gift ideas for family members, so you don’t forget.
If you don’t love apps and tech, another option that I learned from a leader I look up to is to keep little note pads in a few key spots: on your bedside table, in your favorite reading chair, in the kitchen, in your purse, etc. Where ever inspiration strikes usually so that you can easily capture your thoughts. Thoughts out of your head and on paper lower your stress immediately. 2 CRUCIAL TIPS for this system: (1) never move these notepads around – keep them in the assigned brain dump spots and (2) you have to get in the habit of consolidating these lists regularly though.
Make a Plan For Your Day the Night Before
If you want to make sure you aren’t running around without any purpose, make a plan for your day the night before. This will not only help you stay on task, but it will keep things from getting out of hand the next day! When you have a plan, you can organize your day and be better prepared for the day ahead.
Prepping our coffee pot the night before, setting a glass of water next to it and using a little 7 day medicine holder have changed my life! I’m not joking here folks…I’m not a morning person so having my coffee timer set or just ready for me to stumble out of bed and press the on button have shifted my universe. And instead of dropping my prescription pills down my bathroom drain or on the floor regularly, I can calmly control my allergies with a quick flip of a lid as my coffee brews!
Follow the Two Minute Rule
If it takes less than two minutes, do it now! This rule will help you tackle chores, business tasks, and even home organization projects! It takes less than two minutes to organize your mail, throw out old papers, and even do a load of laundry! The two-minute rule will help you start important projects around your home but keep things from getting out of hand at the same time.
Depending on the moment and season, we’ve extended the two minute rule up to a five minute rule. Right now, with the COVID-19 situation, we’re using the five minute rule because our kids don’t seem to be able to much of anything in two minutes!
Set Up Filters for Your Inbox
Instead of wasting hours trying to get your inbox organized, start setting up filters for your emails! This will ensure that your inbox only has important items that need your attention, and you can get to the other emails when you have the time and energy for them.
Identify and Slay Your Clutter Zones
Clutter comes in all shapes and sizes, and it’s not the same for everyone. Clutter zones might be because you don’t have a good system in place, or because you tend to dump things in one spot. Identify these spots in your home so that you can start to get your clutter under control. You may need to put a bin in your kitchen for your mail, or a basket in your living room for blankets.
Spend 15 Minutes Tidying Your Home Each Day
Fifteen minutes doesn’t feel like a massive chunk of time, but in reality, this is all you need to get some of those massive cleaning projects done! Each day spend 15 minutes tidying your home. You can even do two separate tidy sessions in the evening and morning if you’d like depending on how messy your house gets. This will help make sure everything is back in its rightful place and that you can focus on the cleaning tasks at hand. Waking up to a tidy house is another life changer. The difference you’ll feel by starting your day with a crumb free counter and junk free family room is huge!
To Organize and Stay Organized: You Must Pick a System that Works With Your Lifestyle!
Pinterest has a way of making everything look amazing. The reality is that when you put some of those systems into reality they don’t work as well as you hope. These organization systems don’t always work well for us even though they make someone else’s home look beautiful. Pick a system that will work well for your lifestyle and the way you live your life. If you are always eating breakfast on the go, don’t set up a complicated breakfast system. Instead, grab and go options in the fridge might be a better option.
You don’t have to have hours or even days to do an organization project that will seriously impact your home. These ten organization tips will help you get seriously organized so that you can start to get a little bit of your sanity and your home back to normal. Ready? Steady…Go! You can do it!
All photos by Angela Carlyle