Backpacks sprawl in the middle of the kitchen floor, laundry lounges on the couch waiting to be folded and you’ve no idea what to make for dinner. Sound familiar? Work, school, kids and general life chaos contributes to our daily dose of disarray and disorganization. Check out our top tips for organizing your life.
Clutter contributes to chaos and disorganization. Clear the clutter and you’ve made a huge step to taking back your living space and your sanity. Throw away things that you don’t need, like old magazines and donate items that you no longer want. Get the whole family involved and then take your donations to a local charity.
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
When the things that you use the most have their own specific living space, it’s easier to be organized. Designate a place for the kids’ backpacks/school stuff so every day these items are easy to find in the morning and out of the way when not in use. Consider a hook to hang each bag, labeled with the child’s name. Another option are canvas cubes that stack to save space.
Simplify Your Morning Routine
Mornings are hectic in most households but if you get organized the night before it helps calm the chaos and makes it easier to get out the door on time. Have the kids pack their backpacks at night and have lunches packed early as well. Organize your purse and set your keys next to it for a quick grab-and-go in the morning. Rely on time-saving products like dry shampoo for mornings that are really rushed.
Use a Wall Calendar or White Board
One of the best ways to get organized and to stay organized is to write things down. Jot an appointment down on a slip of paper when out, but as soon as you’re home write that appointment’s date, time and place on a wall calendar or white board. With multiple family members in the home, keep track of activities and appointments by assigning everyone their own color. Write that person’s activity information on the board or calendar using their designated color to keep everyone organized even on the busiest of days.
Consider a Day Planner
While it may seem unwieldy to carry an actual paper day planner, this little organizational tool can be a lifesaver when you’re making the first attempts at re-organizing your life. You can write everything you need to remember in your day planner—from next week’s dentist appointment to the kids’ carpool schedule and your meeting with the boss. If carrying around a day planner doesn’t fit your style, consider a digital version. There are several great organizational apps available that you can download for your smartphone or tablet. From Golist for Android to Planner Plus for Apple.
Turn off your phone notifications while trying to complete chores and focus on the task to get it done quicker. Enlist the help of the kids. Even the youngest family members can help pick up toys and learn to fold items like washcloths and dish towels. Make a rule that the kitchen, dining table or counter where meals are eaten must be cleared and cleaned after every meal with everyone pitching in to help.
Learn to Say ‘No’
Sometimes the real reason we feel disorganized is that we’re simply over-extended. Learn to say no more often. You don’t have to agree to head every committee at the kids’ school, plus plan the retiree luncheon at work and sew all the costumes for the dance recital. Begin to scale back and say no when you know that you already have several other commitments.
Organizing your life does take time, but the rewards of less chaos will be immeasurable.