Learning to be organized has been a learning curve for me. When I look early on my marriage I wonder how my husband could have been so patient with my slow development into been a more organized person. As I had kids and my job became more demanding, I honestly and sadly can say that my improvement in being organized was minimal. With that said, a lot of things just did not get done and very important areas of my life were just been attended when no longer could be ignored. As I said, I and organization have come a long way… It was on my 10th wedding anniversary, when I turned 35, that a switch was turned on in me… I needed to work towards improving areas of my life that felt chaotic. But where to begin? I turned to books and magazines that were about been organized. I learned to be patient with myself as I learned that it takes time to save time and that been organized is a process that is different for all of us. We all have different priorities and therefore how we organize our lives reflects our day to day as a person, a professional, a parent, a son or daughter, a friend, a spouse, a caregiver, etc. It works differently for all of us.
So below are the areas that at some point or other can be improved by taking the time to be organized:
- Meal Plan: Simple but effective. I remember for years I will plan dinner the same day. I will, therefore, have to go to the supermarket almost every day for one or two or ten things that I needed. When I started organizing my meal plan for the week I was instantly rewarded with extra time and less stress. Additionally, organizing a meal plan provides me with the ability to stick to my budget and along the way, save money. It also allows me to be creative in the kitchen and try new recipes. I usually plan my meal plan on Sundays. I search for recipes (usually recipe books, magazines, and websites) and write down day by day the recipe and at the same time make the grocery list that goes with it. I have a planner for this and helps out when all goes into the same place including the recipes that “worked” vs the ones that were not as good or as simple or as fast as expected
- Pantry and Closets: Organizing my pantry is a pain that I endured every couple of months. As mentioned I am the opposite of organization so when I do it, it’s great but it gradually tends to gravitate back to chaos, so every few months I have to roll my sleeve and get to it again. However, every time I am done I feel like a champion. Same with cabinets where we keep our kitchen tools, pots, and pans, closets or our laundry room, it all starts great and gradually becomes a mess, and again and again I take the time to reorganize it.
- House Cleaning: Nowadays you can find a really good home cleaning checklists and guidelines online. There are plenty in Pinterest, and also apps that can guide you into a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual and annual cleaning schedule. I do use my home planner to keep track of what I have done and what needs to be done, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. My kids and husband are part of the planning as well with each one taking on the different tasks as needed. Keeping our house tidy and clean has exponentially improved our quality of life and if we keep a daily and weekly schedule it becomes daily maintenance instead of daily cleaning.
- Garage: We have a three-car garage and our goal was to be able to put our three cars on it and we did. We had to move things around, choosing between what we “need” and “don’t’ need” and going to Ikea and other places that specialized in small spaces to come with our own system, but it worked. Between labeled bins, bikes on the wall and tons of wall hooks we have three cars in the garage. Mission accomplished
- School and Sports Activities: As my kid’s weekly newsletters from school are posted and sports emails are sent with all the upcoming practices and game schedules, I put everything on my calendar. I set reminders 2 days in advance for any signup or volunteer activity I sign up for. I check upcoming tests, projects, homework that my kids have and put it on my calendar as to be aware of and be sure it gets done. I work hard on trying to make my kids organized as well, asking them to keep tap of what is coming up in their agendas. My google home is great at making a quick introduction every morning with what is to be expected or done that day.
- Home Finances: This was a big learning curve that unfortunately took too many late payments fees to make me pay attention and be organized. I have used several apps, but I usually use my bank app and a Google spreadsheet, as well as a home planner (the same as the meal planner). I take two days a week to sit down and do the math and maintain taps on our spending, as well as make sure that bills are up to date and our saving goals are on track. At the end of the month a review all the info and make a smile or frown depending on the end-of-the-month results.
These are the main areas that have provided me with a rewarding feeling. They were not easy and is a daily, weekly and monthly task that I am committed to. Ever since improving my organizational skills the house is more functional, the family is working in a more efficient manner, we are saving money and time, and most importantly, I am not so overloaded with last-minute errands that could have been planned and executed in a more productive way.