These simple organizing secrets work for absolutely everyone! They’re time tested and mom approved!
It’s no secret: I’m busy. One of the most common questions I get is, “How do you find the time to get so much done every day?”
While sometimes I probably appear to be Super Mom (able to find time for, then do anything and everything!), there are obviously some (ok, many) instances I occasionally, um, gloss over… Like when I finally get the house fully clean and my toddler squishes cherries on the floor or when I’m running to Home Depot at 8:45pm in my yoga pants.
It’s all good.
Look, I’m not the perfect parent and it took me a long time to become as organized as I am today. Seven years ago, I had laundry piles completely covering my apartment, my car was full of crap I bought but never used or even needed, and I couldn’t even handle the simplest of tasks because I was SO overwhelmed all the time. When you struggle with disorganization, it seeps into all areas of your life. I often felt like giving up.
Now (most of the time), I’m a pretty organized person. I’m still far from perfect, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. These days, we’re tackling new projects and my blogging business continues to grow, all while managing a house full of toddlers and a new brewery startup.
I’m very thankful I learned how to implement these organizing secrets. I wake up feeling in control of my life. Like I said: not perfect. But it’s awesome compared to where I used to be.
So here’s the deal: I know what works for ME might not work for YOU and I have a few things I LOVE (like planners and organizers) that you might loathe. That’s totally okay. What’s most important is finding what works for you and sticking to it. Sticking with something and giving it the ol’ college try will help you learn, grow and roll with the punches.
But the basics are likely the same for both of us.
There are a few “universal” organizing secrets that can be adapted to suit anyone. I (and many others I’ve heard from) find these rules of thumb helpful. For me, personally, these not-so-secret secrets changed my entire outlook on life.
But listen, becoming organized doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t feel like you need to tackle all of these at once. Set a goal this month to try one of these “secrets.” You need to implement it for 28 days until you feel you’ve mastered it, then move on to the next. Let me know how they work out. Which of these organizing secrets works best for you?
1. Write Things Down
Truth be told, I’m a planner addict! When it comes to planners, I was initially an Erin Condren fanatic. In fact, I so longed for one of her planners (with its beautiful pages, all those great stickers, and a motivating cover to boot) that I even made my own DIY planner to tide me over while I saved up for one.
Then, I had the opportunity to check out the Living Well Planner—and I was totally blown away! Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Erin Condren stickers and some of the graphics and customization options available, but the Living Well Planner is far and away the best planner option I’ve found, especially for the price. You can check out the Living Well Planner here.
That said, you don’t need a fancy planner to write things down! Maybe you can’t even stand the thought of carrying around a planner or maybe you detest paper altogether. That’s totally fine. Find what floats your boat and use it.
The goal is to simply write down everything so you don’t have to try to keep track of it all in your head. There are plenty of tools available, both traditional and electronic, but whatever you find to fit the bill, use it! Use your calendar, your task list, or organizing apps. Up to you. (FYI, you can organize your to-do list into a calendar checklist on your iPhone.)
Writing things down helps you organize your thoughts and plan for your family’s future. It helps you see tangible goals and identify the steps to get there. It helps you envision the time it will take to accomplish things. Write it down.
2. Prepare the Night Before
Do you want to be motivated tomorrow? Prepare the night before. If you’re working on meeting your fitness goals, put your sports bra and sneakers right by your bed so you can get them on without excuses.
If you want your mornings to go more smoothly, pack your family’s lunches the night before. If you find you’re late because you spend too much time in the morning sorting through your closet and trying to decide what to wear, lay out your clothes the night before.
By organizing the night before, you’re getting ahead for tomorrow. No more will you be running out the door, frazzled, frustrated and late for your kid’s next soccer practice. No longer will you show up to a meeting unprepared because you forgot the paperwork as you were leaving. You’ll never again get to a venue and realize you’ve forgotten the tickets. You won’t get to the store and forget something on your list (which you’d also have because you followed secret #1 and wrote it down)!
I know you’re tired at the end of your day and you just want to fall into bed and crash. (I have little kiddos—I get it!) Take just 5 or 10 minutes to get yourself and your family organized and prepared for the day ahead. You’ll feel on top of it and in control of your entire day. When your alarm goes off, you’ll know right away what you need to do and you’ll be ready to tackle it with ease because you prepared the night before!
3. Stick to a Routine
Routines are boring, right? We all love to mix it up and experience new things. Plus, any mom with little guys or gals knows (let’s be realistic), routine isn’t always possible. Life happens and unexpected things pop up.
Still, routines help us automate the small stuff and get things right the first time. Constantly feeling like you’re in “triage mode” is stressful! Be proactive and find routines that works for you and your family.
Start with one uncomplicated routine, then build from there. If you don’t have one already, I recommend starting with a simple dishwashing routine. Getting your dishes done every night will hugely improve your ability to become organized in other areas of your life.
Another favorite routine? Automate your shopping to cut back on time spent running back and forth to the store for items you routinely run out of or forget to pick up. You can shave HOURS off your errands every week by automating wherever possible. Plus, it’s WAY better on your budget!
Automation tools can help. Set reminders to pop up on your calendar, sync your task list, and use apps to help make your phone work for you.
Rituals and routines (like getting in the habit of setting up your day before you go to bed à la secret #2) can seriously make your life infinitely easier because you’ll always be prepared, even when the unexpected pops up.
4. Don’t Need It? Get Rid of It!
Do you know what makes organizing easier? Having LESS to organize. For example, a few months ago I ditched my purse.
It turns out, getting rid of my purse has made my life infinitely simpler and more organized! Now I know that when I go somewhere, I can just grab the few items I might need for the trip, whether it’s paperwork, a book, my lunch or whatever. I have my wallet, which holds my phone and my keys. That’s it. I can fit a lip balm in my wallet (or a feminine product, if needed).
So instead of lugging around 10 pounds of garbage wherever I go, sorting through receipts and wrappers and being embarrassed when I can’t find something, I know I’ve got exactly what I need.
The idea is to simplify. The same applies to other areas of your life, like your closet and your drawers. Cut back on unnecessary items and you’ll find it’s much easier to organize what you have (and keep it organized). It can be hard to get over the need to hold on to items “just in case,” but once you start cleaning out and organizing, you might be surprised at what you’re holding on to that you simply don’t need.
When you do purchase organizational tools such as boxes, shelves and storage containers, be smart about what you buy. Don’t use “getting organized” as an excuse to bring in complicated items and add more clutter. Instead, look for quality tools that are well made, long-lasting, and fit within your budget. Go for simple utility over flashy and trendy and you’ll find immense benefit in the long run.
5. Own Your Finances and Work on Your Budget
I know a lot of people GROAN when they hear the word “budget.” I used to cringe at just the thought of the B-word.
What changed? I realized all of these organizing secrets are intertwined. Taking an organized approach to life by writing things down, preparing the night before for a successful morning, sticking to routines, and simplifying can help you stay frugal, allowing you to stretch your budget when you need to.
This was my a-ha moment!
Imagine less-stressful mealtimes. You’ll be able to eat at home more often, saving you tons, because you’ll have healthy freezer meals, easy DIY TV dinners, and plans for lunches and snacks easily accessible.
Can you imagine not constantly running to the store to purchase one item you forgot (and walking out with six more things than you planned to buy). You’ll be able to find things you already have, repurpose items when you need to, and find budget-friendly solutions for organizing.
It all starts with a solid budget plan.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but you can do this, I promise.
This Free Organizing Course Changed My Life.
To get started, try the 90-day Budget for Beginners Bootcamp. It’s completely FREE. This challenge changed our lives! You won’t be constantly worried about how to get to your next paycheck. Your dreams will finally seem within reach. Best of all, you’ll have a plan to get you to where you want to be.
Look, none of us can do it all, and no one is Super Mom, but by staying organized you’ll free up time on your calendar and be able to narrow down goals to those you truly want to achieve. Starting today, you can be on your way to feeling more calm and more in control of your life.
You can do it!
I can help. 🙂