Busy, busy, busy! Who isn’t busy? Many of us feel so busy we don’t have time to stop and “get organized.” While getting organized isn’t something you just “do” in a few hours, it is worth your time to stop and make small adjustments at home. Why? Because an organized home is going to make your time flow more smoothly. We lose a lot of time in transition, moving from one activity to the next. Instead of a smooth transition, we are looking for things we need, tripping over something, interrupting a project to finish something else.
Here are some ways you can improve your time management by organizing around the house:
1. Daily Routines
Simplify your routines around the house to save time. Mornings are often a big rush out the door, and evenings are a blur of dinner, family time, and chores. Organize your routines:
- – Get up at the same time every day. This will improve sleep and make it easier to get out of bed.
- – Prepare the night before. Pack lunches and choose clothes for the day. Check the next day’s activities and meetings.
- – Create a departure zone. Mornings are often rushed because you remember something you need and then can’t find it. Gather items that will leave the house with you, such as library books to return and packages to mail.
- – Create a landing zone. When you come home each day, where does your stuff go? We take a lot of extra time by dumping our stuff in a pile by the door and then sorting it all later. As you walk in, hang keys on the hook, put your work bag in its home, put the mail in the mail bowl, etc.
- – Plan the menu in advance. “What’s for dinner tonight?” becomes a dreaded question. Usually, someone is asking at 5 p.m. and people are starting to get hungry. Plan the week’s menu in advance and go the grocery store once per week to get what you need for the following week. If you enjoy cooking, plan more complicated meals on less busy nights and use the simple ones when everyone is busy.
2.Pick up as You Go
Our habits, good and bad, can lead to organization or disorganization. If you’re in the habit of leaving things lying around, you’ll have to take a time out to clean and organize them. For example, when cooking, you might wash a dish or two while something is in the oven. Otherwise, you’ll have far more dishes at the end.
3. Clear the Stairs
Create a no-clutter rule for your home’s stairs. This way you can walk down them without stepping carefully, stopping to pick things up, or worrying about a dangerous fall.
4. Create a Master Calendar
In the old days of paper-only calendars, the simplest option was to get a large monthly calendar and put it in the kitchen. (Everyone ends up there at some point!) Each person is in charge of writing down his or her commitments. Each evening, you can check the calendar to coordinate the next day. This is still a good idea for many families. However, it’s often harder now because many of us keep electronic calendars. While you and your partner may share an electronic calendar, your children’s items may not be on there. In that case, you can get a paper calendar and have him/her write items on it as practice, then make notes as needed in your electronic calendar. You might find another approach that works best for you. The idea is to make sure there is one place where you can see at a glance what’s going on tomorrow and in the future.
5. Automate as much as Possible
Have your bills set to auto-pay so you don’t miss deadlines. Have the cleaning or lawn service come the same time each month and bill you automatically. Set automatic timers on porch lights to go off at night. Sure, some of this sounds silly, but the little things add up. The more you can automate, the less you have to worry about whether everything is getting done as it should. Plus, this will ensure you remember less frequent things, such as the annual termite inspection (a must in North Carolina).
Need help to get started? Contact Janice Russell for help organizing your home, business, or time. Online coaching is also available.
Author Bio: Janice Russell is a nationally accredited organizing professional, productivity coach, and speaker distinguished for using her revolutionary Flexible Structure Method™ to help people decrease information, schedule, and stuff-overwhelm in their personal and professional lives. Find out more about the on-site and virtual services provided by Minding Your Matters at MindingYourMatters.com.