During the Grid + Glam February Organizing Bootcamp, a client asked about my “Game Changers” – things that have revolutionized how I get and stay organized. I answered the question in the closed Facebook Group, but also wanted to share it with you here. I’ve broken them into two categories: organizing game changers and routine game changers. I hope some of these ideas will help you on your journey to becoming the most organized person you know!
Organizing Game Changers:
- I have less stuff. I have always been very organized, but it took me a YEAR to get to the level I’m at now. And, during that year, I got rid of a lot of stuff, including the “I may need this some day” things, the “I can’t let go of this yet” things, and the “but I spent money on this, I can’t just throw it away” things. Over time, I let ALL of that go. It was liberating, and so helpful. Because the less you have, the easier it is to get and stay organized. It is THAT simple!
- I have a place for everything. Every time I buy something, ANYTHING, I think about where it’s going to go in the house. I do not buy anything until I have a home for it. If I can’t think of a spot for it, it may mean that we don’t need it. This has helped me reduce my shopping and therefore my spending, and has helped to keep the house organized after shopping trips. As soon as I get home from any errand . . . or school . . . or work, I can easily unpack and put everything in its spot. This is game changing because I don’t have to think about whether or not I’m in the mood to put something away. It’s so simple to do when you have a spot for everything, that’s it is hard to find an excuse not to do it.
Routine Game Changers
- I enlist every member of the house. I used to feel like it was my responsibility to keep things running smoothly. I thought that since I wanted it to be the neatest, I had to be the one to make it so. Nobody was making me feel this way – I just felt it. I carved out time on my own to organize, tidy, and to keep things running smoothly. Eventually, I realized that actually, having an organized home benefits EVERYONE, which means that everyone should contribute. This has revolutionized the way we run our household. We all work together now to tidy up and stay on a routine. A lot of it happens on the weekends when we are all together. My kids are ages 5 and 9, and are instrumental in keeping the house organized. We grocery shop together, unload the groceries together (and have dance parties while we do it to keep it fun). My kids help pick out their clothes for the next day, and they put away their toys when they’re done using them. I love this not only because it enables the home to be an organized one, but also because it gives the kids a sense of pride in their ability to contribute to a greater cause – to play an active, and important role in the family. It is also setting them up for success when they get older. Quick caveat, however. When my kids were little this looked very different. Set realistic expectations based on your kids’ ages (which, quite frankly, might mean they do nothing until they reach about 3).
- My routine is written down. Another game changer is having a schedule for everything I do in my routine. For example, I do laundry on Mondays (sheets and clothes), Wednesdays (towels and clothes), Fridays (clothes). We do dishes every night and load the dishes as we use them. Right after dinner we run them, so they are done before we go to bed. My husband typically unloads the dishwasher. We grocery shop on Saturdays. If it’s written down, I know I have a plan that will get everything done when it needs to be done. Some people don’t get anything done unless it’s written down. Others, like myself, will constantly be maintaining my home unless I set limits on myself. I could ALWAYS be maintaining things. If there is a single dirty shirt, I could see myself doing a load of laundry. I could clean the dishes every time there’s a dirty dish. If I let this approach take over, I would never leave the house! So, the schedule helps me to set limits on myself.
- My to do list is scheduled into my calendar. Scheduling things in does not stop at my routine. Anything on my to do list also gets put into my calendar. If I need to return library books by Friday, I schedule it on Tuesday as a task to complete on the way to a client’s house. A friend once told me that there are two types of people when it comes to their to-do list: some see everything all at once and get overwhelmed, and feel like they can never complete it. So . . .they don’t. The other type doesn’t look at their to-do list and misses the urgency. They also don’t complete it. Therefore, scheduling your to-dos into your calendar is beneficial to you no matter what category you fall into.
- I *try* to do everything in batches. I set aside large chunks of time to get an entire project done. This way, I can stay focused on that task which is less exhausting than multitasking AND I can check big projects off my to-do list. For example, grocery shopping. On Saturday or Sunday, I blocked out three hours for the family to go grocery shopping. When we return from the store, everyone unpacks the groceries together. Then I restock the snacks in the cars, I cut the veggies for the week, I pack lunches, I take everything out of any complicated or annoying packaging so it’s ready to eat whenever I want it. Do I want to do all of that? No, I do not. But I know it will help me for the rest of the week, and it feels so good to get it all done in one fell swoop.
- I get ready for bed when the kids do. This may seem like a small thing, but it may be my very biggest game changer. If I don’t have any plans at night, when my kids are bathing (even if it is as 4:30 pm) I change into sweats, wash my face, and put on all my creams. This might sound ridiculous, but for years I would put off going to bed every night because I didn’t feel like getting ready. This way, when I am finally ready for bed, I can just . . . brush my teeth and go to bed.
Those are my game changers! Have less stuff, find a place for everything, enlist every member of the house, write down my routine, schedule in my to do list, batch the tasks together, and get ready for bed when the kids do.
Do you use any of the above strategies? Do you wish you did? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!