Take Time To Plan - Weekly planning sessions will have a big impact on helping you stay in control and at peace as the week progresses. Decide what day works best for you …possibly Saturday mornings, Sunday evenings or Monday mornings. This will help you and your family stay organized and avoid the chaos of forgetting appointments, activities or other details at the last minute. Use this planning session to go over the upcoming week’s schedule and add errands, deadlines, appointments, phone calls etc. to your calendar. This is also a good time to plan the week’s menu for meals and to update the weekly chore chart.
10 Minutes Each Night - Have each family member take 10 minutes before bedtime to get ready for the next day. Pick out outfits, pack everything that needs to go to school and set it by the door. Also, gather together after school supplies for activities. Doing this will make the mornings run smoother and will prevent items from being forgotten. This is also a great time to have family members tidy up their rooms and play areas and put things away.
Conquer Clutter - Everything in your home should have a permanent home, if this is not the case in your family, take the time to assign homes to everything you own and make sure other family members know where things go. It is also important to take time each year to de-clutter and purge items that you are no longer using. Kids tend to accumulate and grow out of things rapidly, so by moving unwanted items out of the house on a regular basis, you balance what is coming in with what’s going out.
Practice the Two Minute Rule – Teach your family to practice the two minute rule; If it takes less than two minutes to put something away, do it now rather than later. This will prevent clutter from accumulating and will ensure that items can be found when they are needed. It’s always easier to do a task now rather than wait until you have an enormous and overwhelming pile of mess to tackle. You will also appreciate not having constant clutter sitting around your home.
Make a List –Do you have too much stuff floating around in your head telling you what needs to get done? Creating a daily to-do list allows you to dump all that stuff onto paper and get it out of your head. A to-do list helps you to let go and relax and ensures that you won’t forget anything. Additionally, it is gratifying to be able to cross items off your list as you complete them. Be sure to have just one to-do list and not several. Having a grocery list is also extremely helpful. Teach family members to immediately add items to the grocery list when they run out of something. As you plan your weekly menus, add the meal ingredients to the list.
Establish Routines – Routines can help keep families in order. Everyone functions better once a system is in place, but routines are especially important for children. Forming habits, such as doing homework at the same time every day, and having set bath and bedtimes, can help both you and your child feel more in control. Routines give a sense of security and predictability that make our lives feel less chaotic. Establish a school routine with your child as soon as possible and stick with it.
Learn To Say No – This may be the most important step in promoting peace and organization within your family. Today, many families overbook their days, not wanting to miss out on activities and opportunities. We also struggle with saying “no” to requests for commitments because we feel pressured. It’s always easier to tell someone “yes” than it is to say “no” but it is important to stand firm for your family’s sake. Be selective about your volunteer time, choosing only those causes that are most important to you and limit the number of activities your children participate in. Make having meals together a priority and schedule unstructured time along with your activities. Balancing activities and commitments with time spent at home is essential to ensuring peace and harmony within your family.
Written By Laura Coufal
Clean & Clutter Free
Professional Organizing Services
As mothers, we pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task. The more balls we can juggle, the better right? I strongly disagree with this philosophy. Eventually we end up dropping a ball or worse, we become exhausted from all the juggling… and just want to drop all the balls! If this describes you, it's time to give yourself permission to stop multi-tasking.
It is a common belief that the better we are at multi-tasking, the more organized we are. Let me enlighten you, as a professional organizer I can assure you, this is not true. The fact is, multi-tasking can actually make you feel less organized. Why? Two reasons; First, the amount of peace in our lives is reduced when we try to do too many things at one time, and second, multi-tasking means that we not only do things less accurately, but we take more time to get them done. If we can give our full attention to what we are doing at the present moment, we will get it done faster and without as many blunders. Better still, at the end of the day, we are not frazzled and worn out from juggling several tasks at a time all day long, and we have the energy to be more attentive and patient with our families. Therefore, NOT multi-tasking can actually help us to be better mothers, not the other way around.
This is not to say that you can’t kill two birds with one stone by knocking out two or three errands in one trip downtown. This is not multi-tasking; it is simply making good use of your time. Also, keep in mind that it IS okay to double up on a task if only one of the two tasks requires your focus. For example, folding laundry and talking on the phone can be done peacefully because it takes almost no brain effort to fold clothes. But, if folding clothes happens to be a challenge for you, I suggest you hang up the phone. The key is to not to combine two or more activities that demand your thought and focus.
Simplicity is the key to staying organized, it is also the key to living a more peaceful life. So set your focus on completing one task at a time, let go of multi-tasking and take time to breath.
1.Spend too much time looking for things?
2.Spend too much money buying things you already have at home?
3.Struggle with not having enough storage space for all of your stuff?
4.Have food that expires or gets stale before it gets eaten?
One reoccurrence I frequently find when I enter the homes my clients is that they often have several bottles, cans, tubes, boxes, whatever it may be... of the same items. From cleaning supplies and toiletries to food in the pantry, as I scan the space, staring back at me are doubles, triples and sometimes multitudes of the same items. Additionally, it is not uncommon for me to find that many of these matching items have already been opened. These extra items take up precious storage space and are at risk of going stale or expiring before they are used.
Another frequent occurrence I find is that rather than the matching items being all together in one place, they are spread out in several different locations within the room or even multiple rooms. This not only makes them hard to find when they are needed, but also creates a challenge to take inventory of what we need when it is time shop. If this scenario describes your home, know that you are not alone; it is one of the most common reasons why so many of us struggle with clutter and frustration within our homes.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem, and I call it “THE POWER Of ONE.” Although the following steps are not difficult, the challenge lies in changing your current routine, and mastering a new one that serves you better. Changing a poor routine (or a bad habit) into a good one is the key to success. And while the new routine may be hard to stick to at first, you will find that the longer you discipline yourself to follow it, the easier it becomes. Soon, you will be doing it without even thinking about it….and your organizing issue will be solved!
Let’s get started…
Winter is just around the corner; autumn’s colors are popping up everywhere, and it’s nearly time to dig the hats and mittens out of the basement. When it comes to storing out of season items, it makes sense to put all of your winter gear such as boots, gloves, hats, scarves, heavy coats etc. into long term storage during the summer season. They do not need to take up space in your mud room or garage during the summer months. On the other hand, the clothes living in your bedroom closet and dresser drawers are a different story, I do not recommend storing off- season clothing in any location other than your bedroom.
For busy families, seasons roll around rapidly and it is a waste of time to have to play the game of bringing totes up from the basement, rifling through them and washing and folding or hanging each article of clothing. Then you still have summer clothing to store away. This process tires me out just thinking about it, especially since it seems like it was just yesterday that I was putting our winter boots away. This system takes a lot of time and effort to maintain and if you have children and do the same with their clothing, the job gets even more exhausting. The other negative result of this system is that we are more likely to forget what we have in storage, and risk making unnecessary purchases only to find out later that we already had the same item hiding in a tote somewhere. I have even had clients who have purchased new clothing, knowing they already have one at home just like it, but they find it easier to shop than to tackle their totes. This is an expensive alternative.
I know what you are thinking, “I don’t have any choice because I do not have enough room in my bedroom.” But, the truth is, most of us have adequate storage space, we simply have too many clothes. Studies have shown that the average person wears 20% of their clothing 80% of the time. My husband and I share a small walk-in closet, everything fits and there is plenty of room to spare. We also feel that we have all of the clothing we need. The thing is that clothing tends to have seasonal expiration dates. Chances are, if you take a look at your closet and analyze its contents, most likely, you will find clothing that you are wearing now, and clothing you were wearing a few years ago but aren’t wearing anymore. We get tired of what we wear after a few years and the blouse or sweater we used to love begins to gather dust. There are exceptions to this rule of course, holiday and formal wear, the favorite sweater that you love year after year, but much of our clothing loses its shine after awhile. To simplify your seasonal routine and your life, take the following steps:
Write It Down
A calendar and a to do list are wonderful helpers when it comes to staying organized. Put EVERYTHING that you need to get done on your electronic or paper calendar. Even routine chores like washing the bedding is more likely to get done if you write it on your calendar. Daily TO-DO lists are great for getting those nagging thoughts of what you need to get done out of your head and on paper. Be sure to keep only ONE list, and have fun crossing items off your list as you complete them!
Everything In Its Place
Everything in your life should have a place to call home. Where do your car keys go? Do you have one designated spot for your check book? Assign homes to everything you own, start with your purse and work all the way down to your fingernail clippers.
Put It Away Now
Practice the 2 minute rule, if it will take less than 2 minutes to put something away, then do it now. Don’t set it down on the dining room table and leave it there. It will be easier to do now than to wait until you have an enormous and overwhelming pile of mess to tackle. Your home will stay clutter free if you can master this one good habit.
Establish Helpful Routines
We all function better once we have developed a system. Forming habits like doing chores at the same time every week, and having other set routines can help you feel more in control. Routines give us a sense of security and predictability that makes our lives feel less chaotic. Establish a work routine and stick with it. You will find that life runs smoother when you have set routines in place.
Less Is More
Look around your home and evaluate everything you have, it is serving you? Is everything you see pleasing to the eye? If you have a surplus items in your home that you have not used and/or they no longer lift you up when you look at them, it is time to say goodbye. A peaceful and welcoming home is one that includes plenty of open space. Too much décor and/or furnishings creates stress on the eyes and makes a home look smaller. Less stuff allows energy into your home and creates a peaceful environment. So less really is more!
Written By Laura Coufal
Clean & Clutter Free
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.