Trying to keep up with the house, work, kids and all of the extra-curricular actives in the household can be a daunting task. Sometimes trying to fit in an hour of leisurely reading can seem impossible, but the key to balancing everything is to be organized. Having an organized environment and a structured life can help ensure that you can meet all of your obligations, while still having time left over for yourself.
If you're new to the idea of getting organized, or feel overwhelmed by the thought, don't worry! We have some easy ways to get organized that will help the process seem easy and manageable.
Ways to Get Organized:
1. To Do Lists: Creating a couple To Do Lists can help you keep track of everything you have going on. These lists can be created on your phone, an excel spreadsheet, or simply written on a piece of paper and hung on the refrigerator. I recommend having 3 separate to do lists:
- A Master To Do List: write down everything you want to have done in the next year. Small things, big things, or anything that has been nagging you, that you haven't yet made time for.
- A Monthly To Do List: Looking at your Master list, decide which of those things you want to finish in the next month, and create a monthly to do list. Check it once a week to see how it's coming along.
- A Daily To Do List: Every morning, it's a great idea to make a daily to do list, and jot down what you hope to accomplish that day, along with any other appointments or obligations. Writing these things down and checking your list periodically throughout the day will help you optimize your time and keep you on track. Make sure your to do list is feasible, and you're not putting too many things onto one day (which can cause you more stress!). Leave yourself enough "me time" for each day.
2. Declutter Your Home: Having a cluttered home can be an energy drainer, and it can cause unnecessary stress. Having to search through clutter for misplaced objects can take up a lot of valuable time. The initial time investment of decluttering can be a bit high, but it is definitely worth the trade off. Having clean closets, organized drawers and pantries, and orderly cleaning supplies will make you feel great! I recommend going through your house and writing down every space that needs a bit of organization, and then adding those items to your Master To Do List. Then you can tackle one area a week until your space is decluttered and your house looks great. When going through cluttered spaces, make 3 piles: what to keep, what to throw, and what to donate/sell. When deciding whether or not to keep an object, ask yourself these three questions:
- Have I used it/worn it in the pats 6 months?
- Will I use it/wear it in the next 6 months?
- Is it a keepsake or family heirloom?
If the answer to all of these is no, it may be a good idea to donate it or throw it out.
3. Assign a Set Cleaning Time: Having a clean home can do wonders to achieving a peaceful mind. Assign a set time in your week to devote a couple of hours to thoroughly clean your house. Make sure to block out some time on your daily To Do List, so it doesn't get missed. I find it helpful to do this at the same time every week, so it becomes a habit.
4. Get Rid of Unnecessary Paper: Thankfully, more and more statements and bills are available online through e-statements, but it doesn't seem to stop credit card offers from showing up in our mailboxes. Knowing what documents to keep, and for how long, can help you decide what to get rid of. Then creating an organized filing cabinet for the records that you need to retain can help your paper be manageable and easily accessible. Here's a brief list of what to keep and for how long:
- Tax Returns: Retain for 7 years from the filing date
- Bank Statements: Retain for 1 year, unless they were used for a tax return filing, in which case, you will keep them for as long as the tax return is kept.
- Insurance Policies: Keep for as long as the policy is active. When you receive a new policy, shred the old one.
- Credit Cars Statements: Until the account is paid in full.
Make sure to shred any documents that contain personal information, like social security numbers, date of birth, or any other information that you don't want strangers knowing. For a complete list of which documents to retain, and for how long, visit USA.gov.
5. Meal Planning: A little bit of planning can save you a lot of time (and money). Every week, sit down and make a meal plan and grocery list for the week. Go to the grocery store and get all of the ingredients for all of your meals, and you're set! Having a plan and ingredients on hand will save you time and stress while trying to figure out what to make for dinner. This will also prevent you from eating out, which is often unhealthy and can be very costly.
Where do you go next? Learn how to be Organized on a Budget!
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