Ways to Get Organized

by Andrea on July 8, 2013

in Organization 101

Ways to Get Organized

Ways to Get Organized

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.  Learning ways to get organized will result in a structured life that can help ensure that you can meet all of your obligations, while still having time left over for yourself.

If you are looking for ways to get 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? Here are some more tips on organization:

What are your tips on staying organized? Search

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tracey Tanner July 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I think it was the time I went to the store and realized I left my coupons at home. Or maybe it was the day that I paid my bill late and incurred a late charge. Maybe it was mailing a present in the mail and having to pay extra to get it shipped in time. Whenever it was… I finalized realized I was throwing money out the window by not being organized.

Reply

2 Andrea July 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Tracey, I know the feeling, and you’re absolutely right! It can be costly (both on time and financially) to be unorganized. Life is much more efficient and productive when you have a clean space and an organized mind. A little bit of prep work really does pay off.

Thanks for your comment and for stopping by :)

Reply

3 Samuel Joyce July 20, 2013 at 3:47 am

I liked your ideas about to well organized. The way you strewed all the information is good to know and can be good to use.I like the organizing part so I need to be reminded of this over and over. Thanks so much for sharing.

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4 Andrea July 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Samuel, I am so glad you liked the post. Thanks!

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5 Natalie Diaz July 29, 2013 at 12:29 am

These are really awesome tips and I completely agree that making list of the things always helpful. I have experienced many time that listing the things and important tasks helped be to get rid of messes that I would have made if I hadn’t listed the things .

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6 Andrea July 30, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thanks Natalie! I agree, there is something about writing tasks down that makes you want to complete them.

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7 The Streeter The Streeter Chicago August 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Awesome tips which I also follow. I always make a monthly schedule for all these things and assign de-cluttering/cleaning tasks to my children as well.

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8 Andrea Huber December 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

On shredding old insurance policies, I would suggest saving a digital copy of a homeowner or business insurance policy. Losses may arise after the fact, and without proof of the policy, it is not likely that the insurance company will be forthcoming with a replacement copy.

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9 Kim Head January 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Great ideas! My father recently passed and we chose to “permanently opt-out” his name from receiving these credit card/insurance offers in the mail. Fears of identity theft, a cluttered mail box, and also the fact it saves trees were contributors in this decision. The Federal Trade Commission explains how to do it safely, online, for 5 years or permanently. It took a couple of months for it to fall into place, but I haven’t seen one offer since. Happy to share the link!

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0148-prescreened-credit-and-insurance-offers

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