I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not an organizational maven. But I’m pretty proud to say this is an area of my life where I’ve made LOTS of progress.
My friend Betsy came to visit last March before I had my second baby and she actually commented, “I’m so impressed with how organized you are.” This was HUGE.
Betsy has known me since college. And I had a reputation in college of being … well … messy.
As I said, I’m a work-in-progress. If you are like me, you are always looking for tips and tricks to get you from chaos to calm. So here are my top 10 tips to get you there.
Use verticle space.
If you are organziationally handicapped like me and it just doesn’t come naturally to you–I understand! It never dawned on me to use verticle space. These handy dandy, cheapo, plastic shoe holders are a life saver. I have them hanging on the inside of a lot of my closets at home.
If you want to go the fancier route, Thirty-One has this great option too! You can get one for each member of your family and use command hooks to place them anywhere in your home.
Make it a priority.
I don’t have a full week to throw myself into organizing all my closets. But I do have time to block off one afternoon a month. I schedule this ahead of time on the 15th of every month and put it on my calendar. So then I know–that afternoon–I’ve got an organizational date. Slow and steady wins the race, people.
Caddies, Carriers, Baskets
Having a specially customized container for everything is the way to go. Here are some of my favorite options. I have to admit–in my home you will find LOTS of these plastic shoe-box bins with labels on the outside.
Recognize the Hot Spots.
Do a tour of your house and recognize all the “Hot Spots” in your home. These are the areas where items accumulate. You know what I’m talking about–right beside the couch, that spot on the counter, and come up with a strategy to keep that spot organized. Maybe it’s a container, maybe it’s a hook. Keep in mind that this will be a trial and error until you find the most logical solution. And don’t give up until it’s resolved!
Routine. Routine. Routine.
I can’t say enough about having a routine. I’m not a very rigid person, but I’ve set up alerts on my phone to help me stay on task with weekly chores that pile up on me (hello, laundry). Also, I’ve come up with a regular picking-up routine to incorporate into the evening routine with the kids. This is how it works for us: bath time, clean up, book time, bed time. Now my 4-year-old knows it’s coming every single night and he doesn’t argue about it anymore.
Weekly planning session.
Every Monday morning as soon as breakfast is done I get out my notebook and plan my whole week. This is how it looks. I make a list of to-do items for each day of the week. Then I make another list of goals that week. These are like bonus items. If I accomplish them it puts me way ahead for next week. Or if for some reason I finish everything on my other to-do lists, I jump to this list. Then I plan my meals for the weeknights and compile my grocery list. If you are an online shopper, this is when I submit my online order to pick up the next day.
I can’t say this enough about life in general. If you feel out of your depth, if the closets are overwhelming, if you have no idea what to do with that drawer, get help from one of your organizational friends. Or call a professional organizer! There are also tons of blogs with helpful insight to help you tackle the worst of projects.
Keep a “pick up” bin.
I keep a bin at the bottom of my stairs and all day as I’m finding things that don’t belong downstairs, I toss them in the bin. When the bin fills up I carry it upstairs and put everything away.
Make it personal.
For Christmas I got my kids these cute little caddies ($12) with their names on them. So now I hand Ezra his basket (since Vea isn’t’ old enough for this yet) and have him fill up his caddy with all his legos and cars that get scattered around the house.
Work on nook, one cranny at a time.
I’ll be honest, it’s taken me about 4 years to set a standard of organization in my house. But I do feel like, after all this time, I’ve made huge improvements. Before I started on this journey towards, I felt that it was just too much to do. It’s like losing weight. You convince yourself that one cookie won’t matter, but after a while you realize EVERY SINGLE COOKIE matters. Every single nook and cranny plays a role in keeping your house organized. Tackle it one nook at time and you will see BIG improvements in the overall flow of clutter in your house.
What are some of your BEST tips for keeping your life and home organized? I’d love to hear!