Welcome back to Time Saving Tuesday. Each Tuesday you can stop by for another tip, and if you missed last week’s, you can find it here.
Is your desk piled up, or are those organizers you bought last month still in the package? Did it take you you ten minutes to find the basil for your dinner last night? Were you running late because you couldn’t find the match to those pair of shoes? If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it’s time for an organization overhaul.
Have a Plan
You know where those spots in your house are that you struggle with.
Is it your desk?
1. Have one master calendar with ALL your information on it, including appointments, sports practice, meetings, lessons, when bills are due, etc. You can look in one place to see when and where you have to be each day. It will tremendously help you stay organized, and save you a LOT of time. Take all those little cards with appointments and little notes about field trips, add them to your master calendar, and then throw them out.
2. Put all your bills in one pile, and sort through the other stuff. If you haven’t used something in the last few months, ask yourself if you’ll really miss it or if you really need it. If not, throw it out. Less is more when it comes to your time.
3. Set up a bill paying station or file, where you can put your pending bills, envelopes, stamps, and user names/passwords for online payments. This will make your bill paying simple, and you won’t have to waste time looking for stamps and envelopes when a bill is due.
4. Make sure you sort your mail everyday. If you wait, you’ll end up with piles of junk mail that doesn’t need to be there, unpaid bills that are just waiting for late fees and interest, and appointment cards you may be missing. Keep your piles to a minimum!
Is it your closet?
1. Take everything out. Take all out of date items and donate them.
2. Next, look for things you haven’t worn in the last 6-12 months. Donate those too.
3. Find those that you know you currently wear, and start placing back in your closet. You can organize by color or type or a combination of the two. Just find what works best for you.
4. Try on what is left, and donate what doesn’t fit, or what doesn’t look so good on. (no matter what a great deal it was!)
5. Do the same with coats and shoes.
Is it the first room that people enter (mudroom, breezeway, entryway)
1. Have a bench or chair for people to sit and remove their shoes.
2. Have a basket or shelf to organize your shoes. It will save you time when you don’t have to run around looking for a match to your shoes. Hang coats, and only keep out current season things, and store the rest in the attic or basement. If you don’t, you’ll be tripping over winter boots and coats while you look for your flip flops!
3. If you don’t have room to store, just keep the coat and shoe inventory to a minimum. You really only can wear one pair at a time, and remember, black matches with everything.
4. Have a basket or type of storage for miscellaneous items, like backpacks, umbrellas, etc.. This will keep floor clutter to a minimum. Just make sure it doesn’t get overloaded. Go through it once a week to week out those items you no longer need.
Remember to regularly purge these baskets, junk drawers, files, kids’ stuff, and areas that tend to get piled and cluttered. You don’t have to have it perfect, just make it work. If something doesn’t have a home, find one or throw it out.
Do a Little Every Day
Your plan will never work if you don’t work at it a little every day. Your mail, dish, and laundry piles will get big again. You’ll find you’re spending your time catching up again instead of controlling the clutter. Make your entire family help with this so it’s not so overwhelming. Once you start taking care of things as they happen instead of waiting, it will become a habit and you won’t think twice about it. Your kids will automatically take care of their dishes, shoes, and laundry…well some may need a little reminding! You won’t have any more overwhelming piles to try to get through. “Mom, I don’t have any socks!” will not be something you’ll hear anymore. Your life will run more smoothly, you will be less frustrated, and you will save many precious minutes of your day. Put your laundry away or iron while watching TV or listening to the radio, and it won’t even seem like a chore.
Break it up into Parts
If you wait until the weekend to conquer all your clutter, it will become a daunting task. If you plan to clean the whole garage in one day, you may never want to get started. Instead, break it down. Sort through the sports equipment on one day, tools on another. In your closet sort through clothes one day and then shoes another. Breaking tasks down will help you stay focused, and smaller goals are easier to accomplish, and keeps you motivated to keep going.
Everything Needs a Home Rule
Make this a rule in your house. If something doesn’t have a home to return to everyday, it will just float from one place to another and add to the clutter. Find the best place for things like your keys, purse, phone, checkbook, and kids backpacks. Choose obvious locations, like keys and backpacks near the door. When everything is in place it will save time spent looking for lost items.
Take Note of What Works and What Doesn’t
If you have a lot of files with only 1 or 2 things in them you probably have too many files. Having one file for utilities makes more sense than having a separate one for gas, electric, phone, and cable. You can get most of your bills online so you don’t need a huge file of years of bills. If you spend too much time looking for something in an overstuffed file, you probably don’t have enough files. You can break it down into more categories. Remember, files are supposed to help you save time.
Sort it Right
When you sort through your clutter have these 3 general piles; trash, file, act now. Don’t keep the 3 piles going, put the trash in the trash, file what needs to be filed, and send out those bills that are due. If you don’t take action, you’ll end up with 3 piles of clutter instead of 1. Make a decision right away, don’t postpone it until later. Indecisiveness = clutter.
Don’t worry about waiting for your label maker to come in the mail, or having the cutest labels for now. Just get started, and you can change those things later. You need to know what’s in those files or bins of kids toys and crafts. Labels are great when sorting toys, crafts, tools, pantry items, files, decorations, and off season clothes and shoes.
Key things to remember:
1. Don’t worry about having the perfect system, just get started.
2. If it’s too overwhelming, break it down, or enlist some help.
3. Be decisive. Is it helping you or hindering you?
4. Keep your eye on the prize = saving your precious time (and all those things you can be doing instead of sifting though clutter) and being clutter free (or a whole lot less)
5. Don’t get discouraged if you have to go back and start again. You’ll have areas that will get still get cluttered. It’s normal. Life gets busy, and it happens. Just start again, and keep it going. It’s good to go through stuff once or twice a year anyway to see what you still need and what you don’t.
If you have any clutter questions or tips please feel free to send us a message. We’d love to help you out!!