I’m still astounded by how much harder it is to keep up a household with the addition of just one extra (very small) family member a year and a half ago. Maybe that’s because my son is a wizard at unfolding laundry, removing the contents from cabinets, and tucking away valuables in top-secret hiding spots? In any case, I’m on a mission to get more organized. Here are the seven best ways I’ve come across so far.
1. Make a home for your keys, wallet, and phone
Do you often find yourself racing around searching for one of these three things? You’re not alone. Designate a place for them and always put them there. It helps if this place has an outlet, so you can plug in your phone.
2. Say no to junk mail
According to New American Dream, most of us will spend eight months opening junk mail during our lives. The solution? Opt out. I did this 5 years ago, and I don’t miss junk mail at all. Find out how to do it here.
2. Deal with the mail immediately
It’s hard to motivate yourself to go through the mail when it’s turned into a Leaning Tower of Pisa on the junk table. Open it the instant it arrives, put the bills in a designated area, file what you need to keep, and shred what you don’t. (Organizer Perri Kersh explains what you should keep and what you can safely shred here.)
3. Do one thing at a time
We’ve all heard it – multitasking is inefficient. But until recently, I often found myself doing six things at once. I’d start one task, get distracted, start another, realize the first wasn’t done, go back to it, notice something else that wasn’t done … you get the picture. I somehow got things done. But I always felt overly-busy and harried. Then the solution dawned on me – a simple checklist. I can’t tell you how much this tool has transformed my life. Learn more here.
3. Wash, dry, fold, and put away a load of laundry a day
I always imagined that the key to my laundry woes was a fancy laundry sorting system, preferably one with lots of cool, handmade wicker baskets. But it turns out that the more practical, less glamorous solution is just doing a load of laundry start-to-finish every day.
4. Institute a 30-Minute Family Clean-up
After dinner, turn on some music and clean together for 30 minutes. You may be amazed by how much you get done, and it’s a lot more fun to do it together.
5. Streamline your Internet time
We all know mindless surfing can eat hours from the day. Sadly, I think the answer to this one is just discipline. Pay attention to where you’re going online and cut out the surfing and blog-reading that’s not adding anything meaningful to your life. Download an add-on such as LeechBlock to keep you away from distractions and stick with it.
6. Keep a family calendar
Write down everyone’s dates and appointments and what you’re planning to make for meals in one central location. A magnetic dry-erase calendar on the refrigerator works great for this.
7. Plan your meals
Yes, meal-planning is my answer for everything – even world peace. I wrote about it here.
Do you have any organizing tips?