Don’t wait to get organized. Use these 20 great tips to get up and get organized today!
1. Put Things Back…Immediately
You’ll notice that this little gem has shown up on several of my organizational informationals. That’s because this is at the heart of any organizing endeavor. Train yourself to put things away as soon as you are finished using them. That means everything. Hair brush, toothbrush, vacuum cleaner, you name it. Don’t set that blow dryer down, even for a minute. As soon as you’re finished, it’s finished too and it needs to go back to where it came from.
2. Gotta Love Mise en Place (Putting in Place)
This one is inspired by the practices of star chefs around the world. For those not in the know, chefs are extremely organized people and are trained to keep their kitchens and their homes strictly organized. This means assigning a place for everything and making sure that item is always returned to that place. It also means using labels, appropriate storage and developing a system that works for you.
So assign a place for everything in your home. Separate items into similar groupings and start using labeled containers for storage. When storing away any items, always keep the most frequently used items in convenient-to-reach spaces while you’re more rarely used items can be kept in more out-of-the-way spaces.
3. Create Daily, Weekly and Monthly Cleaning Schedules
Set out a plan of attack when it comes to your cleaning and organizing. You’ll need to spend at least 15 minutes each day really committing to your organizational routine, but there are some cleaning and organizing options that can be performed less regularly.
Write out your plan for daily, weekly and monthly cleaning. Think of the things that will need to be done each day (clearing the sink, dealing with the trash, clearing up the bathroom, etc.) and the things that you can do just once a week, once a month or even once a year (think spring cleaning, flipping mattresses, dusting the ceiling fans, blinds, etc.)
If you don’t know where to start, use the cleaning schedule below as a guide!
4. Label Stored Food and Perishables
Ever gone digging through the back of the fridge and found an unrecognizable Tupperware container filled with something that looks like Frankenstein’s revenge? Yeah. Me too. Avoid this nasty pitfall by labeling everything in your fridge and your pantry. Move soon-to-expire foodstuffs to the front and longer-dated foodstuffs towards the rear.
5. Unsubscribe From All That Junk
Take a few minutes out of your time to hit that little blue unsubscribe button at the end of all those pesky newsletters, magazines and other subscriptions. Cleaning out your mailbox and your inbox will not only help you keep your home and phone clear of excess clutter, but it will also cut down on the time you have to spend purging and organizing all the junk.
Plus, it’s good for the environment too. Don’t use paper you don’t need!
6. Check Those Dates
We’ve all dug through a sea of expired vitamins and cold medicines in the medicine cabinet. Save space, time and your family’s health by regularly going through you medicines and canned goods, ridding yourself of the expired good immediately.
7. Get A Money Management App
One of the key side effects of being disorganized is over spending. Download a great money management app for your phone or tablet and force yourself to use it regularly. Use an app like Quicken or Mint, and use them to keep up with your incoming and outgoing spending monthly.
8. Write Everything Down…You’re Not A Superhero
Literally write down everything. Your schedule for the day, a list of things you have to get done, a list of the things you actually get done, etc. Invest in a personal planner and use it to keep everything written down in one place for easy reference.
I always recommend the DailyGreatness Journal, because it doubles as a personal planner and personal motivator. Full of mindfulness exercises, it not only helps you stay organized, but the exercises keep you motivated and balanced. They also come in an array of focuses included a parenting journal and family planner, a yoga journal and a business planner!
9. Make Back-Ups of EVERYTHING!
We live in a fast-paced, hectic and digital age. That’s not news. Make sure you never lose a thing by backing up all the files and documents on your computer – especially the important ones. Get copies made of home and car keys. For important family documents, make sure you have not only the originals but photocopies as well (birth certificates, financial records, ownership titles, etc.)
10. Clean Regularly
Don’t leave the kitchen for the next day. Take a few minutes out of each day to clean. I find that 15 minutes each day, just before bed, is the perfect amount of time to get the house straightened up and ready for the next hectic morning. What’s even better is that spending a few minutes cleaning each day will save you from those miserable 2+ hour cleaning sessions that always seem to happen just before the in-laws arrive for a weeklong stay.
11. Out With The Old, In With The New
Before you purchase a new item, donate or recycle an old item. This will help you keep the clutter in your home at bay and will keep your cleaning and organizing routines simple, short and sweet.
12. Delegation…It’s What’s Up
Don’t take everything on yourself. Delegate tasks you don’t have time to do to your family. Assign age-appropriate chores or tasks to the kids. Make a game out of it by creating your own chore chart or chore board, and offer rewards from chore-based tasks.
The important key to delegation is communication, so make sure all delegated tasks are clearly assigned and confirmed by the delegated-to party. If the delegation includes weekly chores, make a chore chart that is displayed in a highly visible place, or schedule the chores into a shared calendar app like iCalendar.
13. Create A Password MasterList
Use a safe app like 1Password or Dashlane to keep all your passwords safely stored, accessible and organized. Both apps contain powerful password creators which can be easily used to change less secure passwords.
14. Create An Inventory
Create an inventory for all the things you regularly keep around the house. Think a master grocery list for common perishables, cleaning supplies inventory, etc. Place it somewhere you’ll remember to check it, and where you can easily check off items you’ve run out of. Check it once a week to make sure you stay stocked up.
15. Take Your Organizing To Task
Download a task management app like Trello, or use your phone’s built in reminders to keep track of prioritized tasks.
16. Something To Look Forward To
Make a weekend bucket list that you can look forward to during the regular week. Not only will this keep you motivated, but it will also serve as a quick reference when the weekend rolls around and you start bickering with the family over what to do. Avoid the Netflix / comfy couch whirlpool and lay out some potentially fun plans.
17. Every Space Ship Needs A Central Command
Create a family information center where everyone can quickly see schedules, leave notes for one another, or add needs to future grocery lists, shopping lists, etc. If you’re not into putting up a large marker board or chalkboard for this, use a shared calendar app like iCalendar to keep up with schedules, chores, tasks, etc.
18. Recycle and Donate
It’s a good idea at the start of each new season to take stock of your home inventory and purge the items you no longer need or use. Recycle items that have seen better days and donate the items that are gently used. This will help reduce clutter and will help keep your cleaning and organizing routines simple and easy.
19. Make Hotspots Top Priority
Every home has a few hotspots – places that seem to act as a magnet for clutter (like the kitchen table, bathroom counter, kitchen sink). Include these hotspots in your daily 15 minute cleaning routine to keep them spotless and organized.
20. Back Up Those Photos
You would think this would go without saying, but you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Back backups of all your digital and physical photos. If you’re tired of bulky photo albums, frames and boxes, have your photos transformed into light and beautiful coffee table books, or create a memory album online.