As the new year approaches I’m on the hunt for ways to stay organized. I’m determined to do better this year than any previous year and started out by organizing some of the most utilized spaces in my home.
Now that I’m beginning with a fresh start, I figured out that I’d have to implement a few things to make sure I’m consistently on top of things. I have learned that for me to be completely organized I’ll need to monitor and adjust often. When I let too much slide I start to lose my motivation to keep up organization in general. For example, every time I let the front seat of my car collect extra clothes from the gym, a coat or two, or a water bottle, the rest of my car just goes downhill. I start to store things in the backseat that need to be taken into the house, forget to empty out the car seats and hoard one too many reusable grocery bags. This happens in the house, on my calendar, in my email box, on my desk, everywhere!
The solution I’ve found is to set a few things straight at the beginning of each month and take some time out to prepare to help me stay organized. The beginning of the month is an easy time to remember you’ve got a little work to do so there’s a natural desire to get things together before the month really gets going.
Here are the 5 things I must do each month to stay organized:
Review the calendars
I keep several calendars. I have one for work, one for this blog, and a family calendar. If I don’t reconcile all three I’m no doubt expected to be in 4 places at once. Inevitably, we have more things to do on one weekend of the month and absolutely nothing to do or very little to do the other three weekends. Then, those weekends get filled with either household duties and I’m stressed to the max on that one monster weekend.
When I review all the calendars together for each month I can plan accordingly or change some things to spread out the workload and tasks throughout the month. If I notice an unusually busy week is coming ahead at work I will lighten my Friday and Sunday loads to make sure we have rest time. I can also get birthday party gifts ahead of time, manage our budget better, and fill in some fun activities when I notice we need a playdate or a date night.
I find fewer surprises and pop ups when I know what’s coming ahead and give myself advanced notice this way.
I’ve been doing more meal planning, meal prepping and ordering groceries to stay organized in the kitchen. This simple task at the beginning of the month takes so much stress off of me as the one who cooks the majority of the time for our family. Not having to come up with dinner ideas every night or ask what do we want for dinner with no good responses is one way I keep my sanity. Adding in the fact that I can order grocery pickup or delivery each week based on the meals I’ve planned saves me a trip to the store makes me so happy.
I make sure to account for nights we eat out or eat leftovers to give my kitchen a break and I’m prepped for the week. The benefits of this work should be clear, but I’ll share that having my ideas already laid out gives us variety and lessons the night time load, prepping so that we have good healthy meals throughout the week saves my waistline and money from bringing our lunches to work, and the time I get back from stopping at the store 2 and 3 times a week is better utilized.
I use the planner that I created, which you can get here, but a simple sheet of paper or a spot on your daily calendar will work also.
Pick 3 goals I want to work towards
I am definitely a goal oriented person and having them concise and written out gives me a chance to see what I need to do more clearly. When I have too many goals on my mind I don’t know where to start and can get sidetracked. Once I write down 3 big goals for the month I start to list out what I need to do to complete them or make big strides towards completing them – then plan accordingly throughout the month.
Deep Clean Something
I am fortunate that we keep a pretty tidy house and have someone help us with this once a month. However, there are areas that get more love than others on a regular basis. So, once I month I touch on an area that doesn’t get as much attention. This might be the basebords, ceiling fans, junk drawers, bathroom cabinets, etc.
I’m sure you can easily think of 12 things in your home that need specific attention as well as I can and this is a great way to cross some of the areas off of that list without devoting the time all at once. Getting to each area slowly but surely gives me a break from the deep cleaning and I don’t cut corners because I know it’s only one area at a time. I also take the time to purge unnecessary items if need be.
Plan out one selfish act for yourself
In any list I always include one day or activity to do something just for yourself. The more times this is included and actually done, the more its normalized. We all work hard and should be able to freely find the time, energy, space, and desire to do something that’s just for us. This is not self care – because that should be done each week, but this could be an extra little motion or act that no one else experiences, cares about, wants to do, or needs to do. Remember, it’s just for you, mama!
What’s on your list of things to keep and stay organized? I may add to mine as I get these solidified as a monthly routine in 2020!