Cleaning, organizing, time management
A healthy dose of sanity for busy moms
Get Organized!  How to Simplify Your Life Today

Get Organized! How to Simplify Your Life Today

simplify your life

Finally, you’ve found the right post to help you simplify your life and get organized today!

It’s hard to get it together as a busy mom.¬† We all look up organization ideas and tips on Pinterest with the intention of getting to them eventually.

The problem is that laundry, cooking, baths, carpools and all the joys of motherhood don’t leave a whole lot of time for home organization.

So how can you tidy up, declutter, and get organized?

I am so glad you asked. ūüėČ

There are tons of ways you can squeeze organization into your life.  Start by implementing one or two things a day and just keep building on that foundation.

*This post contains affiliate links.

How to get organized at home and stay organized

Ah, home organization.¬† The busy mom’s holy grail.¬† Does it really exist?

You bet your sweet chili powder it does! 

(Just found out they make sweet chili powder.  Who knew?)

There are all sorts of reasons to get organized, but it can be super overwhelming to figure out what the first step is when you’re knee deep in diapers, laundry and dirty dishes.

I get it!

So let’s start with some common problems people encounter when trying to organize.

1. How can I start to get organized?

Okay, so you want to organize your life but you don’t know where to start.¬† Here are some great tips to get you going.

  • Use a calendar.¬†¬†Hang it in a high traffic area, like the kitchen, so everyone can see it.¬† Not only does it help you organize your time more efficiently, but it prevents those last minute, “You never told me we had to (fill in the blank).”
  • Use a personal organizer.¬†¬†It may seem redundant to have a calendar and a personal organizer, but the organizer travels with you and helps you coordinate everything you need to do to stay organized.¬† Keep track of appointments, to-do and grocery lists, birthdays and anything else that takes up space in your brain.
  • Establish a daily routine for yourself.¬†¬†Start with something simple like making your bed when you first wake up.¬† The next day add another task, like wiping down the bathroom counters.¬† After a while you’ll have a solid daily routine that helps you get and stay organized without a ton of effort.
  • Establish a daily routine for your kids.¬†¬†Just as important as your routine, work with your kids to decide on age appropriate tasks that they can be responsible for each day.

Once you have these four tips down, it’s time to move up the difficulty ladder (after a well deserved pat on the back of course…because you’re awesome!)

2. How can I organize my kitchen?

For all of the love and nourishment our kitchens provide us, we don’t tend to return the favor.¬† Dirty dishes, expired food in the pantry, and cluttered counters don’t really scream, “Thanks for the good times!”

kitchen

Don’t throw in the kitchen towel yet!¬† Try these simple tips to help you organize your kitchen so that it works for your family.

  • Take a good look at yourself and your family.¬†¬†What are your habits?¬† Where do you naturally tend to drop things like your keys, mail, and papers from school?¬† What items do you use most often?¬† Find storage solutions that work for your family.
  • Clear your counters.¬† This will take some time, so set aside an hour or two for this step.¬† Take everything off every counter in your kitchen.¬† Clean your counters, as well as each item, and get a basket for loose papers.
  • Decide which items can live on your counters.¬† The rule here is that only items that are used¬†every day¬†stay on the counter.¬† Be honest with yourself.¬† How often do you really use your pasta maker?¬† Put it away.
  • Get rid of expired food.¬† Just like the counters, take¬†anything perishable out of it’s home and put it all on a table.¬† Toss all the expired items and group like items together before putting away.
  • Optimize your food storage system.¬† Group items that make sense, like baking supplies, together.¬† When putting items away, think of who uses them and how often.¬† Put items like snacks for the kids on lower, easy to reach shelves.¬† Reserve the top shelf for items you don’t use often.

Not too difficult, right?

3. How can I organize my bedroom?

Most of us neglect our bedrooms because we know it’s probably the last place other people are going to see.¬† Still, it’s the last place you see before you close your eyes and the first thing you see when you open them.

Clearing the clutter from your bedroom will help you to clear your mind so that you can start and end each day with more clarity.  Try these simple steps.

  • Make your bed.¬† Yes, I said it earlier.¬† It makes that big of a difference!¬† Once you make your bed you’ll be surprised at how easily you can spot clutter.
  • Clear the clutter.¬† Every morning before you leave your room, clear any glasses or clutter from nightstands and dressers.¬† This will prevent it from building up and becoming a huge chore.
  • Get a wastebasket.¬† You should really have one in every room to help prevent clutter from building up.
  • Use a hamper.¬† At the end of every day, I try to gather the laundry from the bedroom hamper before I go to bed and throw it in the washing machine.¬† As a result, it’s ready to start when I wake up in the morning and I’m more likely to actually get a load done!
  • Put your clothes away before bed.¬† Before getting into bed, put all of your clean laundry away.¬† I usually like to pick out an outfit for the next day while I’m doing this so I can save time in the morning.
  • Go through your clothes.¬† Get rid of items you don’t wear.¬† Donate or sell items in good condition and toss items that have served their purpose.

All of these tips will work just as well to help your kids organize their rooms too!

4. How can I organize my finances?

By now you should be feeling pretty good about yourself, so go grab a glass of whatever takes you to your happy place.¬† It’s time to talk about finances.

That word either makes you hot in the face or you’re thinking, “I’ve got this.”¬† If your face is hot right now and your heart is racing, then this part is for you.

Organizing your finances doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming.¬† Above all, it’s better to be aware and have a plan than to ignore a problem until it gets out of hand.

You can start taking small steps today to help prevent big issues in the future.

  • Make a list of your accounts.¬†¬†Don’t forget small things like activity fees for your kids.
  • Look up balances. Write down current balances for each account.
  • Add additional account information.¬†¬†For each account, include as much information as possible.¬† Record things like interest rates, contact information, website addresses and passwords.¬† Keep this sheet to make it easier when paying bills in the future.
  • Balance your budget.¬†¬†Figure out how much money you have coming in every month and how much money you have going out.
  • Create a monthly budget.¬†¬†If you have money left over each month, consider paying extra money on loans and credit cards.¬† Start by paying down outstanding balances with the largest monthly interest payments first in order to save money in the long run.
  • Create a system.¬† Find a system that works for you to help you keep track of your monthly bills and payments.

Hopefully these tips have helped you to get organized at home and have given you the confidence to get organized in other areas of your life too.¬† Yeah?¬† Okay, let’s keep this party going!

How to Get Organized

How to get organized at work

Most of us have much less space to accumulate clutter at work than at home, so it’s much easier to get organized.¬† Still, there’s always room for improvement.

To get started, let’s go through some of the most common questions people have about getting organized at work.

1. How can I organize my desk at work?

How can you be organized and efficient at work when your desk looks like a tornado hit it?¬† You probably can’t.¬† However, with a¬†few simple tricks, you can organize your desk and help increase your efficiency at work.

  • Use the kitchen counter concept. If you don’t use it every day, off the desk it goes.
  • Use a desktop organizer.¬† For items that you use frequently throughout the day, like pens and paperclips, you can use a desktop organizer to keep things tidy.

desktop organizer

  • Keep it parallel and perpendicular.¬† This¬†one is probably obvious, but arrange the objects on your desk either parallel or perpendicular to the desk edges and to one another.¬† Try it and see the difference!
  • Create a system.¬†¬†By now, you’re probably noticing a trend.¬† Just like with your bills, create a system for dealing with your paperwork and other things that need your attention.¬† Figure out what works for you.

2. How can I organize my paperwork?

Can anyone tell me how, in this digital world, we still have so much paperwork?!¬† It’s incredible.¬† Don’t worry, though, we’re going to get through this together.

I could write an entire post about organizing paperwork at home, but organizing your paperwork at work is much less daunting.¬† So let’s start there.

Here are a few ideas to help you tame the beast that has taken over your office…your paperwork.

  • Create categories.¬†¬†Decide on categories for all of your paperwork like “Urgent,” “Important,” and “Not Time Sensitive.”¬† Whatever works best for you.
  • Sort and prioritize.¬†¬†Listen, you’re a busy lady.¬† You can’t get to everything right away.¬† Go through your paperwork and sort it into the previously mentioned categories (or whichever ones you created.)
  • Go digital.¬†¬†Like I said earlier, we live in a digital world.¬† Scan documents to store them on your computer and shred the originals.¬† Even better, you can use an external hard drive to store documents and keep your computer running faster!
  • Utilize a filing system.¬†¬†Obviously there are some instances where you need a hard copy of a document.¬† Find a filing system that works for you.¬† You can have one folder of current projects on your desk and the rest stay in their home…your filing system.

Hopefully your paper shredder doesn’t have smoke coming out of it by now and you’re feeling a huge sense of accomplishment.¬† Before we move on, there’s one more question I would like to address.

3. How can I organize my time at work?

Time.  The great equalizer.  No matter how rich or poor you are, we all get 24 hours in a day.  No more, no less.

You can, however, make more of the time you have.  Here are a few tips.

  • Be an early bird.¬† The early bird catches the worm, right?¬† Try arriving to work just ten minutes earlier.¬† Get organized before your shift starts so you’re not starting the day flustered.
  • Finish your toughest tasks before lunch.¬† Let’s face it, most of us have the most energy in the morning.¬† Use that energy to your advantage and get difficult tasks out of the way.¬† After lunch you’ll be able to take it easy until the end of the day or you’ll have time for any last minute surprises that might pop up.
  • Prioritize your tasks.¬†¬†Not everything is a ten on the importance scale.¬† Prioritize your tasks, finish the important ones first and move down the list.

organize tasks

  • Make a game plan.¬† Make a plan and get organized for the day.¬† Don’t forget to finish your toughest tasks first, preferably before lunch, and to leave yourself some wiggle room.¬† You can’t plan for everything.
  • Make every move count.¬† Don’t¬†waste your time going back and forth.¬† Try saving time by gathering all necessary items before starting a project.¬† You should also group similar tasks together, known as batching, to increase your efficiency.

You can apply many of the same principles to getting organized at work that we used to get organized at home, and vice versa.¬† It’s not rocket science.¬† Keep putting in a consistent, conscious effort and you’ll be successful.¬† You can do this!

How to get organized for school

Whether you’re trying to get your kids organized for school or yourself, it can be a challenge.¬† That’s okay.¬† We’re moms.¬† We’ve got this.

Challenge accepted, school.

1. How to get organized for school in the morning

School mornings can be a struggle, for sure.¬† I don’t have any school age children yet, but I did grow up in a family of five and I can attest that the struggle is real.

I’ve got tips and tricks for days, no worries!

  • Start with preparation.¬† The first rule is that you don’t get organized in the morning.¬† You can teach your kids (and train yourself) to get everything ready the night before.¬† Then just get up, get ready and get going.
  • Have a review bin.¬† Place a bin or basket in a high traffic area of the home.¬† Make sure your kids empty their backpacks when they come home from school and place papers in the bin.¬† When you have time, review the papers.¬† Sign and return any relevant papers, then file the rest away.¬† Before bed, make sure that your kids put all papers back into their backpacks and place their backpacks near the front door.¬† Backpacks, check!
  • Talk about the weather.¬† You can show your kids how to check¬†the weather the night before school so they can plan for the day ahead.¬† Try using it as an opportunity to discuss how to dress and prepare for different types of weather.¬† Life skills, moms!
  • Set out clothes the night before.¬†¬†This is a great time saver.¬† I usually like to pick out two outfits in case of the dreaded last minute change of heart.¬† If you don’t like either option, there’s always your birthday suit.¬† Life is all about choices!

Rest easy, mom.  Tomorrow morning is going to be smooth sailing.  Well, smoother sailing than normal at least!

2. How to keep your child organized at school

Admittedly, this one is a little harder than the rest because you aren’t actually hovering over your child while they’re at school.¬† Well, at least I¬†hope you’re not because that’s how kids end up eating lunch with the janitor.

Just saying.

So, working off of the assumption that you’re not a complete helicopter parent, what can you do?

  • Be involved.¬† Don’t be “creepy mom peering through the window” involved, but try your best to be aware of what is happening at school so you can give your child gentle reminders.¬† I know you have a lot on your plate, but so do your kids.¬† You’ve had years to get it together.¬† They’re just learning.
  • Make a calendar.¬†¬†Sure you have a calendar for the family by now, because you’re an organizing rock star.¬† This calendar, however, is for your child’s room or even a homework nook.¬† Your child can write important dates, such as assignment due dates, on the calendar and you can remind them to check it frequently so they can stay on top of school related tasks.

  • Create a special folder.¬† Classes with younger children often have a homework folder or some folder designated for bringing papers to and from school.¬† If your child doesn’t have one, make one.¬† Then help your child organize the folder at the end of the night before bed.¬† They can place items into the folder in the order they’ll need them the following day.
  • Get a pencil case.¬†¬†You can use a pencil case to store miscellaneous items (and pencils, of course) so that they aren’t floating around your child’s backpack.

Teach your kids how to get organized now and it will be second nature by the time they’re ready to spread their wings and fly solo.

3. How to organize your child’s school work

Well, school’s over and your child has brought home their latest creation.¬† This time it’s a toilet paper roll with macaroni, glitter and pieces of string glued to it.

Also, you’re a monster for not realizing immediately that it’s an octopus.

Question.  Did a bunch teachers get together one day and decide that glitter, the mortal enemy of every mom, was going to be their team color?

Anyway, I digress.

Let’s talk about some easy ways you can organize those masterpieces so they don’t take over your house.

  • Create a masterpiece wall.¬† Get creative.¬† The important thing is to designate a wall to display your child’s most recent or favorite creations.¬† This way glitter doesn’t fly all over your freshly swept floor every time you open the refrigerator.
  • Get an expanding file organizer.¬†You don’t have to be fancy.¬† You can get one on Amazon¬†for less than $6.¬† When you rotate new pieces onto the masterpiece wall, file away some of the greatest hits.
  • AmazonBasics Expanding File
  • Don’t be afraid to throw things away.¬†¬†Be strong.¬† If you save everything, you’ll need a storage unit just for file organizers by the time your kid graduates high school.¬† Don’t be that mom.
  • Take a picture.¬†¬†If you really can’t bear to part with something that won’t fit into your file organizer, take a picture.¬† You can turn the pictures into a cool photo album of their greatest childhood masterpieces!

Cherish your memories.¬† Just do it in an orderly fashion, please. ūüėČ

Over to you!

Now you know how to get started on your organizing journey, and according to G.I. Joe,¬†“knowing is half the battle!”¬†

So let’s hear from you.

What are your favorite tips that help you get organized?

Leave a comment or send me an email at jenny@getittogethermom.com.

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