Happy 2020!!! The very best thing about the new year is that feeling of starting fresh and setting new goals. And to get off on the right track I thought I would do a weekly wellness series for the month of January! Today I’m kicking off the series with talking about my personal organization tips that have been hugely helpful for me, as well as improvements I would like to make myself this year.
Meal planning is probably the number area where I would like to make improvements this year. I tend not to plan meals beyond a few days at a time, so I’m constantly running back to the grocery store for more ingredients every few days. One thing I did invest in a few years ago was an instant pot, and if you don’t have one – get one. If you are like me and have a hard time planning meals ahead of time (and starting a meal at 8 am in the crockpot seems impossible) the instant pot is life changing. I want to keep my meal planning goal attainable for myself – so my goal for 2020 is to at least meal plan for Monday-Thursday each week. Just having those 4 days planned on Sunday would make for a much smoother running week!
CALENDAR (SYSTEM FOR REMINDERS/LISTS)
I do keep my personal digital calendar up to date, but one thing I keep talking about doing (and still haven’t) is having a central monthly calendar hung up somewhere where everyone in the family can write on it and add activities. I also want to have an area next to the calendar where I can make notes and task reminders as things pop in my head. As any mom knows, when you have a million things to keep track of, you end up forgetting if you don’t write it down right that minute.
DECLUTTER AND GIVE EVERYTHING A SPACE
When we moved last year we got rid of a ton of stuff. I did a full closet purge for the boys and myself and we donated tons of clothing and toys. I also set a goal for myself last year to overhaul my pantry and closets and make them organized spaces (you can see my pantry here). I’ve been planning on organizing my bathroom cupboards and closets for several months and still haven’t gotten around to it – so that’s at the top of my list this month. I also want to better organize my refrigerator with storage bins as well. Giving every single item in your home a space where it belongs, makes for a super organized and tidy home.
Once you’ve purged, the key is not to refill your spaces with stuff! I’ve heard some people have a rule of one thing in, one thing out to keep a handle on items not getting out of control. I think being more mindful of what you buy is also hugely important. I am someone who is so easily tempted by a good deal, that sometimes I don’t take time to stop and ask myself if I really have a need or space for that item. Being more mindful and asking myself how practical and useful an item will really be for me, is great for keeping a clutter free home.
STASH BACKUP ITEMS (NECESSITIES + GIFTS/SCHOOL SUPPLIES/CRAFTS)
Any parent knows that when you have kids – there are ALWAYS last minute things that come up. I can’t tell you how many last minute birthday party invites we’ve received, or times the teacher asks for something random for a craft or school project (last year a teacher needed a disposable tablecloth the next day!). I have a bin that I keep stored in a closet for just these emergencies. I keep leftover birthday party decorating supplies, wrapping paper/gift bags, birthday cards, a child’s gift or two (I’ve shared my boy and girl go-to’s below!), and craft supplies all stored in this bin. Also I have learned to keep a few necessities for the house tucked away (like paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, medications) for those times when you run out unexpectedly.
STICK WITH A ROUTINE
This is something our family is pretty strict with during the week, and I can’t tell you how helpful it is for us. We have a very consistent after school and before school routine each day and it truly keeps us on track and helps us be prepared and on time every day. When the kids get home, backpacks and lunch boxes are immediately emptied. Shoes taken off and coats are hung up by the door so they are ready to go the next day. I clean out lunch boxes and start prepping them for the next day and Cole usually completes any home work right away, and then it goes back in his bag. We typically have a very early dinner (which means I need to be prepared & cook early!), and then we head out to extracurriculars. After extracurriculars we typically have baths and then the kids have free time until bedtime (which is consistently 8-8:30 pm). I always lay clothes out the night before, so our morning routine is super quick. We also use Amazon Alexa to set daily timers to keep us on schedule which is super helpful!
HAVE THE KIDS CHIP IN
It is so important for kids to carry their own weight and help be responsible for their own things. My kids are old enough for simple tasks which they are responsible for, like putting their own laundry in the hamper and putting their own dishes in the dishwasher. They also need to clean up after themselves as they play, and for my older 9 year old – he helps out with cleaning up after the cat and needs to be responsible for putting his gizmo watch at the charging station after school, do his homework, and make sure it’s put back in his bag. Even if everyone just chips in a little and helps with their own items – it makes the whole household much more organized.
STAY ON TOP OF HOUSEHOLD TASKS
This is one of my number one tip for keeping a tidy, organized home. Did you know that making your bed everyday is linked to general happiness?! I always start my day with making the beds and it really starts my day off on a positive note. And as the day goes on, it is ultimately so much easier to stay on top of small chores rather than trying to play catch up. It can be tempting to procrastinate and say you’ll do the laundry or the dishes tomorrow – but what typically happens is you just get behind and the mess piles up, and eventually it is overwhelming and takes forever to tidy everything. I make sure my sink is empty and dishes washed every night before I go to bed. I also try to do laundry almost every day, so I only have one small daily load to wash and fold and put away. (I really kick myself when I let the clean laundry pile up for days and it takes me hours to fold and put away!). I also almost always tidy up every single night if there is anything left lying out. There is nothing better than the feeling of going to bed at night with everything done and starting each day fresh with a tidy home.
I hope you find some of these tips and tools helpful! Here’s to an organized 2020!