Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let's Get Organized!

Things have gotten so out of hand lately. It seems like I am behind in everything. The more that I try to catch up, the more behind I get. I have been thinking lately about ways to get more organized. Here's what I have come up with.

First of all, I have tried to determine when I got so disorganized. I realized that I never really was organized. I just kind of added the additional responsibilities on top of one another. I have tried to do schedules and get frustrated when they just don't work. The reason they don't work is because my days are not cookie cutter days. Every day is different. My schedule needs to be flexible. How can you plan on doing homework EVERY day at 4 pm when we are heading to a school event? You can't. So each day, when I wake up I make a schedule for that day. Plan out what needs to be done and when it can get done. I was also killing myself getting home from school events at 5:30 and then figuring out what I was going to make for dinner, never mind cooking it. A big help with this was this one simple thing, a calendar. This particular calendar is great! It's called a mom calendar. There is a space at the top to put 5 names on top of the columns.

Down the left side is the days of the month. Everyone's activities can be written down and easily viewed. No more trying to cram a whole families activities in one little box on a traditional calendar. They also come with cutesy stickers!

See?! Under my column I wrote in what I am planning on making for dinner that night too. Using the calendar and planning the meals for the week was a huge help. Now I don't have to think about it one bit. Planning out dinner for the week, I was also able to make a grocery list AND look for coupons to save money. More on that later though.

I also realized that it was a slow and unnoticeable decline to chaos. It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't going to be fixed overnight. Since I have started helping my husband out with his business again, I need to juggle that and keeping the house. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is for his business. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is for housework. I "start" work for my husband at 8 am. The kids are fed, dressed and there is time for a quick tidy up in the house. When I am working for him, even though it is at home, I don't do any housework or cooking until 3 pm when I "quit" work. On the housework days, it is just housework. I divided the house into 3 days. Laundry and the basement is on Tuesdays, Thursday is for the main part of the house and Saturday is for bedrooms. This is where the big cleaning is done. After 3 pm every day, homework, afterschool activities, dinner and baths are scheduled. While the older kids are taking their baths and getting ready for the next day, I have time for my special project. My special projects are to help with organization.

Like I said, unless I ran through the house one day and pulled everything out of drawers and closets and dumped it on the floor, it didn't happen overnight. So I am planning on taking a little bit at a time and putting it on the schedule. One drawer, cupboard or closet a day. If I feel more industrious and do more that is a bonus! Who doesn't like bonuses?

There is also one rule. Once a drawer or what not is organized, it stays like that. My trouble is that once I get something organized I turn keeping it that way into a chore. It's too hard to put something away or I don't have the time. For instance, my pots and pans. I used to keep them in a cupboard. Cupboard space in my kitchen is like gold. Every time I needed to get a pan or put one back I practically had to pull out all of them to do it. Hanging the pots and pans on a pot rack solved that, plus I like the look of the pot rack. I also realized how hard I was making things on myself to keep clean. Case in point is the bathroom garbage. Why keep the bags for the garbage can with all the other cleaning supplies? I am probably taking out that garbage every other day. I do tend to take out the garbage planning on putting in a new liner, but sometimes I get distracted and forget. So now, I keep the bags under the bathroom sink. I usually have an extra roll of bags anyways, so those are kept with the cleaning supplies for other small wastebaskets that aren't emptied as often.

Sundays are my prep for the upcoming week. I can do some cooking for the week, like cookies and snacks for after school or any part of dinner that can be done ahead. These are more time saving tips to allow more time for other areas that need more attention. There are a few meals that make more than one dinner's worth. The extras will be frozen for when I just don't feel like cooking. More on that later though.

So, now to do this on a weekly basis. That is going to be the hard part is the change. The first few weeks will be hard breaking old habits. The way I was living, was alot easier. I'm hoping that by taking little steps, this will get easier and stick.

Now, to stick with the whole organization thing, all this week will be about organization here at the farmhouse! Don't that sound like fun? I will be posting tips and tricks to getting organized, organized meals and even a craft project to help with organization. Get your cereal boxes ready! You won't want to miss this one!


Dar said...

You get a pat on the back from me. Staying organized is never an ' easy peezy ' task. While organizing my dresser drawers, I finally color coded every item. Even in my closets, from shirts to pants, even sweaters, jeans, undies and socks. It was amazing how much easier it was to get ready for a new day, besides putting things away after laundry days. That was 5 yrs. ago and I still do it that way. Now I need to figure out how to make my kitchen more manageable. I love your pots and pans rack idea but my ceiling is too low...hmmm, never did like that, so might have to change that myself when Bill is out on a hunting trip or something.
Thanks for all of the great tips.

Tanya said...

You go girl!!!!! I love hearing about, reading about, working on, thinking about ORGANIZATION. I'm getting better at it all the time. I love it!
Do you know Peter Walsh? I bought his DVD and I just love the decluttering and neatness and organization!
Keep us posted on the schedule and please let us know any helpful tips!

Pam said...

Good for you! Here is an organizing tip that I like to share. You know when you purchase a new electronic gadget and you have the manual and all the little cords/attachments that go with it? Put those in a ziplock bag and label it then put it in a basket/container where you know you will find it. And to add on to your wastebasket tip, put extra bags in the bottom of the wastebasket under the bag you are currently using. My SIL shared that one with me. I also put a supply of cleaning products in each bathroom under the sink along with a roll of paper towels and sponges.
You have great organizing ideas, especially when it comes to time management. I struggle with that, big time. Look forward to seeing more of your posts! Keep up the good work!:-)

Lori said...

Good for you Maggie ~ you have to chop it up into "bite sizes pieces" in order for it not to overwhelm you. Meal planning is a big thing here ~ I find if I sit down and plan out the meals before I go to the grocery store on Sunday it takes that pressure off me for the week. I applaud your efforts and hope that these will become new habits for you. xo

Ellen said...

Well, I'm inspired! How smart and wonderful for you to figure this one out! I bet that everything is flowing better in your house. I loose a lot of time with the coupon clipping and sale match up so I go to and get Jenny to help with that planning. Now, if I can just get our furry Border Collie to vacuum all her hair, my housework would be cut drastically ;) Have an awesome day!


Dragonfly Treasure said...

Gosh we are so alike. I used to be SO organized!! What happened I don't know, but boy did everything I let slide come and knock me down! LOL
I started the same thing the beginning of the year. One cupboard, closet, drawer at a time...I didn't want to get overwhelmed. But if I felt like doing more I could, then feel really good about accomplishing a bit more.
My orgaizing has stalled with all that is going on now, but I want to get back too it. Anxiously awating your tips and suggestions!
Wishing you a great day!

Deb S. said...

You have been working hard! I have had this calendar before, I think I got it at Barnes and Noble. It worked great! Best one I have ever had. This year I got a smaller one, the Family on the GO. I wish I had this one! You have inspired me to get movin'! Thanks!!!