I’m not sure if your MO is anywhere close to mine, but I’m either running a month ahead or a day behind. Either I know everything that’s coming down the pike, lists have been made, plans have been put together, and everything is running smooth… or I completely forgot that today is PE at my son’s school and sent him in the wrong shoes, we have a meeting tonight and forgot to schedule a sitter, my Christmas lights STILL aren’t all up and I haven’t sold the couch we replaced two months ago (ergo, I have two couches in my living room). Anyone else?
I’m also uber forgetful. Meaning, if it’s not written down… there is no way in hell I’m remembering it. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve set up plans with only to get to the next day and be like, “Wasn’t I supposed to meet so and so for coffee?” So I text only to find out, “Oh you’re a busy mom and forgot too? Okay awesome (virtual high-five). Let’s set up another time.”
So I’d like to share with you some of my tricks for staying organized…
1. Calendar overkill
Ryan and I have 5 calendars between the two of us that are all mostly synced. I have a personal calendar on my phone that I keep random reminders in (like, hey it’s PE today don’t send your kid to school in loafers). All of the appointments that involve the kids I send to Ryan via an invite so he can add them to his calendar. He then adds those appointments to a shared “family” calendar (no idea why he does this, but it helps him so I just roll with it).
We also keep a monthly whiteboard calendar in our kitchen. This is a labor of love for me. Every month I sit down with my phone and planner, and map out our month – what events we have, when Ian’s games are, when I’m seeing our therapist, what nights I won’t be home due to a work obligation or haircut, etc. It’s all color coded, so every person has a different color for quick reference. I can look at that calendar for a quick mental download of what we have going on that day/week/month.
Lastly… My Start Planner. Ladies, this has been a game changer for me. To say it’s functional is an understatement. I can set yearly goals, monthly goals and weekly goals. It has lists for home maintenance, setting a budget and self care (health check). I use the “hustle weekly” planner, as I think the daily planner would stress me out. I can look at the monthly overview and see a snapshot of what I have going on, and then flip to a more detailed outlook week by week. I highly, highly recommend this planner to everyone!
2. GroceryIQ App
Ryan and I both keep our grocery lists on our phones, and they’re synced. So if one person adds something to the list, the other sees it. So no matter who is going to the grocery store, we know what we need – and since I’m one of those people that has my phone on me 90% of the time, if I see we’re running low or out of a particular item I can whip out my phone and add it to the list.
Now this has taken some practice – If it doesn’t have a place, get rid of it. That’s right, you heard me…. Get rid of it! I grew up in a house that was full of knickknacks and clutter, and one of my life goals is to not accumulate too much stuff. I constantly struggle with wanting to hold on to things – especially every creative thing my kids bring home from school or daycare. And now that my mother in law has passed away, I’m having a really hard time not holding onto everything she left us.
But here’s the deal, while everything my kids create and everything my mother in law left us is precious… I would rather my home be clean and organized. A friend of mine once asked, “How much is your mental and emotional space worth?” I find that the more stuff I accumulate the more I stress out, the less I have the more at peace I feel. While this may not be true for everyone, it’s true for me. So we purge.
Twice a year my kids know that I’m going to walk through every room of the house and start getting rid of stuff… their clothes, my clothes, toys, electronics, shoes… If it hasn’t been touched it in 6 month or it’s too small, it’s going in the donate or consignment pile.
4. Write it down
I find that if I actually write down my to-do list and my project list, rather than just using my phone, I remember it more often than not. At any given time my to-do list has 7-10 things on it, and my project list has 4-5 things. Most people would lump “projects” and “to-do” on the same piece of paper, but this has just led to me being frustrated and not ever having an empty list.
Let me explain, my “to-do’s” are the things that I know I will do within 1-2 days: sign my son up for football, return socks, return garland, buy new shoes for my daughter. My project list is more like: file paperwork, paint watercolor flowers for daughter’s room, mount pictures and hang frames. Things that I know I need to do and will do, but I save them for when I have time to do them (or make time).
I also keep my wish list separate (new headboard, new riding boots, curtains, area rug, chairs, farm table), with the cost associated with each one so as my budget allows I can purchase the things off the list. Also, it doesn’t hurt when your To-Do list notepads are super cute. You can purchase this one at When it Rains Paper!
The bottom line is that organization is a choice. It’s also constant work. It’s deciding to clean a little each day, even when you don’t feel like it – I’m not talking hours, I’m talking about spending 30 minutes picking things up to help keep your house tidy rather than crashing on the couch as soon as the kids are in bed (which is what we all want to do!). It’s writing things down and keeping the ones you love informed of your schedule.
Staying organized will also cost money… it’s baskets and tubs, and in my case – a planner, fun notepads, and a filing cabinet. I can’t tell you the number of trips I’ve made to the dollar store getting sorting baskets to organize the batteries, cables and tiny screwdrivers in my desk drawers. Here’s the good news, you can usually find baskets 50% off at Hobby Lobby, and around the first of the year WalMart and Target have all of their storage tubs on sale. I promise you can do this! It won’t stay an overwhelming task if you just start working at it.
Also – stay tuned. Between now and Christmas I’m giving away one of my “Make Things Happen” notepads and a 2019 Start Planner on Instagram.