10 Simple Solutions for Organized Living

Ten Simple Solutions for Organized Living
Is getting yourself and your family organized something you’ve been wanting to make happen for  awhile?  Something you wish you knew how to do or even just where to start?  When you look around a room and see clutter after more clutter, it can definitely be overwhelming.  Rather than give up and do nothing though, maybe what you need to do is try a different approach.  Let’s go back to the organizing basics!

Sometimes it isn’t so much about starting with this pile here or that pile over there but more a matter of introducing a few daily organizational habits to help keep the clutter and chaos from becoming more than you can manage.

Introducing these 10 simple solutions for organized living into your daily routine will set you up for organizing success and hopefully in no time you’ll be addicted to organizing just like me!  Come on, you know you want to 🙂

1. Utilize a list notebook

Often chaos ensues because we are trying to juggle too many things in our brains. We can’t focus on any one thing because we are trying to remember everything. It’s exhausting to say the least.

Grab yourself a notebook and just start brain dumping all that needs to be done. Be very detailed with this list because the more steps you list out, the less you have to try and remember. It makes a huge difference to your mental clutter even if you aren’t able to get everything crossed off that list in one day.  Read more about it here.

list notebook

2. Update your family calendar

Now take your list to your calendar (and if you don’t have a central family calendar that every family member can utilize, get one quick!  This one is my favorite.) Make sure your calendar is updated with appointments, school events, things to bring, etc.

For instance, if you need to bring cupcakes to school on Friday, add a note to Thursday’s square to pick them up or make them that day.

3. Menu plan for today

You may not be menu planning for the whole week yet, but you can menu plan for TODAY. Instead of waiting until the witching hour (isn’t that the worst!), plan what you’ll eat that night in the morning.

Check your freezer, pull some meat out, look up a recipe and you’re all set. 10 minutes of pre-planning will again allow you to stop worrying about it for the rest of the day and free up all sorts of head space. See the pattern here?

Mental clutter = overwhelmed


4. Never leave a room empty-handed

One of my best tips for staying on top of clutter is to make sure you take something with you every time you leave a room. Do it as you go…dirty dishes, laundry, toys, mail, you name it. If it belongs in a room you’ll be going to or passing, bring it with you!

5. Assign tasks to your children

Too many moms are trying to do it alone. Get your kids involved. Start today. Assign them each one task off your list to complete. I know it’s often faster for us just to do it ourselves but the training has to start somewhere.

6. Create a donation station

Every home needs somewhere to collect the things we no longer need. Grab yourself a big box, mark it with the words donation station and let everyone know what it’s for.  More info on how to do it can be found here.

donation station

7. Add 5 things to that donation station everyday

Have every person in your household collect 5 things today to add to that donation station. Set a timer and make a game out of it. See who can be the first to collect their 5 things. Before you know it, that donation station will be full!

8. Create an “I’m Outta Here” shelf

Similarly you need an errand bin by your front door. I call it my “I’m Outta Here” shelf and it’s somewhere I can collect things that need to be returned to a friend, mailed, returned to the store, etc. This way whenever I’m heading out the door I can easily remember what needs to be done and tasks don’t get backlogged.

9. Do a 10-minute tidy before bed

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Do a 10 minute tidy each night before bed to set up your next day for success. Plug in cell phones, check and update your calendar, tidy surfaces, make lunches or whatever it is that needs to be done in order to start the following day on the right foot. It makes a world of difference!

10. Check your attitude

Finally, stop beating yourself up! Coming down hard on yourself does nothing except make you miserable. Tomorrow is another day. Celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small.

Happy Organizing!!

What daily habits have you implemented to stay on top of clutter and chaos?

For more organizing inspiration, please visit my handy dandy Start Here page.


Linking up: Thirty Handmade Days, House of Rose, Design Dining and DiapersSix Sisters Stuff, Your Homebased Mom, Skip to My Lou, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Home Stories A to Z

Filed under: Organizing Basics


18 Responses to 10 Simple Solutions for Organized Living

  1. 1
    Jenn (Student Mom) says

    Some days I feel totally insane and out of control. I like your steps and will definitely be implementing some of them in the very near future.

  2. 2
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes says

    The meal planning I already do, sometimes even for two whole weeks! But I think the “donation station” might just save my life. Thanks for the tip!

    • 2.1
      Laura says

      I would be so lost without my donation station!!

  3. 3
    Korilynn says

    Such great tips! I already do the meal planning, but I really need to make a donation station.

  4. 4
    Susan says

    I think the brain dump into one notebook is a pretty smart idea. I was running around the house a couple of days ago cleaning, moving furniture, paying bills and fielding phone calls all at the same time. I paused in my hallway and said outloud, in my empty house, do I have AADD (Adult onset Attention Deficit Disorder)? i have so much I want to do but doing in haphazardly makes me much less effective!

  5. 5
    Pam says

    Number 4 is the best thing I have read all day!

  6. 6
    Terry @ A Mom's Many Lessons says

    None of these are new to me, so why is it so hard to actually develop a routine of using them!
    Thanks for putting them in easy format. I really believe that when we really start implementing these habits, we’ll see a change in how much we accomplish each day. For me, the Brain Dump notebook is something I’ll start today. Thanks!

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      You’re welcome! Yes routines take awhile to implement but after a number of weeks of doing it, it definitely gets easier. I think I’m finally in the habit of getting up early to organize but boy was it tough going those first few weeks.

  7. 7
    Sam says

    I am going to start the brain dump notebook right away! I have a spot by the front door with adonation station but I need to implement the 5 a day!
    Thank You for the great tips!

  8. 8
    Kim says

    I started keeping a large bag in my trunk for donations. When its full, I drop it off at Goodwill when I’m out running errands. Works great for me!

  9. 9
    Janet Barclay says

    I have a Donation Station, but whenever I have something I no longer need, I post it on a “Recycle Kindness” group on Facebook. At least half the time, someone wants it and will come and pick it up. As a result, my box takes longer to fill up, so I have fewer trips to the car, and to the donation centre. Plus I have the pleasure of seeing the smiles of whoever is getting my stuff!

  10. 10
    Margarita Ibbott ~ @DownshiftingPRO says

    Best list ever… seriously… I love your suggestions. I especially like the 10 minute tidy before you go to bed. I think that I am going to have to implement that one with the whole family. Always stunned at what ends up on the kitchen counter at the end of the day!

    • 10.1
      Laura says

      Thanks Margarita!!!

  11. 11
    John Trosko says

    These are important habits of an organized. Choose one or two and you can make a dent in your day. Only thing I would suggest is that while you keep your attitude positive, avoid being a shrieking nag when your spouse doesn’t follow your systems. I prefer to just be quiet and put things away… just reinforces what I’ve done.

    John aka OrganizingLA

    • 11.1
      Laura says

      Hi John! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 I couldn’t agree more, nagging never does any good that is for sure. I learned that the hard way early on 🙂

  12. 12
    Kristin says

    I use Nozbe to organize my to-do-list. That way I can add to it anywhere I go from my phone. It really helps me stay organized.

  13. 13
    Renae says

    Love your ideas! I use several notebooks for my “brain dump”… I have 5 notebooks (all the same size, but different colors) on my desk. I labeled them: Bills, Medical, Recipes, Names & Numbers and the last one is labeled Miscellaneous. I jot almost everything we do in one of these notebooks daily. If it’s a doctor appt. – it goes on the calendar first then I jot it down in my Medical notebook. This type of organization works for me… first the calendar notes and then the notebooks. If I find a recipe that I want to remember, I just open the recipe notebook and jot it down. The Miscellaneous notebook, is one I use daily to jot down who I spoke to, what they said, etc. (for example, if I call the internet service people, I write down the date, when I called, who I spoke to, what the problem was and what they told me. It’s like an ongoing planner of sorts. The Names and Numbers is exactly that: names and phone numbers of everyone I need to contact. The Bills notebook, I jot down monthly what bills I paid, how much, etc. It comes in very handy when I want to look back at a certain month to see what I paid (instead of saving all the bills and looking through a big stack of old bills). Hope this helps someone. It works for me!

  14. 14
    ANna Marie Peterson says

    Once you do the Brain Dump, select no more than 7 things to do for the day- even write out 7 things for each day for a week. Scientists say your brain can’t handle more than about 7 things a day


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