4 Organizational Systems to Implement Today
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You spent time, energy, sweat, and perhaps money getting organized. Implementing some simple organizational systems will help you to stay organized. A little more work up front and on a regular basis means a lot less work overall. But… what are organizational systems, really, and how do they help?
I refer to a system as a process, habit, or way of doing something that is repeated – to bring about a benefit. The purpose here is to automate so that organization sticks! When we rely on tried and true methods to maintain our home and manage our time, we use our time efficiently and spend the majority of it the way we want!
Here are my top 4 organizational systems:
1. Make Lists
A few key principles for making lists effective:
- Find 1 place to keep your lists. They’re no use if you can’t find them!
- Get into the habit of referencing your list(s) throughout the day.
- Be flexible. I keep my lists in my phone and I’m continually editing them as I complete things and as new things pop up.
Daily List: A to-do list is nothing more than a helpful tool for getting things done. It means you don’t have to rely on your memory (phew!) to know what you need to do when, and where you need to be.
I recommend making a list for the next day the night before, as part of an evening routine (blog post here). It includes your top 3 things to get done for the day.
Grocery List: Post it in a highly visible place in your kitchen like the side of your refrigerator. Or, keep it in your phone so you’ll always have it with you. Ask for your family to participate by:
1. Adding an item to the grocery list if they use it up.
2. Adding any requests they have to the list instead of just telling you! You do not need to be the keeper of the list.
2. Have a Plan for Bulk Purchases
Enter the concept of an overstock bin. It’s a pantry game changer. Put a labeled large basket or other container of your choice on the pantry floor (or a deep bottom or top shelf – whatever space you have). It will house your bulk purchases and multiples.
If you buy a 6 pack of broth, keep one out, and store the other 5 in the overstock bin. When you use up the first broth, pull from the overstock bin to replenish. This prevents clutter and makes it clear when you need to buy more (the overstock bin would be empty) and, just as importantly, when you DON’T need to buy more.
3. Handle Paperwork As It Comes In
This doesn’t mean you do all the bill paying, fill out all the forms, and read all the magazines immediately. It just means that there is a designated place to put the papers right away, avoiding clutter accumulation. Designate a place for: 1. Bills, 2. Magazines/To Read, 3. Things to File, and 4. Recycle that junk mail right away!
Here are some great products to help your paperwork organizational systems stick:
4. Manage Your Clothes
Donations: We often hold on to things that don’t fit, that we don’t really like, or wear. Move them on! Designate a donation spot in your house, and when it’s full (or before), bring the container to the donation center of your choice.
Kids Clothes: Kids outgrow clothes so quickly. I love a too big bin and a too small bin in their closets. When your child outgrows something, it goes right into the small bin. When the bin is full, donate or sell the clothes.
Laundry: Ahhhhh, laundry. Everyone’s favorite! Only you can honestly assess what’s working and not working for you. Step back and assess what the issue may be.
There’s no right or wrong laundry system, but 2 common ones are:
1. Designate certain days of the week as laundry days OR
2. Do laundry frequently/as needed, regardless of the day of the week.
Either can work. I prefer method 2 because someone always needs X (swimsuit, sports jersey, etc)., when they need it, which wouldn’t always correlate with a designated laundry day.
These are just a handful of the many organizational systems you can implement in your life. Start small, experiment, and see what works for you. Notice what isn’t working, where the pain points are. Maybe it’s schedules, or clothing, paperwork, or clutter. Then, shift to implementing systems from there. They really do make a difference. Good luck!