So far in our ‘Keep it Simple’ series I’ve looked at cleaning, laundry, meals, meal planning, and sticking to a budget, and the more I try and simplify things the more I see the common thread that runs through all of these things – being organised.
So today I am looking at simple tips for getting organised and staying organised!
I want to be an organised person, really I do.
I feel a whole lot less stressed when things are organised and I feel I am at least partially on top of things.
But I also know that I won’t stick with even the most awesome organising strategies and systems if they are too complicated or time consuming.
So I’m working on trying out some ideas that are simple and easy. Strategies and systems I can manage even when I’m overwhelmed, and that won’t fall apart if I can’t get to them for a while.
This is definitely a work in progress for me, but since I’ve been trying small simple changes I’ve been surprised at how much difference they can make!
Simple Tips for Getting Organised and Staying Organised!
‘Have less stuff’ that seems to be the answer to everything, but it’s not always easy or practical, and if you have a family it is not going to happen over night either. So while we all work on getting rid of excess here are some other ideas for staying organised even if you don’t live a minimalist life!
- Use the store and rotation method – this works especially well for toys (find out more about how we rotate toys here), but also for things like seasonal clothing, bedding and other items.
- Store like things together – this works in the pantry, in the art cupboard, even in the wardrobe, and makes it a lot easier to grab what you need and go.
- Store things where they are used – store sheets for that room in the wardrobe, store bathroom cleaning supplies in the bathroom, store crockery in the dining room.
- Label things so everyone knows what goes where – no excuses for not putting things away.
- Work out where clutter accumulates and make it easy to deal with – for me it is our kitchen bench so I put a big basket at one end of the bench so I can quickly and easy clear anything that doesn’t belong unto the basket until I have time to find it a home.
Organising Paper work
How did I not realise how much paper work a family creates? So many piles of paper – some of it really important, some we need to keep for a while, and some that is just junk! Sorting out all the paper helps me feel a lot less overwhelmed!
- Use a file crate system.
My file crate system is a simplified version of the one described at The Art of Simple. I have a file for each month, and a file for each family member. If something I need to keep is date specific – like invitations or events – it goes in the file for that month. If something I need to keep is person specific – like prescriptions, or paperwork – it goes in the file for that family member. I try to clear it out once every six months, and file those things we need to keep long term and chuck the rest.
- Use a family binder (or an extra few files in your crate system).
In your family binder, or files, keep copies of important documents like birth certificates, insurance, recurring prescriptions etc so you can quickly and easily find that information in an emergency, important information relating to each family member – allergies, medication, etc, other family paper work you refer to often – like favourite meals list, contact info for tradespeople, birthday lists etc. I also keep extra copies of things like meal planers, weekly planners, calendars etc. so I can find them quickly and easily.
- Work on having less paper.
I use Evernote to store things like birthday lists, Christmas present ideas, contact information etc. I can sync Evernote across my pc, laptop and phone so I always have the info handy.
I also use my phone to take photos of all kinds of things I don’t want to forget – receipts, shopping lists, gift ideas etc. They can all be sent to Evernote if I want to keep them long term.
Organising myself and my family.
One of my biggest stresses is trying to remember who needs to be where when, and what needs to be done when. So I try to organise things so I can easily see how I can fit everything in (and what I can’t so I can so no before I get overwhelmed) and so I am reminded in time to get it all done!
- Use a monthly planner.
My monthly planner (which is also my meal plan) goes on the fridge so that everyone in the family can see what is on when. You can find my free printable 2015 Calendar here, or use the free monthly meal planner that you can find here.
- Use a weekly planner.
My weekly planner doubles as my mouse mat so I see it multiple times a day while I work at the computer and can quickly and easily see what’s on. I take a photo of it with my phone at the start of each week so I always have it with me. ( I do the same with my meal plan, and believe me it helps a lot to always have this information in your pocket!) You can download our free weekly planner below.
- Use technology to remind you.
Set up an online calendar that syncs with your phone and any other devices you use – google calendar is an easy way to do this but there are many other apps and options. As soon as I find out about something I input it into the calendar and set it to remind me before the event. That way I always have access to what’s on, and I know my phone or pc will remind me if I forget.
I also use my phone to remind me of those little recurring events that I tend to put off and then forget – simple things like asking my boy if he has got his piano book on the right day, or remembering to lock the chickens up before dark.
- Get it out of your head!
One of the best things I’ve done when it comes to organising is start a ‘brain dump diary’ – a simple way to just get all the thoughts and lists and ‘must dos’ out of my head and on to paper so I can start to get them organised. Find out more about my brain dump diary here.
I’ve updated our weekly planner and you can download the new free printable weekly planner here.
This free printable is an A4 sized pdf file, if you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
All Picklebums free printables are for personal use only, you may not sell, share, or link directly to these files.
What awesome organisation tips can you add to this list?
If you are looking for more simple cleaning and organising ideas you can check out the Keep It Simple series where we share our best simple tips for everything from laundry, cleaning, meals, kids and parenting.
And check out my ‘Clean and Organise Everything’ board on pinterest too.