I love organizing. Give me a drawer of clutter and 20 minutes, and I am a happy camper. I also love having my stuff together, and feeling ready to tackle whatever life throws at me. The problem is, organization does not come naturally to me. Neither does having my life together. Throwing things all over the place, clutter, and being consistently 15 minutes late, that comes nice and natural. So, I have learned that if I want to be an organized, put together adult, I have to be really intentional about how I spend my time, organize my thoughts, and plan out all of those pesky life tasks like changing my sheets and seeing a dentist regularly.
I’ve compiled five of my favorite organization ‘tools.’ These things help me get from point A to point B on a daily basis, and keep my mind free from anxiously spinning out about things I am forgetting!
V day treat and Valentine’s treat for gals is two separate items, just so we’re clear. I am milking this chocolate candy holiday for all it’s worth.
I am a list maker by nature, but I have the bad habit of making a list, crumpling it up, losing it, finding it again, and then forgetting in what context I wrote out this random assortment of household items, to do’s or wardrobe holes. Since Wunderlist is on my phone, all of my lists are always with me (since my phone is always with me, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer in sickness or in health) and I can easily add groceries I need throughout the week, or gift ideas, or a favorite name for some bygone day when we need to name a baby or a pet or a plant… Anyway, it’s great.
My grocery list is the most used list, and I especially love that I can squeeze out an extra spritz of organizational goodness by grouping like items and putting them in the order that I will move around the store. I know it sounds weirdly compulsive, but it makes my life so much easier- no running back to the fruit section on the other side of the store for lemons when I’m grabbing my tampons and q-tips.
My only complaint is the autocorrect feature: I once had a lingering ‘limbo-ha’ on my grocery list that for the life of me I could not figure out. Turns out it was a loofah. In what world, autocorrect?
Meal Planning Calendar
An oldie but a goodie. I post this baby on our fridge each month, and set aside time on Saturday morning to write down what we are doing that week along with my vague meal plan. This keeps Will and I on track for actually knowing what is going on with each other, and makes it so that one of us can start the meal if they get home before the other person. It also prepares me for the notion that if I am planning on going to a happy hour on Wednesday while Will goes for a run, and then expecting to be able to eat dinner at a decent hour, I should probably chop some vegetables Tuesday evening to prep.
Paper planner (and occasional Iphone reminders)
For appointments, happy hours, deadlines, friend dates, birthdays, and everything that I have committed my physical presence to, I write it down in my planner.
If I need to remember to take a vitamin, I put it in my phone as a reminder.
I know it’s old school, but I have embraced that I have to write everything down in order for it to get done.
As a side note on planners, I let my planner be a bit of a mess and I don’t stress about it. I love the idea of a super cute planner with color coded washi tape for different activities and all my glamorous activities written in cutesy calligraphy, but truth be told, most of my planner is written in crossed out chicken scratch because I scheduled babysitting over a hair appointment over a library due date. And that’s fine- it it keeps me going, I can deal with it not being pretty.
My customized monthly/weekly ‘to do’ list
Never underestimate the motivational power of checking something off a list. This was such a game changer for me- it makes cleaning manageable and keeps me on top of weekly/monthly tasks. I print out a new sheet each month (and if I’m feeling fancy, I customize it with that month’s birthdays) and tape it to the inside of my medicine cabinet. I give it a quick check when I’m brushing my teeth at night and it gives me comfort to know that all of these ‘to do’s live somewhere other than my brain. The ‘organizing focus/goal’ also gives me an area to focus on each month- January was my cabinets, and this month I’ll be trying to tackle my closet.
As you can see, I am very into off the shoulder items right now…
Obviously I use Pinterest for things like mood boards and meal planning, but the real kicker is that I keep a few secret boards for planned purchases. My wardrobe one is the most used. I pin items I am considering buying, and then when I get store emails about sales, I go in and see if this item is included. It’s an easy way to keep me on track with spending, and I am not as tempted to go window shop and make impulse purchases. I also have a board for big purchases like furniture and home accessories, and use this board to group like categories so that I can see my vision for that space (for example, an image of a knob for our dresser next to a comforter I am considering). Same idea applies for sales. It has really helped me to be intentional about how I plan on spending my money, and compartmentalizes shopping for me- if I like it, it goes on the board and I can revisit it later.
So. Nothing ground breaking, but using these systems has helped me to keep some structure (and keep anxiety at bay!) so that I can focus on things that really matter. What are your favorite organizational tools?