Is organizing a challenge for you? I know it can be for me—especially with a kid. It always feels like I have the best of intentions, but my follow-through is lacking. Let’s explore some organizing tips that we can try together!
Don’t go it alone: It doesn’t matter how organized you are as an individual. When you’re living in a house with other people, you can’t be responsible for cleaning up after everyone. Enlist your kids’ help when it comes to keeping their things organized. There are some great tips here.
ABCD Prioritization: If you clicked the link in the last paragraph, you will have come across something called ABCD prioritization. In a nutshell, A is something we use every day, B is something we use frequently, C is something we don’t use often, and D is something that’s not getting used at all. It’s a little less brutal than the KonMari method, but still helpful. Use ABCD prioritization for clothes, craft supplies, books, and more.
Downsize: Speaking of prioritizing and downsizing, remember it’s not just about getting rid of the kids’ stuff. Use Christmas as a time to get rid of (sell, donate, or discard as appropriate) stuff you’re not using. You can use the “one thing in, one thing out” method where everyone has to remove one existing item for every new item they received, or you can be more aggressive and try “one thing, three things out.”
Tackle the junk drawer: Don’t forget to organize those places that are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. The junk drawer in the kitchen (don’t try to tell me you don’t have one). The drawer (or bag or box) that you shove everything into when guests are coming over—you know, that stuff you said you’d “deal with later.” And any other place you stuff stuff.
Organize the fridge: I’m sure it goes without saying that you need to audit your fridge and make sure the things in it are still edible, so I won’t say that. However, I will share this tip. It’s a small, simple organizational tip, but it totally blew my mind: Place a lazy Susan on the shelf in your fridge where you keep condiments (or jellies, butter, or other small items), so you don’t have to reach over the stuff in the front to get to the goodies in the back. Because who here hasn’t shattered a container of deli mustard on the floor when trying to reach the sunbutter? *ahem*
Clean out your pantry: I don’t like to admit that I waste food on occasion. But yesterday we brought home a take-and-bake pizza with breadsticks only to realize that they forgot to give us extra sauce for dipping. I dug into the pantry to see what tomato-type sauces I had, and I found a jar of pizza sauce. This sounds perfect, except the sauce had moved with us halfway across the country—15 months ago. So, take some time to look through your pantry. Since it gets a lot of use, it could probably use some tidying up! While you’re doing that, check for opened food that’s gone stale and check the expiration dates on foods that aren’t opened yet. If you find something that’s in date but that you’re not going to eat, donate it to a local food pantry. Oh! And if you use a lot of canned goods (they’re my dinner shortcut heroes!) here’s a tip for organizing them in your pantry.
And you know, there’s more to organizing than find a place for our stuff and keeping it there, like…
Write it down: Don’t rely on your memory. Mommy-brain is real, folks! Whether you’re a paper planner person (so pretty, and all the accessories!), or you prefer to use your phone to keep track of things, write them down. Keep a calendar for your appointments and family activities, have a grocery list, maintain a to-do list. You’ll feel less frazzled when you can keep track of all the stuff you’re trying to remember.
Cleaning: At least for me, part of cleaning my house includes tidying up and putting things in their place. Cleaning my house on a schedule helps me keep it organized, so maybe it’ll help you, too! Try creating a cleaning schedule that works for your family. And don’t hesitate to work out chores for everyone; even your youngest can help out.)
Organize your computer: It’s easy for our computers to get as cluttered as our physical desktops. Take time to go through your files to discard what you don’t need and organize the rest. Here are some ideas to get you started. Oh, and while you’your phone could probably use some love, too.
I know that some of us can feel the New Year’s pressure of making everything perfect this year, and it can be stressful. Don’t freak out about perfection or the need to do it all right now! I like to look at the new year as a starting point to let me start tackling one at a time the tasks that can sometimes seem overwhelming—especially at the end of year when so many of us are busier than usual with holiday stuff. Use this post as inspiration for getting started on your organizing projects, or look around your house for the thing that irritates you most (clutter-creating family members don’t count!) and start with that. You can do it!