Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Easy ways to stay organized (when you really stink at it)

I'm not an organized person.

I think some people are by nature organized, and some aren't. That's totally ok. But if you're one of those women who keep it all together on your favorite iPhone app or color coordinated planner (with matching color coordinated pens) this post is NOT for you. In fact, you'll probably laugh at my meager little attempts at keeping my life from unraveling and tangling back up like a giant ball of inevitably ugly colored yarn. But, that too, is perfectly ok. Laugh away, I can totally handle it. However, if you, like me, need EASY ways to keep organized, you're in the right place.

I have three kids, a husband who can't fold laundry (I suppose there are worse offenses, I love you baby), two jobs, 12 chickens, a dog, a fish, and approximately 1.6 million things I have to do throughout my week. Ever since I started The Hipster Housewife it feels like I have about a bazillion (according to google analytics and my careful scientific research) tasks beyond my normal everyday wife and mommy stuff that I have to complete. On a schedule.

Now, I'm just not one for schedules. Never have been. I prefer to 'wing it', as they say. But 'winging it' wasn't cutting it anymore. I had a sh*% ton of different notes to self on several different to do lists and journals, spread out all over my house and in at least two different pocketbooks (probably more). Which brings me to my first super easy way to stay organized.

Keep all your crap in one spot. Sounds obvious, I know. But without a centralized 'base of operations' (BOA) where all your mail, school papers, to do lists, calendar, pens, paper, ect., to reside, they are going to reside everywhere. Now, I know some of you may do the whole paperless thing, ok, so put your iPad there. For me this also includes my art supplies. I basically had to dedicate a corner of my house for my BOA, but having a concrete place set aside for organization has made me more organized. I keep everything I need to help me stay on task in one place and what do you know? I'm not running all over my house looking for that appointment card from last Wednesday so I can schedule dinner with my in laws on Saturday and get my latest order out by Friday.

You need to have a planner. And actually use it. This one is critical. I don't care if you use your phone or a physical planner, but you need somewhere to keep track of all your charity events (or, you know, Suzy's play dates, whatever). Now, I have tried several different apps on my phone and iPad, but nothing works for me like a good old run of the mill planner. No bells and whistles, just a basic planner (I use Moleskine's project planner).I think some people get tripped up here because they think they need a data spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation for their meal planning and bill tracking if they are to effectively keep a planner and run a household. Well, I call bull crap on that. It sounds silly, but trying to use an elaborate planner feels like just another task on my list. Bottom line, you need one notebook/journal/planner where all your appointments and to do's are kept.

Visual aids are everything. I have not one, but two large chalkboards in my BOA. One tracks my to do list, the other is for appointments throughout the week (and scripture). Let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than crossing a task of my to do list on a giant chalkboard. Nothing. I'm a very visual person, so having the important stuff right in my face is critical. I'm not going to forget or neglect something written in both my planner and in 3 inch letters next to my desk.

The last two are quite simple (I'm almost done I promise. And just think you'll practically be an organizational guru by the end of this).

Have an inbox. Make sure all incoming paper goes into it. Sort from there.
Set reminders on your phone. I do this for the big stuff. All of my bills have their own reminders. Dr appointments get reminders. Even hair appointments (that really reveals my priorities doesn't it) set off that little chime from my iPhone. Sometimes it doesn't matter how many times you write it down; this way you make damn sure these big things get done.

There you have it folks, The Hipster Housewife's easy ways to say organized (when you really stink at it). Hope it was helpful, or at the very least, entertaining to those of you who actually are organized.*

*I do hate you though. Will you come untangle my yarn?

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  1. As you know from being at my house I am so un-organized, this blog was very helpful. I swear after being at your house last night you just have it all together. I have to commend you on the great job you are doing and I'm sorry I did not teach my sone how to fold clothes. Please teach him, it's fine time he learns. T.

    1. Well, I'm glad I LOOK like I have it all together anyway! I certainly don't feel like I do!!